Author Archives: Chris

The Antihero

So week three of the archetype series is here! We’ve covered heroes and villains now. What about the people in between those two? That is where the antihero emerges from the shadows…

So what are these dark characters? Is there any limits they will place on achieving their goals? Why are they some of the most popular characters in modern fiction? Where do we find examples in the real world? And why would you use one of these in your story?

So the anti-hero is a kind of interesting term. If you took the name literally you would think “That’s just another name for a villain”. The anti-hero is not a straight up villain though. In fact most hold many of the same traits as heroes. An anti-hero is normally motivated by a desire to help others (often a single person, or small group of people). It is common that they fight against villains or corrupted individuals. They even normally feel as though they are doing the right thing.

What makes them more like villains, and makes them contrast heroes are their methods. For instance, a hero normally allows a justice system have the criminal. An anti-hero “removes” them, or carries out the full judgement themselves. They tend to see the world as all shades of gray, and are incapable of seeing black or white. Their morals are normally lacking, or have been eroded away. As such they will often go farther than any hero would to achieve their goals. They do tend to have some morals and lines they don’t cross, but these are far fewer than nearly any hero.

You will find that Anti-heroes tend to be dark and gritty. They are written this way to make themselves contrast to your “typical hero”. If they aren’t written as a jagged person, they tend to come off as a crazy or psychotic character (even if unintentionally). These characters tend to mirror our more violent tendency and desires as humans. You know you have wanted to smack that smug smile off that hippocrates face, or break the nose of that bully, or even get payback on that missdeed against you. This is why we find anti-heroes so interesting. They explore the “what ifs” of our darker fantasies.

Will you find these people in the “wild”. Yes, but I hope you don’t especially not as something in their way. They do tend to be criminals, but are ussally the kind that don’t get caught. Occupationaly they are often bounty hunters, mercenaries, and real life vigilantes. The part of society that is on the darker side, that we rather pretend doesn’t exist. I mean we know “bad people” are out there; but the anti-hero is normally a “good person” doing “bad things”, and we don’t like to admit that happens so often.

Back to the world of writing. These characters are good to draw contrast for your heroes. They can be “fallen” heroes, who have had their morals eroded away over the years. They can also be “reformed” villains who have found a new purpose in serving others, but tend to still not have a good moral compass. You could also use them to tell darker stories that might be harder for you to put a typical hero into. Or to tackle the more grim topics of society like corruption. While they do believe they are justified in their actions, the action itself doesn’t have to be a “good” one. They aren’t role models, but they do show that: imperfections don’t a villain make you.

Thanks for reading. You might have noticed I didn’t rant about lazy writers, or modern fiction in this one. That’s because even though these are some of the most popular types of characters out there; they haven’t gotten the abuse that heroes and villains have gotten lately. While it is very possible to write these characters in a lazy fashion; those don’t tend to fly well in the traditional published scene. Even though poorly written heroes and villains have both been squeezing through.

The Villain

I didn’t introduce the series last week, but I will be exploring some of the major archetypes in littature over the next week or two. Last week I dived into the Hero, so in case you missed it you can find it here: https://christopherjhillger.com/2020/10/08/the-hero/

This week we are exploring the villain. What makes someone a villain? Why do we write them? What are examples we can find in the real world? Are they easier to write like many modern writers claim?

Villains are simply antagonists right? Just someone who opposes the main character, and is only a literary device… Well no. In grade school I was taught that yes, but after diving into creative writing it is clearly false. Villains are in simple terms individuals who’s motivations are solely derived from self serving desires. They will then do whatever they deem necessary to fullfil those desires.

That is a much broader way to see villains huh? Is it true though? Villains are the opposite of heroes, we can probably agree there. Heroes serve others first, so it should stand to reason villains serve themselves first. Heroes go through struggles and over come them keeping higher morals intact. Villains also go through struggles, but sacrifice morals if they deem it necessary to over come those struggles.

So why do we write them? Again, in simple terms, it is to build contrast in the world building. Without villains we don’t see how keeping morals intact is a difficult process when the hero achieves it. It is also easier to understand strife when you can put a face to it. In this way, villains are commonly the antagonist of the story. But that role isn’t what defines them, as we already covered eariler.

That is all well and good in your fantasy land Chris, but what about here in the grayscale that is life? Where are the villains here?

Good question prospective reader. We find villains in our world everyday. From orginized crime, to politicians (not really a range between those huh?), from corporations, to lawyers; villains are all around us.

Now before you come out to hang me, yes there are morally upstanding people in all of those examples (well, maybe not the politicians), but that is more the exception than the rule. In general, most of all those things are completely self-serving. They exist to accumulate power, profit, privilege, and influence, and rarely will avoid tarnishing any morals in the process, especially if the easiest path sacrifices them. In this way I fundamentally disagree with the old saying “you either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”. Villains are not born out of worn out heroes, they are born of their own choices along the path of their life.

So, as many modern writers say: villains are more interesting, and easier for readers to connect to right? Wrong!

Villains are easier to write. You don’t have to come up with personal struggles, sacrifice, and meaningful growth to create villains. Heroes are more difficult to write, because why would you keep your morals when you could just break them and get what you wanted now? That is how villains think, they feel heroes are naive or simply uneducated. How then are they more compelling? They are infinitely easier to write though. I don’t need to justify actions with villains, I don’t need to show moral or personal growth with a villain, I don’t need to inspire the reader with a villain. Sure you Can write a villain with some or even all those things, but with heroes you Have to, so it is harder to write those.

In closing, our villain worshipping modern littature disgusts me. I see it as nothing more than lazy writing from children unwilling to grow up. But, in strife, in the muck of the world is where heroes are born. Not out of self-serving desire, but out of self-sacrifice and serving others. We all can rise up and become better people and writers if we simply refuse to compromise our own morals.

The Hero

Bare with me everyone, and settle in. This is going to be a long one haha.

What is a hero, why do we write them, do they even really exist? That would be a good thesis statement huh? Well modern writers seem to have trouble writing heroes. They think heroes are boring, and “cookie cutter”, but honestly those are excuses. Excuses being made by lazy writers.

Harsh? Yeah, maybe. But I’m not going to lie, we need heroes.

A hero is a pillar to aspire to. Heroes are a moral role model. So do they come in one shape? No, not really, but not because of what they stand for, but how they reach it. I’m sure nearly everyone has heard of “The Heroes Journey”. Truly a hero is not the end result but the path in which they traveled to become one.

Have you struggled with making the right decisions? Have you had trouble taking the high road when you have been wronged? Do you struggle with being a positive influence with everyone you meet? Is the endurance to keep going on when things become incredibly hard sound like yesterday for you? What makes someone a hero isn’t the “can’t do wrong” or “make’s the right choices”, it’s the struggle and overcoming of hard situations. The kind of situations, that we the readers, would have great difficulty taking action in the same way.

Their morals are not how we don’t relate to them, it’s how we should aspire to be like them. We identify with the struggle, we should seek to become able to also make the heroic decision in those struggles. It is incredibly difficult, and in our world we tend to only see darkness everywhere we look. That is why we need heroes in our stories, morals are instinctual, but do not happen automatically.

We all know when things feel unfair when they happen to us. Why then is it so much harder to see unjust things that happen to others? How can we be so cutting with our words when if those words were turned on us we would cry foul? Is it because we don’t want heroes anymore? Do we empathize with villains and antiheroes instead? Are we content to remain children forever whining about how unfair the world is? Is that not why we write heroes? Are we not trying to show that there is a better way? A responsible way?

We don’t write heroes that don’t have struggles, for if they struggled not they would they not be heroes? Honestly, look anywhere, look everywhere, we have examples of heroes in our world every day. Does the firefighter whine that the building is too hot to enter, or do they duck their head and charge in to search for the trapped people? Do the hospital workers turn you away because you could get them sick? or do they let you in and treat your aliment as best as they are able? Does the police say “nah, there is gun fire over there, I could get hurt” or do they try and stop the violence?

What makes those heroes different then the ones we write is they go through stressful things that a lot of us cannot always relate to. The heroes we write can be shown to struggle with more everyday things and over come them as well. Not to say any of those people in my examples don’t also struggle with everything we do, but when you see them you don’t see those struggles you see their heroic actions. We cannot get inside each others head and read their thoughts (Thank the good Lord for that haha), but in stories we can see that the heroes are not so different from you or me.

So when I hear fellow creatives say things like “heroes are boring” or “heroes are all the same”, I know what they are really saying is “I don’t want to grow up, and writing someone who does grow up and becomes something more is hard”

That’s all I have today, let me know what you think in the comments.

Summer Reading Sale!

Hey Everyone!

Sorry for the late announcement, but my summer of reading sale is just just around the corner! If you haven’t had a chance to read The Sage of Hytrae trilogy, the next few days are going to be exciting! To both encourage and celebrate summer reading my ebooks are going to be heavily discounted as follows.

The Crystal Seal, The intro into the trilogy will be free for 4 days. Those free days are: July 29th – Aug 1st

The Candescent Vessel, and The Sorcerer’s Gamble (Books 2 and 3 in the trilogy respectively) will be on sale for just $0.99 on: July 29th – Aug 3rd

Thank you all for your support throughout the years, and especially lately. I hope everyone stays safe and healthy, and may God bless you and keep you.

Summer update for 2020

Hey everyone!

Exciting news, I am once again doing a “summer of reading” where in july you will be able to pick up one or more of The Sage of Hytrae books for a discount! I am going to be promoting this heavier than any promition to date, so hopefully we will see many new people ready to read these exciting tales. I will have more exact details on pricing and dates in the next week or two.

More writing is underway, and I am still hopeful at getting a new book out this fall. This writing does include a new Hytrae based trilogy, which is my current “active” effort. I will have more to announce for that in the next couple of months.


I know this year has been crazy, and I hope all of you are healthy and safe. As always,

may God bless you and keep you.

More writing underway

Hey everyone!

With all this crazyness going around, many of us are finding more spare time on our hands. I hope everyone is doing what they can to be safe and healthy.

In the spirit of isolation, few things help pass such time as reading. A well told story that you can sink into can make everything feel like it disappears. Ebooks are fairly cheap, and even I have a few out so I hope you consider reading during this time.

Personally, I find myself writing again. World building, character arcs, motivations and plots, I can loose myself in crafting such literaturations.

New tales with familiar faces in Hytrae, untold hijinks among the stars, and more have all seen some work lately. I’m still planning on getting something out there later this year, although I am less sure what it will be haha.

Until next time, May God bless you and keep you.

Thanks again!

Hey Everyone,

Thanks to everyone who checked out my promotional book give-a-way. I hope everyone who decided to download it reads it and enjoys it. The price will remain at the lower entry of $0.99 (USD) for The Crystal Seal.

I hope to have some new project updates to post in the next month or so, please stay tuned!

Until next time, May God bless you and keep you.

Last Chance to get The Crystal Seal ebook for Free!

Hey Everyone!

Today is your last chance to get The Crystal Seal ebook at no cost to you! The adventure begins here, and doesn’t cost you anything! Hop over to Amazon and grab it today!

All of my ebooks are (and always have been) DRM free, so you are free to use whatever ebook app you please to enjoy the story. And don’t forget to drop a review if you enjoyed it. It really does help.

The Crystal Seal is Free right now on Amazon!

Hey Everyone!

Just a reminder that Today the first installment of The Sage of Hytrae is Free! The Crystal Seal (ebook edition) can be purchased on Amazon.com and downloaded to any kindle, or device with a kindle app absolutely free!

This free promotion is to celebrate The Crystal Seal turning five years old this month! Find out how the adventure begins today!

Oh, and don’t forget to leave a review if you enjoyed the book. It really helps other people find it.

March Update

Hey Everyone!

This month The Crystal Seal turns 5 years old! It originally released on March 31st 2015, and kicked off The Sage of Hytrae Trilogy. As a celebration of this event The Crystal Seal ebook will be free from March 5th until the 9th. So if you haven’t had a chance please do give the first installment a read, for the best price Free!

In addition to that, you might have noticed all my currently published ebooks have dropped in price. You can now normally get The Crystal Seal for $0.99, and both The Candescent Vessel / The Sorcerer’s Gamble for $2.99. Paper backs for all books are still $9.99 sadly. This is due to printing and distribution costs.

I’m also looking into alternate forms of funding for publishing new books. I have been funding everything out of my own pocket and that causes some difficulty since my funds are limited fairly often. I will always be publishing to everyone that I can, and I won’t ask for additional pay walls for such things. So I’m not really sure what I can offer in this type of model besides maybe sneak peaks, polls, additional/alternative artworks, and possibly some form of dialog (like a discord server to ask questions and hang out?). Nothing is set in stone yet, and I am open for feedback.

Regardless, I am still hoping to get a new book written for this year. I have been quite busy so progress has been slow, so it will probably be a fall release at best again.

Anyway, thanks so much for stopping by and until next time.

May God bless you and Keep you,