1. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    How many people would enjoy a...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by TheApprentice, Jan 20, 2014.

    "Hero by name?" He is a lesser of two evils and stops some pretty horrible things from happening, but he is a drunk, promiscuous, and vulgar. He does not obey the law and causes lots of damage to private and public infrastructure.

    Would a story about such a douche hero be enjoyed by many people? I make myself sick even thinking about writing up an idealistic hero.

    Edited due to spell check changing words.
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  2. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    You mean like Gregory House?
    Or most cop shows?
     
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  3. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    A little worse. I mean like the main character of GTA or Saints Row. Maybe a little less bad, but still pretty bad.
     
  4. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Wolf from the game "The Wolf Amongst Us".

    Either way, your character could be an emotionless dickhead and people would still love reading about him.
    The issue is whether you can present him in any compelling way.

    I mean Cercei from aSoIaF is a complete bitch but we all learn to empathize with her eventually.

    It's not even about liking the character.
    It's about caring enough to care or get mad.
     
  5. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    So its about the story telling, not the characters?
     
  6. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Completely.

    No one reads for the characters.
    If they're badly presented, the narrative poor, and the general book badly written then we won't be able to give a hoot about this guy or that gal.

    Think about all the books and movies from the PoV of psychopaths or generally completely unrelatable people. Properly done, we care about them or learn to understand them or at least end up fascinated.

    Kinda like those indie movies that have no plot and talk about some odd aspect of human culture that ends up in death or sex or something.

    Ergo, the most fascinating man in the world is only fascinating because of how he presents himself. Not because he just is.
     
  7. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    Even a character with few redeeming qualities can be made fascinating. Sometimes it's fun to occupy the the head space of a character like this, simply because it allows the reader to get a vicarious kick out of thoughts and actions that are at odds with how they would behave. It's escapism at it's finest. I rather enjoy anti-heroes myself.

    As @A.M.P. says, it's all in the presentation.

    Patrick Bateman, in American Psycho, is a good example of this, imo.

    Whilst I believe the story is important, good characterisation and POV, can only serve to make it better, but that does not necessarily mean the character needs to be 'likeable' in any shape or form to achieve this.
     
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  8. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    That sentence might be a bit misleading: characters ARE what most people read for. There are but a few narratives that lack characters (none that I can think of, actually: there may be collective charactets, or the setting plays the "role" of the character, or the narrator shows himself as the main character). :) but yeah, the writing is what keeps the readers interested - which is the old han-or-egg dilemma if you think about it: characters don't exist outside the (fiction) text, yet a text needs the characters.

    @TheApprentice your "hero", as you describe him, seems to have the potential to be an ACTUAL character - quite contrary to what you ask and fear, most people DON'T want to read about a perfect hero, but want to see a flawed, living, breathing human(oid). :)
     
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  9. Mans
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    Mans Contributing Member

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    No, I don't like such hero so I ask you to don't use such as characters in your story and choose a better hero
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
  10. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    Why? Anti heros are just as interesting. More so as they can head to a redemption arc that good heros don't have. But I don't like a jerk for the sake of being a jerk. Give reason or Back story otherwise people could hate him. I personally could pouch gregory house in the face but understand his intelligence alienates him. His addiction contols him. The pain frustraes him. So I give him a break and end up enjoying the show
     
  11. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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  12. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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    A hero with such traits would quite be a misfit. It would better suit an antagonist wit such quirks.
     
  13. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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  14. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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    I totally agree with you Supervenom.
     
  15. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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  16. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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    That is a great statement. I assent with you.
     
  17. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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  18. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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    I agree with you Mans.
     
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  19. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Wolverine, Hellboy, The Punisher, Mad Mardigan, Dirty Harry, William Munny, Josey Wales, any Clint Eastwood character for that matter, Scarface, The Corleone family, etc.
    We route for all these people and they are all complete douchebags.
     
  20. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    As others have said, we root for these sort of characters all the time. Sometimes we want our hero to have a bit of a dark side, to do things we ourselves would never do in real life. Granted, not all of us like such anti-heroes, and who could blame them? Even I get sick of anti-heroes. They either do shitty things and get away with it on the pretense that they're just the lesser evil of the people they're actually fighting against, or because of something else that alienates them from the rest of the characters; or they do shitty things and slow and gradually redeem themselves because they take a liking to a specific character (usually a love interest, or they're hanging around with a character they soon want to not disappoint.)

    Regarding anti-heroes, I get the feeling that they were just a response to the typical 'knight in shining armor'. Sometimes it's just as fine to have a hero who possesses all the qualities that makes a hero a hero. So long as you don't make him/her too perfect, you're fine. I have heroes who aren't dicks, and I like them just as much as I like my anti-heroes.

    It's all up to personal tastes, in my opinion. Some people like anti-heroes, others don't and that's OK. :DD
     
  21. koyelevergreen
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    koyelevergreen Member

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    Hello Link the writer,
    What is the basic difference between anti-heroes and villains? Could you please elaborate on that?
     
  22. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    WARNING: LONG POST AHOY!!!
    I could write an entire blog on this, but basically an anti-hero is a hero in the sense that he/she is doing what we would think is the right thing but the way he/she goes about accomplishing that thing is not at all what we would do. He/she isn't even nice about it for the most part.

    For example: suppose there's an orphanage that is about to close because it has no more money to support itself. If it closes, the orphaned kids will be out on the streets with nowhere to go. The reason is because a greedy conman is stealing money through sabotage and fake charity donation. Why is he doing this? Because he wants to build condos for rich people.

    A hero would attempt to stop this through legal means, and feels compelled to stop it because he/she cares about the children, or say has a close connection to the orphanage/the people running the orphanage. They respect the law and don't want to do anything that'll cause unnecessary damage. Think of what Harry Potter or Luke Skywalker would do.

    Now, an anti-hero, in this instance, might not even give two withered shits about the children or the orphanage. The only reason he/she is doing this is mostly for selfish reasons. It's not the orphans or the orphanage he/she cares about: it's the money, or soothing his/her own ego if the greedy conman had injured it enough for them to act. Or it could simply be a case of, according to TV Tropes, evil having standards. He/she isn't the nicest person on the block, and he/she knows it, but damned, this is beneath even them and they want to teach the conman what happens when one crosses that line.

    The way an anti-hero would handle it would not be the way we would handle it. Maybe he/she doesn't trust the law would work fast enough, so he/she takes matters in his/her own hands and sees him/herself as the judge, jury, and executioner. Break into the conman's house to steal important files, rough up a few of the conman's goons via...ah...special interrogation, whatever he/she thinks will get the job done. An anti-hero isn't going to worry about getting his/her hands dirty, not at all. Far as he/she's concerned, once all this is over and done, the conman will know his place and if it makes a few other people happy, then eh, okay whatever. The idea is that the actions of the anti-hero helps in the long run, even if he/she isn't at all happy about it or cares that much about the people involved.

    That said, it is popular to have the anti-hero start to change. Maybe our anti-hero falls in love with the owner of the orphanage, or he/she takes a liking to one of the kids who "reminds me of myself at that age." Whether they know it or not, whether they like it or not, they develop a personal interest with the orphanage; they begin to justify to themselves why they're wasting their time with this to the point where they have, in fact, given themselves a reason to give it their all to help the orphanage survive. Of course, they still may continue being their usual self, but this time, they have something worth fighting for.

    In my opinion, however, it's been overdone, that popular theme. To the point where if I read a book with this storyline, I would already have an idea of the ending. The anti-hero gets the guy/girl, or the anti-hero adopts that kid. The conman? Dead, or in jail, or otherwise completely ruined.

    A villain on the other hand? Look at our conman. He knows what he is doing, and he doesn't care. He's doing this for his own greed, his own ego, and he doesn't give a damned about a few dirt-poor orphans and a crumbling orphanage. Oh, sure, he wants to build a few condos, but as far as the reader is concerned, his heart is where the money is, not the orphanage or the children. His actions will only hurt them in the long run. All he cares about is himself and getting himself and his friends rich.

    In short:

    Anti-hero= A hero who, more often than not, does what we know to be right via means we might not agree with or are legal.

    Villain= Someone who, more often than not, does what we know to be wrong, regardless if the means are legal.

    Now, the reason I think some people don't like anti-heroes is because we're basically rooting for people who basically do everything we would consider wrong for what they (and to an extend, we) would think is the right goal. How does this make the person a hero? How is watching a man/woman break into a conman's house and beat the holy hell out of his goon supposed to make him/her heroic? More superior than the conman? Who do we root for? Why are they not the villains instead?

    To me, the anti-hero isn't a hero hence the prefix 'anti'. He/she is not someone you want to meet in the middle of the night. In some cases, he/she is no better than the villain! What makes him/her even the slightest bit better is that the people he/she fights are much, much worse than they are.

    That's how I always looked at it.
     
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
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  23. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    tl;dr:D
     
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  24. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    >:[

    THEN WHY DID I BLOODY BOTHER ANYHOW!? I DEMAND MONEY FOR THE TIME I WASTED ON THAT POST!!






    Just kidding. :p
     
  25. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    Done to death. You're discussing an anti-hero and they're have their own perks and limits.
     

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