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  • Catherine C. Heywood

Hero vs. Antihero

Updated: Feb 10, 2018

So I've been thinking a TON about this: what makes a character a hero vs. an antihero? I'm working on my most complicated story to date and it's coming slower as a result. But it's because I'm getting stuck on this.

The first thing you want to do in any story is create a protagonist that your readers care about. If they don't, it will be a challenge to get invested in the story. But that isn't always easy. In this story doubly so as I navigate the tricky pass of creating genuinely good but flawed people who do what most consider a bad thing or bad things. This begs the question: Are there ever right reasons to do wrong things?

In my story we go inside a very thorny marriage and people attach a lot of preconceived notions to marriage, thorny or no. I never set out to write about a thorny marriage. The story, as I say, "tapped me on the shoulder" by giving me the first scene whole cloth: a husband and wife having a tense breakfast.

Then it's up to me to ask the right questions:

Who are they?

Why do they seem to despise each other?

How long have they been married?

What does he want/fear?

What does she want/fear?

Who or what is the inciting incident?

How will it end?

If I've done my job well, I hope my readers are carried through the story effortlessly even as they challenge their own notions of right and wrong and reason.

If you enjoyed The California Limited, then you'll be happy to know that this story takes place around the same era -- this time the 20's and 30's and mostly in LA. The photos are a tip about the research I'm doing for some upcoming scenes (hint: my characters take a holiday trip) and part of an early scene so you can have a taste and meet some of the characters.

I'm approaching the halfway point (or the Point-of-No-Return -- something so significant happens that propels the characters toward the inevitable ending/a something they cannot come back from) and very much looking forward to writing it. I don't think anything could top the PONR in Ground Sweet As Sugar where I wrote two scenes taking place at the exact same moment but on opposite sides of an ocean, one bringing my couple together, the other destined to pull them apart, then weaving them together for the reader to experience in the same moment. Still love that. Can't wait for you all to read that! This PONR is destined to be much more subtle, but I hope still very compelling.

#amwriting #antiheroes #clinteastwood

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