1. Micah Nguyen
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    Micah Nguyen New Member

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    Giving the Villain the win?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Micah Nguyen, Jan 13, 2014.

    Its strange. Most novels and stories are filled with happy endings, which I have nothing against. The books that have a major plot twist, that allow the overall villain/antagonist to triumph fills me with more interest. It shows originality.

    It's very hard for me to give the antagonist the win in this situation though. Throughout the story, I have given the MC growth and knowledge to overcome the villain yet knowing that I have planned on letting the villain win all along.

    If my original plan was to let the Villain/antagonist triumph, should I have let the MC grow? Should I have planned to let the villain/antagonist triumph in the beginning? Should I change the story to where its more comfortable or natural for this scene to happen or go with the simple happy ending?

    -Micah
     
  2. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    The MC does not always have to be the Hero. Of course there are Heros and Anti-Heros. This is a very big misconception.

    With my knowledge in filmmaking, a situation where the Villain wins or triumps; the main character is only used as the pawn to the game. You can build a personality for the MC and allow your audience to understand the character. If the Villain does win, you have to justify the existence of the MC in the first place.

    Example:
    The story is written in third person, the villain could be telling the story about how he was able to triumph over the Hero in the story.

    The story is written in first person, the MC is telling his story about how he/she was defeated by the Villain. Now you have to answer the question WHY?

    ---The Villain and the MC had a previous relationship and are now at War/holding grudge/revenge
    ---The Villain chosen the MC because he was a target for a purpose. (was he the only connection to another character, did he only have access to a specific need, object, person?)
    ---The Villain was following a stranger and it was a random target.

    In these cases the Anti-Hero can end up being the Hero. Depending on how to justify the purpose of the Villain winning, at least one audience member will favor the Villain's decisions over another.
     
  3. EllBeEss
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    EllBeEss Contributing Member

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    You shouldn't make the villain win for the sake of originality and a plot twist but because that's the way it makes sense for the story to end.
     
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  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's always refreshing to read an ending not expected. But like EllBeEss says, it needs to make sense in the story and not just be a twist for the sake of a twist. The readers will be disappointed.

    There are, however, stories where a villain prevailing definitely works.
     
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  5. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    You can give the villain the win without giving the antagonist the win. Just make your protagonist evil, and end the story with him reaching his goal that results in the world being much worse off than before.

    I had an rp back on The Guild that involved characters who were apathetic (mostly). Broke the law constantly, caused lots of property damage and harm to bystanders, and though they killed a lot of even worse people, it normally caused another mess for them to clean up.
     
  6. SuperVenom
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    SuperVenom Contributing Member

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    I think its a good idea, but it may not be as easy as people think. Because the one thing a reader need is closure at the end of the story, one way or another. We need to be satisfied. And for a villain to win can cause it to seem like an anticlimax. Why read a hero's struggle just to lose, we can do that earlier by putting the book down. Not saying it cant be done, but be careful and write it so we go ooohhh i see, not oh was that it.
     
  7. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    As others have said, don't do it for the sake of a plot twist - you'll leave the readers with a sour taste in their mouths, and that's not what a twist should do in the first place. Do it only if it makes sense for the story to end that way.

    I think what you have confused is the concept of hero and villain. The protagonist does not always have to be good, or a hero. Take American Psycho or Lolita, for example. The protags there are a psychopath and a peadophile. The book Perfume, its protag is a murderer and the whole book is about how he goes about reaching his ambitions and in the process, killing several young virgin girls. These are protags who are villains, not heroes.

    So just make your MC a villain, that's all ;) but that's harder than you might think because your villain must be either still sympathetic, or else he must be fascinating, so disgusting that the readers must find out what he's gonna do next. Both are difficult to achieve because your character, by virtue of being the villain, must be doing bad things.
     
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  8. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    Basically what mckk is saying, but more simply put, make you hero a lesser of two evils. If you want the story to end catastrophically, then merely make him apathetic to the pain of other people, while the villain really derives pleasure.

    Try tvtropes.com for inspiration on building a character if you want. The site has a search bar, so type "a lighter shade of grey" or "black and grey morality" in that bar to find more specific articles to what you're thinking of.
     
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  9. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    I agree with the idea of making your protagonist the villain, I've never really considered that before. Otherwise you really need to question why you want the villain to win. Assuming it's more than you wanting your story to 'stand out' for its originality, you then need to take into consideration your readers' emotional attachment to your protag. If he/she spends the whole book growing and developing to only lose, then it's not a good ending in my opinion. You could however twist this a little. As an example off the top of my head, let's say the villain needs to sacrifice a virgin to gain immortal powers. Let's say the virgin is the protag's sister. He grow and develops, and is able to save his sister but the villain takes another virgin and gains the immortal power.

    The protag succeeded in saving his sister. This makes his struggles worthwhile.
     
  10. Cailinfios
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    Cailinfios Member

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    Hey, I think there's a big gap between "Happy ending" and "bad guy wins"
    For example, in my novelette, my MC is a a homicide detective. The murderer ends up being her boyfriend. After she finds out, he kills himself out of guilt. So technically the "good guys" won - the murderer was cuaght and wont be committing any more murders -0 but certainly nowhere near to happy!
     
  11. Magnatolia
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    Magnatolia Active Member

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    I agree @Cailinfios, it's not always about the 'happy' ending, but perhaps 'victorious' or 'success' ending, where the objective of the MC is met, irrespective of whether this is a happy or not-so-happy result as in the case of your novelette. Great story idea btw.
     
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  12. Cailinfios
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    Cailinfios Member

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    @Magnatolia: Thanks! I'm very proud of it, I worked on it for a long time...
     
  13. Fitzroy Zeph
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    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wouldn't think of it as giving the villain the win, so much so, as giving the hero the lose. You can still have poetic justice in a lose for the protagonist as it grows organically out of the story line. This is not original though. It goes back a long way in the history of novels.
     
  14. TheApprentice
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    TheApprentice Contributing Member

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    You should really consider an immoral protagonist. Honestly having the antagonist win would suck unless it's a parody you're going for or a horror.
     

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