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Digital Subscriptions > Writing Magazine > December 2017 > THE DARK HALF


Alex Davis looks at how to go about creating great anti-heroes in fantasy fiction



Epic fantasy is a branch of fiction that has long been associated with great heroes. It’s not hard to conjure images of Robert E Howard’s Conan, Fritz Leiber Fafhrd and the Grey Mouser, Gemmell’s Druss the Legend and many more besides. These are characters that often have great strength, remarkable skill at arms, sometimes a smattering of magic to boost their heroic efforts and – most universally – an overriding desire to do what is right and help people, to help justice and karma be achieved. The traditional hero was a staple of epic fantasy for so many years that it was often titled ‘heroic fantasy’ as well.

But, as any genre grows and grows – and it’s fair to say fantasy fiction has been a thriving area in the sales sense – things begin to evolve. With the emergence of ‘grimdark’ fantasy, written by some of the most popular authors of recent times (Joe Abercrombie, Mark Lawrence, Luke Scull and many more), we now have more and more stories fronted by their anti-heroes. But as writers, how do we move away from years of tradition and craft great fantasy stories about the anti-hero?

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About Writing Magazine

Free your mind! In the new issue of Writing Magazine we look at finding new ways to expand your creative horizons. We also take a look at editing, and offer a practical plan to take your work from messy manuscript to a clean draft that will impress editors. In our star interview, Joanne Harris talks about folklore, fairy tales and sprinkling magic into your fiction. Plus inspiring ideas, practical exercises, success stories, writing prizes to win and much, much more!

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