1. Luanwing
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    Luanwing New Member

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    cant keep my antagonist evil

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Luanwing, Aug 6, 2010.

    I have been having this trouble for some time now, I cant keep my antagonist evil. I love a bad guys in almost everything I read or watch, and I think that is why I am making my antagonist more like a good guy than he should be.

    I'm not sure how I am going to stop myself doing this and could really use some help, so please if you have an idea about how to help me make my antagonist evil again say.
     
  2. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like maybe you want him to be more of a good guy. If you want him to be evil, he'll be evil. He's a fictional construct that you control. Decide how you want him to behave as an evil person and write it that way. Otherwise, consider the possibility that you really want him to be more good and go about reworking your story to conform to that.
     
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  3. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    He can be a villain that the characters still identify with, more gray than black-and-white.

    If you need a black-and-white, good/evil setup for your story, you could create another villain who IS pure evil. :)
     
  4. Luanwing
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    Luanwing New Member

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    Thank you, I know what I'm going to do now.
    Thank you so much :D
     
  5. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    Glad I could help, good luck to you.
     
  6. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    i was going to waste my breath critisizing the notion of evil, but it looks like you've got it sorted out. good luck
     
  7. black-radish
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    black-radish Senior Member

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    I reckognize this! It's because you love a evil character, you try to defend him towards your readers and showing his good sides aswell, and hiding his evil actions!

    But do stories really need a black and white hero-villain ? Isn't every hero a bit self-centered, and doesn't every bad guy have a mother? It's what makes them human.

    Good luck with the story and happy writing! :D
     
  8. w176
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    w176 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Combine the really evil with the really relatable and you will get an interesting and realistic mix. Just see to most dictators in history. Hitler was a dog loving, teetotaller, vegetarian.
     
  9. Manav
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    Manav Contributing Member

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    You may also ask WHY you liked the villains in what you have read or watched. The answer should give you some perspective. Otherwise it may turn out that the villain of your own creation is not the villain you fell in love with in the first place :)
     
  10. Biffa001
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    Biffa001 Member

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    Just because he is your antagonist doesn't mean he has to be evil. As long as his motives are in oposition to your protagonist he works as the antagonist!

    For example, we may relate to the hero of the tale trying to escape from jail (for a good reason..to save his dying mother for instance) but the jailer or policeman who is trying to stopp him/catch him isnt evil but is set against our hero's purpose so still works as an antagonist.

    But their individual motives are in conflict. Not mean to be a lesson for you but just to get you thinking :)
     
  11. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    Usually the bad guys are just people who have different point of view on things than the main hero. They don't necessary have to slaughter babies or blow the world up.
    Now, do you want the readers to hate him or not? If yes then he needs to become basically the embodiment of malevolence and do all the bad stuff people hate or he can just be a normal guy that you'd sympathize with but wouldn't really approve of his ways. Or you can try to experiment with the mixture of those.
    Take your pick.
     
  12. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    A villain/antagonist is usually one who opposes the protagonist. Good and bad are dependent on society's standards (mainly American ones). Try and explain how the antagonist becomes "good" or just can't remain "evil"? What is your protagonist and what is his purpose in your story? What is your antagonist and what is his purpose in your story? How does he oppose the villain and how does the villain attempt to impede the protagonist's progress in turn?

    If your villain ends up shifting to the protagonist's side, then there must be a reason (and a really good one, too) as to why he would want to join his enemy. If this is not the problem and your villain just happens to be a "good guy" according to general standards, then what does that make your protagonist? The main character and the enemy/obstacle need each other, in a way, in order to create a story that can progress.
     
  13. The Prelude
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    The Prelude New Member

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    I'm glad you brought this up first - it pivots us to a completely new dimension. We can class characters as good or evil, and the little side-effects of their nature are likeable, despicable, fun, flawed, serious, and whatever else works. Or, as happens so often in the world around us, we can have the flawed angry one who lives at his fellow man's expense, the lovable bad-arsed social outcast, the one with the messy childhood who wrestled his way into political or business power ... then 'villain' is just a trivial side-effect of his nature, though it's definitely there.

    To answer our topic creator, looking at their nature and thoughts is a brutally effective way to understand why the character's going that way. If they don't feel evil, consider the mood about them when they were doing it right. Everyone's idea of evil seems to be subtly different, maybe the best way is to understand your own.

    I've found that the most realistic villains aren't called evil, except by people with an impure agenda (think former presidents). The most fun ones in your standard, obvious tie-this-chick-to-the-train-tracks tale are so obviously evil that their whole nature screams the word without you having to.

    In short, if you don't have to call your character evil, I figure you're doing it right. What does everyone think? I'm also quite curious about what kind of character the topic-starter is talking about. Please, tell us about them, or even show us a couple paragraphs :)
    I'm just eager to know exactly what kind of character we're all talking about, before we've even read the story :p
     
  14. Corbyn
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    Corbyn Lost in my own head Contributor

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    NOt every person who is what society would consider bad or evil is completely so. There are plenty of instances where normally good people do horrible terrible things.

    So my question is why worry about your character not being evil if what you've written is still working in the guidelines of your story? IF it's not then you have a problem.
     
  15. sereda008
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    sereda008 Senior Member

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    What do you mean? Look ,my character is inhabited by demons he cannot control. IT does not matter who your character is, as long as he does not run around the field clutching flowers or go through town cutting pedestrians with a chainsaw, it is fine.
     
  16. Radrook
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    Radrook Contributing Member

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    Remember, you can give your antagonists noble motives and goals. Then have them try to achieve those goals via devious ways. In short, the reader-dislike need not be toward the antagonist's goals but toward his methods and inability to see his own error.

    IMHO
     
  17. JessaNova
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    JessaNova Senior Member

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    Well, take the show Dexter as a prime example. He's a nice guy, people like him... but they shouldn't because he's a murderer. Yeah, he kills for good... but does that make him right?

    You see a lot of that in a lot of law enforcement stories. Protagonist usually ends up being the antagonist because you find out he's a sadistic killer.

    You can just switch his job with something you like, with something he does that people don't like.
     
  18. Aeschylus
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    Aeschylus Contributing Member

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    An antagonist does not have to be evil. There is no rule that says so. An antagonist is simply a character or force that works against the protagonist and usually has an opposing motive. As long as the antagonist is opposing and contradicting the protagonist, it's a perfect antagonist.

    Imagine that, for some reason, you've decided to write about a bake sale. It's a boring story, and naturally you're not going to have some all-consuming evil at the bake sale. So the little girl scout who's the protagonist might be the second-best baker in her troupe--and the antagonist is the best baker, who she has to struggle against to get the most money and win a prize and blah blah blah. Or maybe the antagonist is the mother who wants her to be a girl scout, while in reality the protagonist hates it and wants to be a dancer, so she must undergo some kind of struggle to persuade her mother. Neither of these antagonists are evil, or bad guys; they're just working against the protagonist's goal.

    Another example: in the movie Heat, there are two main characters--a detective (Al Pacino) and an influential criminal (Robert de Niro). At first it seems obvious: the former must be the good guy, the latter the bad guy, and thus the criminal must be the antagonist. But the truth is that the two are very much like each other, and neither is all good or bad. So the movie follows both characters, treating them both as protagonists and antagonists at different points.

    If your antagonist doesn't feel right somehow when he's evil, or you simply can't make him so, ask yourself: why is he evil? He can do all the terrible things he wants, cause all the bad things and suffering in the story, but is he, as a character, evil?
     
  19. Acer
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    Acer Member

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    I know what you mean! Sometimes when you really enjoy writing a bad character, he kinda becomes likeable to you and maybe doesn't do his job as well as you originally intended. I tend to like the baddies in books and inevitably the ones I like always die (actually, ANY character I like in a book inevitably dies... I'm an awful judge of these things, damn you writers :p )

    In my case, it usually ends up that I just can't kill off my antagonist... I did intend to at the end of one of my series but I just couldn't do it. Quite happy to drop protagonists like flies though...
     

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