Monday, January 21, 2008

The Saga of the Anti-Hero

Howdy fellow writers,
We're back because of the holiday. I thought I would do a new post on directors next but an interesting topic came up in a post from UNK
which talks about a definition of different story scenarios.

It was an interesting list of contradictory goals and immediately made me think of "anti-heroes." You know the guy who is forced to do something he wouldn't normally do to "save the day" as it were.

This is a very difficult character to write as you have to be careful to not put the "hero" in the position of violating that covenant at the wrong time, nor fulfilling the covenant at the wrong time.

The anti-hero though can be a very exciting character as he will not do the expected but the unexpected; such as torturing a villain or shooting a running criminal in the leg rather than chase.

These characters are also interesting as they can be "non-heroes" like the hacker who has to commit a crime to get his daughter away from a porn star mother or a hitman who has to save his target. Amazingly, I picked two stories from the same author, Skip Woods. The films are Swordfish and Hitman, neither of which were heralded though Swordfish had a pretty good BO run.

I, though, would rather have the quintessential hero; the family man who is used to trouble but takes on the job because he has to protect those he loves and what he believes in. He doesn't turn down the call. Sorry Mr McKee. I disagree. Sure you can add a few minutes of regret and soul-searching but you are still limited to how you actually construct the intro and the inciting incident.

You're stuck with the same old speeches as to why the hero won't do it at first. This type of hero is limited to the military or some derivative as the person can choose to refuse, so their life is not in danger.

If you look at perhaps the most famous modern hero, John McClane, he can never turn down the call as it is his job. In history there was one hero that comes to mind who does at first turn dwn the call and that's Wyatt Earp. But looking at the back story, it's clear that he is in the same position as the recent "Rambo" where he was "retired" from the hero game and doesn't want to get involved.

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