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Anti-Heroes: Why Devious is so Delectable by Heather Webb
Posted By Jennifer Tanner On July 7, 2014 @ 12:08 am In Agents/Editors,Characterization,Conflict,Weekly Lecture Schedule | 7 Comments
Author and RU contributor Heather Webb  talks about the allure of the anti-hero, the guy you want to hate and yet can’t stop thinking about…
I don’t watch much TV. In fact, I binge on one show per year on Netflix, maybe two if it’s a good year in television, but that’s about it. (There are just too many good books to read.) But recently I’ve become addicted to the political thriller House of Cards and the indomitable Frank Underwood. With each episode, I find myself absolutely gripped—both fascinated and horrified by this character. I wait with bated breath for his next brilliant comment, his crocodile smile, and the twist of his knife in someone’s back. Another superb detail I adore is that Frank is from a small town in Georgia so his lilting accent and charm almost make you believe he’s a gentleman. Almost.
Frank Underwood got me to thinking. What’s so great about him? He is egotistical, driven, conniving, adulterous—even murderous, yet he’s an amazing orator, a statesman with manipulative skills that are unparalleled, and above all, powerful. Also? He loves his wife. Though his needs are often first and foremost, he truly loves his wife and it shows. Frank isn’t the only anti-hero that has drawn my attention in recent months. I’ve really locked on to them in the last year. But why?
In search of an answer, I skimmed my myriad of bookshelves (Yes, I’m a print girl, despite my smart phone, fancy computer, and e-reader device. The experience of reading this way just isn’t the same for me. I like to stroke the book covers and…I digress.). So I skimmed my books, looking for these dark characters and after I had gathered a few, I analyzed what made them so dadgum fun to read. This is what I discovered:
Traits that make a Devious, Yet Delectable Anti-Hero:
An anti-hero is a character who views morality as a hindrance to their goals. At times, their actions can be as hideous as an antagonist, but what enables us to forgive their poor morality and misdeeds is to witness their STRUGGLE TO CHANGE. This struggle is what each one of us can relate to, regardless of wealth, position, or stature. It’s the sliver of humanity and remorse, the glimmer of something GOOD inside this anti-hero that makes the reader root for them. If the anti-hero wrestles against his faults, we want to him to succeed in his goals so that he may have REDEMPTION. This is the key to the entire story arc in novels with anti-heroes.
Who is your favorite anti-hero? Do you prefer to see men or women as this type of character and why?
Author Clara Kensie presents: Reading, Writing, and Marketing the Serial Novel on Tuesday, July 8th.
Bio: As a freelance editor, Heather spends oodles of time helping writers find their voice and hone their skills–something she adores. She may often be found twittering helpful links, sharing writing advice and author interviews on her blog Between the Sheets, or teaching novel writing in her community. Her favorite haunts are right here at the fabulous Romance University.org and the award-winning WriterUnboxed.com.
Her first women’s historical, BECOMING JOSEPHINE , released to much acclaim in Jan 2014 and her second, RODIN’S LOVER, releases from Plume/Penguin as a lead title in 2015.
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 Heather Webb: http://www.HeatherWebb.net
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 BECOMING JOSEPHINE: http://www.amazon.com/Becoming-Josephine-Novel-Heather-Webb/dp/0142180653/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1404705779&sr=8-1&keywords=becoming+josephine
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 @msheatherwebb: http://twitter.com/msheatherwebb
 Weekly Lecture Schedule – July 7th to July 12th, 2014: http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/07/05/weekly-lecture-schedule-july-7th-to-july-12th-2014/
 Writing the Alpha Male: http://romanceuniversity.org/2009/11/04/writing-the-alpha-male/
 Character Motivation Part Two—Discerning Motivation, Actions, Goals with Heather Webb: http://romanceuniversity.org/2014/01/03/character-motivation-part-two-discerning-motivation-actions-goals-with-heather-webb/
 The Unrepentant Character with Mae Clair: http://romanceuniversity.org/2013/05/22/the-unrepentant-character-with-mae-clair/
 Character Motivation Part One: Using Your Inner Critic to Shape Your Protagonist By Heather Webb: http://romanceuniversity.org/2013/10/30/editor-heather-webb-visits-romance-university/
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