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:~: Friday, June 30, 2006 :~:

The Anti-Hero

Blame it on my English major . . . but I like flawed characters.

I love Agent Malone from Missing. He's screwed up in the past and he's paid for it. He's not perfect.

I love watching Hamlet and Macbeth and Othello struggle against their flaws. When indulging in the pretty non-literary addiction of watching Days of Our Lives on Soap Net, I root for the scheming and conniving characters, wishing the goody-goody ones would fall a cliff . . . and stay dead.

I like real characters. And that means I like characters with flaws.

Especially, I love writing heroes who aren't the perfect nice-guy-next-door (although I have one or two of those, too). I like guys who've suffered, who maybe question whether they deserve to have someone love them, who aren't always very nice people.

John O'Reilly, the hero of my to-be-published novel What Mattered Most, has issues. So many, in fact, that his existence helped get me kicked out of a crit group. Two of the members hated him. As in, "wanted to toss the book against a wall" hated him. There were times I hated him, too. He was living with the results of his less-than-perfect life decisions, and those decisions put both the heroine and his unborn child at risk.

But at the same time, if John had been any other guy, including "Mr. Nice-Guy-Next-Door," I wouldn't have had the story. And I do like the story, if I may say so myself!

Anyway, I'm looking for some of my reviews to be less-than-glowing, simply because John seems to be a love-him-or-hate-him kind of hero . . . there doesn't seem to be a middle of the road. I'm okay with that. He's not a middle-of-the-road kinda guy. His heroine's not a middle-of-the-road kinda girl. I'm hoping that makes for a good read.

So what about you? Who's your favorite type of guy to read about? Mr. Nice Guy? Or Mr. Anti-Hero?


Blogger Joan Swan said...

My favorite kind of hero is the gamma -- a mix of alpha smart-ass strength and (usually internal) consideration and sensitivity...something that comes out despite his best efforts not to show it.

I don't do well at all with selfish or overly brooding or super-alpha heros.

My favorite heroines also happen to be gammas...with a touch more determined strength and the softness hidden until it's squeezed out of her.

Of course, writing a variety of h/h types is what puts the spice into stories.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Evanne said...

I have no problem with anti-heroes, in fact your description intrigues me to read your book. The key to pulling off the superficially unsympathetic hero is drawing him well enough to fascinate your readers. The fact that your story drew strong reactions says you can write. You made your audience react.

3:20 PM  
Blogger Paty Jager said...

I'm for Mr. Nice-guy. I'll read the others and like them, but I can't write them. I can write great villians, but I don't like my hero too flawed. A little is good, makes him interesting, but I don't do gut-wrenching pasts. My heroes have already started their upward climb from their past when they meet the heroine. She just makes the reason to climb out all the better.

7:43 AM  
Blogger Amie Stuart said...

I gotta vote for gammas too! And I love betas! I firmly believe a strong reaction is better than a meh reaction, so relax.

4:58 PM  
Blogger Elisabeth Naughton said...

I like anti-heroes...the ones who do something so awful you don't think there's any way they'll ever redeem themselves - and then (of course) they do.

I don't want to read about someone who never makes a mistake. Nice guys are fine as long as there's some sort of growth to them. If they're Mr. Perfect to begin with, what's the point of reading about them?

3:32 PM  

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