As promised yesterday, for the final day of Anti-Hero week, instead of digging up another famous anti-hero (a shame, too--I had a lot of good things to say about Enemy Ace) I thought I'd look at what growing up with and absorbing the lessons of all this anti-hero jazz had wrought on my writing.
As I hate talking about myself in any way that might intimate that what I do is important, I apologise for it right at the top here and promise we'll be right back to familiar territory next time.
Right, so, I've talked about GUNMETAL BLACK before--in terms of plot structure, at any rate--back when I talked about Myth Arcs a while back, but it's worth getting into the nitty gritty of it a little morseo. I'd just spent four years working on the first draft of the other big story and something about coming off that at the same time I was going through some stuff, and was more than a little angry.
I wanted to do something different, and something with more of an edge. Paradoxically, I didn't want to go too far--if comics have taught me anything, the "more is more" approach to sex and violence aspires to demonstrate how "grown up" the author is the exactly the kind of thing I never need to see again in my short life on this planet. Being a fan of film nor (actual film noir, not whatever goes on in Frank Miller's jerkoff fantasies) I knew you could achieve a certain tone without needing a whole bunch of allegedly shocking stuff.
Think of it like the tone of your voice--how something is said informs on something as much as the text and can add colour to things.
So, I had a tone, now all I needed was a character. In the embryonic stages, GUNMETAL BLACK'S lead character, Kienan Ademetria, owed a lot to the first three characters I mentioned at the beginning of the week--at first he was a hyper-competent assassin in the mold of Hunter Rose and Diabolik, but that soon fell away, because it seemed to me, a hyper-competent master assassin/thief has little more than one story to tell, and that's That One Time He Fails (Being that both are long-lived characters, clearly this is a failure of vision on my part) Once those fell off, I was left with something more in the vein of Golgo 13.
Which is fine, of course--How Does (Or Doesn't) He Pull It Off is a rich storytelling engine and one you can pretty much fire off at will--heist films use it all the time, right? But as I was planning a big Myth Arc, I would need a little more than the episodic to keep it going. There needed to be a more personal edge to it.
To be somewhat contrary, I portrayed my lead character as completely non-communicative, and yet, we dwell a lot in his personal life. It seemed like a worthwhile challenge to try and write something where a lot f character beats were left unspoken (OK, not that hard--some TV shows do it all the time, but here I'm talking in the sense of "leaving them unspoken by the characters, yet fully comprehensible and deeply felt.")
So I had the idea for a extraordinarily gifted assassin who, in between spectacular capers, leads a very stark and lonely life, and over the course of the Myth Arc he might be able to come back to himself and, if not reform, be able to break through as isolation so heavy as to be lethal.
That's how I saw it.
Authors who have paid homage to it or done straight fanfic, not so much. The surface allure of being an anti-hero, of being able to thumb your nose at The Man and be rewarded for it is a romantic idea and a hella powerful one. Not just in my story--in all stories, in all media. Whether its the Corleones or whatever street tug cut a rap album and made good this week--it's so ingrained in the collective unconscious it's sub-meme at this point.
In short, people like it, and that's fine. Unless it's just the surface element of what you're doing, and then, it will slowly drive you insane.
But never mind all that---hopefully in this long and rambling diatribe I've walked you through how the anti-heroes who caught my interest in my youth informed on my creation of an anti-hero of my own later on.
If not, then I probably need to make these things more planned out and less rambling.