Episode 16

The Different Types of Anti-Heroes

We travel to Vilnius, Lithuania, learn about the different types of antiheroes, discuss a disturbing trend on LinkedIn job posts, and catch up on Amazon publishing trends.

Music licensed from Storyblocks:

“More Jam Please” by Raighes Factory

"Lawn Chair" by Humans Win

"Overtime" by Humans Win

"King Me" by Nite Owl

"I Meant That" by Nick Battle

"The Battle with the King of the Dead" by Precarious Perch

Transcript
Rosemi Mederos:

If you have plot bunnies coming out of your plot holes, it’s time for a writing break.

Break time, everyone. Today we’re traveling to a city borne from a dream with an iron wolf. Plus, I’ll talk about the different types of antiheroes, a disturbing trend in job posts, and the latest publishing news.

The Writing Break cafe is open, so let’s grab a drink and a table and catch up.

Audiobooks.com in November of:

If you know what that means, please let me know. But I do know that Storytel’s stock price has been declining (haven’t they all, though?), and some are suggesting that Storytel could become an acquisition target itself. (Ahem, Amazon).

rowing on Amazon Kindle since:

I think historical fiction is ideal for long winter nights, and the data backs me up on that. According to Google search volume, searches for historical fiction peak in January and bottom out in June and July. There was a peak in spring of 2020, but we all know why that happened, don't we?

The top historical fiction subcategories include women’s fiction, USA history, and World War II.

The average price point for ebooks of any kind has increased over the last 18 months from $6.01 to $7.47. The most frequent price point for historical fiction ebooks is $4.99, followed by $7.99. The majority of historical fiction ebook titles are standalone rather than part of a series, and they are usually not part of Kindle Unlimited.

Historical mysteries, on the other hand, are usually Kindle Unlimited exclusive and series titles.

Female detective series are in demand as well. The female protagonist can be a professional detective or an amateur sleuth; they both do well in terms of sales. In the top 500 on Kindle right now, non-cozy mysteries make up 75 percent of sales. Other significant subcategories include romantic mystery and serial killers. In terms of story tropes, drugs and drug crimes have been trending up, while treason, money laundering, and conspiracy have been trending down.

The most common price point for female detective books is $4.99.

Links to these articles can be found in the show notes of this episode and on writingbreak.com.

Before we get into the different types of anti-heroes, let’s sit a spell on the Overthinking Couch while I share a villainous trend in human resources.

A fellow editor is spending an unfortunate amount of time on LinkedIn looking for a full-time job. She told me that a lot of job listings were stating that the candidate had to “be humble.” In my experience, editors are realistic and practical people. We don’t tend to struggle with hubris. We are, however, proud of the work we do. So, is there suddenly a rash of arrogant editors in the workforce, or is there some new human resources lingo meant to keep workers cowed?

Well, your favorite overthinker visited the blue abyss of LinkedIn to find the answer. A 5-minute search for the word humble among the job posts told me that this is another evil and nonsensical ploy to keep you in line. Aside from editor, other job titles that included the need to be humble were: client coordinator, paralegal, public speaking coach, reporter, salesperson, strategist, voice teacher, and writer.

At that point I stopped looking. I do not know a lot of arrogant writers.

Humility and arrogance, for me, are two opposite extremes, with pride being the centering balance point. These companies are requesting that you forego having any pride in your work or skill set. This illogical request for humility comes from the same bag of evil that brought us the job posting red flag phrases “like a family,” “sense of humor,” and “must have thick skin.”

Pride is not a bad thing. An employee who takes pride in their work will produce quality work for their employer. Ask for humility and you could get an indecisive worker who needs to be micromanaged. But what companies are saying when they make being humble a requirement is that they are going to take advantage of you and disrespect your boundaries, and you better be okay with that.

On a job post seeking a staff reporter it said: "Be Humble. You don’t have all the answers. Luckily, you don’t have to. Don’t worry about being right. Be humble instead."

Since when does a reporter not need to worry about being right? A reporter should absolutely have all of the answers, and those answers must be accurate and well-researched.

Another job post wrote in the job description “You’re humble. You put the needs of the team and others ahead of your own.”

I beg your pardon? Even when a plane is going down, you have to put your oxygen mask on first.

If you see “be humble” on a job post, I suggest you proceed with caution.

And now, grab your stuff, we’re taking a trip to an independent bookstore.

ke established Vilnius in the:

In:

It is a beautiful European city, and the home of Eureka! an independent bookstore selling books in English and Lithuanian.

as an academic bookseller in:

Now that we’re here, let’s check out an independent author.

self-published as an ebook in:

The English version is only available on Kindle, so I’ll give you a minute to make that purchase before we head back to the Writing Break cafe for our exploration into anti-heroes.

Last week, I explained what an anti-hero is and why people like them so much. Today I’m going to give you a rundown of the three main types of anti-heroes. I want you to think of these types as a Venn diagram. A lot of these traits blend well together. These definitions can serve as a basic framework, but don’t let them limit your creativity.

Let’s start with the pragmatic antihero. These characters might still follow the hero’s journey. They know right from wrong, but they are realistic and know that sometimes they have to do a bad thing for the greater good. Examples include Sherlock Holmes, Wolverine, and even Harry Potter by the end of the series when he’s using the unforgivable curses and robbing a bank. Most female antiheroes I read fall under this category.

Next up, is the hero in name only. These characters have dark actions and get really close to being a villain. Their actions might result in good, but they’re not even that concerned with that, such as Walter White in Breaking Bad. Or, their actions are vile, but they claim to be doing it for the greater good, such as Dexter Morgan in the book Darkly Dreaming Dexter and the TV show Dexter. We still root for them, but maybe we’re a little uncomfortable with their methods.

Then there is the gray area of the unscrupulous antihero. They might have good intentions, but mostly they’re concerned with their own desires and interests. Morality isn’t really a factor in the unscrupulous antihero, and that means there isn’t much of a character arc. Think Rambo and Jack Sparrow. Backstory is really important when writing this kind of antihero. The reader will be okay with the mayhem these characters cause if their behavior is rooted in trauma or can be explained in some way.

Those are the three main types of antiheroes. I’ve heard of other types of antiheroes, but I feel like they’re just subcategories to these. There is also the general antihero who is the character who doesn’t have so-called hero qualities but is a hero. Frodo from Lord of the Rings, for example. He doesn’t consider himself to be a hero. He isn’t brave, he isn’t decisive, but then by the end of the book he believes in himself. The detective stories trending on Kindle that I mentioned at the beginning of this episode often have anti-hero protagonists. Who doesn’t love a pushy, nosy, rule-breaking, justice-seeking amateur sleuth?

If you’re looking for some modern antihero characters, I refer you to the author Nicole Banks. She writes strong male and female antiheroes, and her books are a lot of fun.

Try your hand at writing an antihero, and let me know how it goes for you. Until next week, you deserved this break.

If you would like us to visit your favorite independent bookstore, feature your favorite independent author (even if it’s you), or discuss something you’re overthinking about, please email me at podcast@writingbreak.com.

Thank you for making space in your mind for The Muse today.

Writing Break is hosted by America’s Editor and produced by Allon Media with technical direction by Gus Aviles. Visit us at writingbreak.com or contact us at podcast@writingbreak.com.

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Rosemi Mederos

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Rosemi is the founder of America's Editor, a book editing company.
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