Heroes And Anti-Heroes - What is The Difference

Heroes And Anti-Heroes – What’s The Difference?

In this table, we list the differences between heroes and anti-heroes for writers.

We are often asked about the differences between heroes and anti-heroes on our Writers Write course. There are many, including the storytelling truth that heroes need confidants and mentors, while anti-heroes need sidekicks.

TOP TIP: Either a hero or an anti-hero can be the protagonist in a story.

Heroes And Anti-Heroes – What’s The Difference?

The Hero

According to the dictionary a hero is ‘a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities’. A fiction hero is a ‘character in a book, play, or film, who is typically identified with good qualities, and with whom the reader is expected to sympathise’.

The Anti-Hero

The anti-hero is ‘a central character in a story, film, or drama who lacks conventional heroic attributes’.  These missing attributes include idealism, courage, and morality. Anti-heroes can sometimes do the right thing, but it is usually because it serves their interests to do so.

Anthony Ehlers compiled this list as a guide for aspiring writers.

Heroes And Anti-Heroes - What's The Difference?


  1. If you want to learn how to write a romance, sign up for our online course, This Kiss.
  2. If you want to learn how to write a book, sign up for our online course.
  3. Use our Character Creation Kit to create great characters for your stories.

by Anthony Ehlers

If you enjoyed this post, read:
  1. Five Shortcuts for Creating an Inciting Moment
  2. Amused – Nine New Muses to Make You Write
  3. Are you a jester, a priest or a magician? – The Three Things Readers Want
  4. Is Genre a Straitjacket?
  5. Give me a break – the Internal Critic strikes back
  6. Talk Show — How to let your characters tell their story

Read More: Explore the romance writing tag on our website for more posts: Romance Writing

Posted on: 4th July 2013