Recently, in an interview about an anti-heroine in my upcoming release (Feather, out November 2016), I was asked about the allure of anti-heroines (or a main character that lacks conventional heroic attributes) and how this might have an impact in a social context.
This question prompted a great deal of reflection.
In media, we all love heroes. We love writing them, and we love reading them. We fall in love with them, and cheer them on from the theater seats, sidelines, and margins of our favorite books. From the beginning, heroes are outstanding achievers, courageous, selfless, and noble. It’s easy to root for the squeaky clean knights clothed in shining idealism. We even imagine being the hero, overcoming insurmountable odds, being worthy of applause – saving the world or at least saving the day.
But most of us aren’t equal to the ideal of the cookie-cutter, spangle-hearted heroes.
Enter the Anti-hero.
They’re broken. They’re afraid. They don’t want to get involved or make waves. Antiheroes struggle with the monotony of surviving in a world that doesn’t make sense. They fight illicit addictions, mental problems, or a preoccupation with sex. They’re in the middle of a divorce or a bitter custody battle. The messed up world had just better save itself because they’re regular people, busy earning money to take the subway to their 9-to-5.
Anti-heroes and anti-heroines are characters we identify and empathize with. They’re average, reluctant Joes and Janes thrust into a mold that doesn’t fit them. They arrive in the nick-of-time in stained t-shirts with less-than-stellar physique, only to swipe the last beer from the fridge.
Maybe this is our shared universal truth.
We daydream about the heroes, but we love the raw honesty and comedy of Agent Ordinary to the rescue as he combats the aches and pains of middle age or spends an hour trying to find his glasses.
We want the underdogs to successfully save the planet. After all, if they can win, then maybe we can, too.
Bokerah Brumley is a speculative fiction writer making stuff up on a trampoline in West Texas. When she’s not playing with the quirky characters in her head, she’s addicted to Twitter pitch events, writing contests, and social media, in general. With three urban fantasy novella releases scheduled for 2016, Bokerah has too much planned for this year, but is happily doing it anyway. She lives on ten acres with five home-educated children, three dogs, two cats, and one husband. In her imaginary spare time, she also serves as the blue-haired Publicity Officer for the Cisco Writers Club.
Dogwood Sprocket is SciFi Steampunk novelette available FOR FREE in
Woe for a Faerie ~ April 2016
Wings Over New York ~ July 2016
Feather ~ November 2016