A Writer's Journey

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.

Maya Angelou

Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent.

Victor Hugo

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Writing Wednesday: Character Archetypes - The Anti-Hero

Since I'm starting a few new writing projects, I thought it'd be fun to do a few of these archetype posts to not only shed a light on what a character archetype is, but to also help me figure out the new slew of characters I'm going to be playing with. *insert squee here*

First of all, what is a character archetype? In simple terms, it's the epitome or the gist of the type of character you want to embody. Keep in mind that archetypes are just a jumping off point. They can be tweaked depending on the type of story and what the author ultimately sets out to resolve at the end of that story. But what character archetypes do give us is a basic platform to build on the characteristics of a particular character we're going to create.

The archetype being covered today is the anti-hero. What is an anti-hero? The description from several sources I found describe him/her as the unconventional hero. They can display characteristics that are not generally seen as heroic, such as the preference to be a loner, having the tendency to be self deprecating, exhibition of darker personality traits, and/or disregard for common authority. Personally, I prefer these types of heroes to those that glean and shine brightly as they bask in the awe of general society. *laughs*

You can read a more descriptive take here.

Prime examples of anti-heroes:



The anti-hero usually has a warped sense of morals and their actions are fueled by these beliefs that what they are doing is for the greater good. They could also begin as a person who wouldn't necessarily be classified as good at the start of the story, but because of their experiences end up saving the day or making the great sacrifice.

Prime example (and also one of my favorites):

Severus Snape

Do you prefer the hero or the anti-hero? Why?

And now for our regularly scheduled pretty...


  1. Yay archetype post! :) I like both, but I do feel like anti-heroes often have more depth because of their complicated moral codes. Even if they're not likable, they're certainly intriguing.

  2. I love a good flaw, so I have to say anti hero

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  5. I love the anti-hero! There's something about them that is so much more realistic. Flaws are good :)

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  6. Just followed the link over here from lorimlee and I'm glad I did. I'm pretty drawn to anti-heroes and it's mostly because of, as you put it, they're characters that don't necessarily want to save the world, they almost just... happen to, while doing their own thing lol. Will keep an eye out for more of your archetypes posts!

    p.s. love the pretty of the day pic

  7. Ani, I missed this until you posted the anti-villain with Draco today, then went and looked for your anti-hero because KNEW you'd have to mention Snape.

    Whenever anyone talks Snape and anti-hero, this filk goes thru my mind:

    You HAVE to go read it! :-) (hum along)