Writing Concepts

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #012.

The Purpose Of Writing Concepts

Every week, published in my writing magazine, The Writer’s Everything, Writing Concepts will discuss a major piece of knowledge that authors would do well to be aware of.

This week, the topic of Writing Concepts is “Antihero.”


“Antihero” is the term used to refer to the main character (MC) of a story when they lack the qualities that are generally associated with a traditional hero. For example, rather than demonstrating courage, morality, or a desire to act for the benefit of the greater good, antiheroes often act simply out of their own self-interest.

At times, an antihero may make a morally sound choice, or “do the right thing,” but more often than not, they don’t do so for the right reasons. Rather, they act in this manner with the simple goal of furthering their own interests.

An antihero is not an antagonist, even though they may take many of the same actions. This is because the antihero is the MC of the story. Antagonists, on the other hand, are always in direct opposition to the MC. So it’s entirely possible for the antagonist of an antihero to be a morally sound and just character trying to do the right thing.

Over the course of the story, it’s possible that an antihero may begin to develop qualities that fall in line with those of more heroic characters. This is often the focus of their character development. For example, in X-Men, Wolverine has the characteristics of an antihero, choosing to act out of his own self-interest rather than do the right thing. Over the course of the story, however, his fatherly relationship with Rogue moves him to act more and more selflessly, until he willingly sacrifices himself to save her life. 

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

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