1. Twist

    Twist Member

    Oct 2, 2014
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    Figuring out who's sympathetic

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Twist, Jul 30, 2015.

    I had the idea for a very short story, maybe one page long (it's supposed to be written as if it's an anonymous letter to the police). I started writing it, getting a rough idea down, but before going back in to change what needed to be changed, I noticed I was having a hard time figuring out who was sympathetic in this, and subsequently it was kind of hard to figure out the tone.

    A rough outline of the story;

    - Unnamed view point character (Character 1) has been followed by someone they really don't like (Character 2) for fifteen years. Character 2 refuses to leave them alone despite repeated attempts to get them to. Other people don't see the harm and refuse to help Character 1 get them to leave them alone.

    - Character 1, desperate and at their wits end after fifteen years, fakes their own death and goes to live somewhere else.

    - Now distraught Character 2 subsequently kills themselves in the same manner as unnamed Character 1.

    Are both of them overreacting? Is one of them sympathetic while the other is overreacting? Are both of them sympathetic? What do you guys think?
  2. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Aug 12, 2015
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    London, UK
    Both can by sympathetic or not, depending on their reasons for doing what they do.

    If Character 1 killed Character 2's lover in cold blood, and C2 follows C1 to ensure C1 doesn't kill anyone else, then C2 is more sympathetic. But if the lover was a cruel thug who killed C1's parents, and C1 killed them only in revenge... we can feel sympathy for both of them, as they each lost a loved one.

    If C2 is in love with C1 and desperately follows C1 hoping C1 will one day love them back... we can sympathise with C2's pain of unrequited love, and C1's pain of being stalked. If it's the same scenario but C1 is actively cruel to C2, laughing and taunting C2 that s/he will never be good enough to be C1's lover... we feel more sympathy for C2 than C1.

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