1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    How many villains is too many in this case?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ryan Elder, Jul 8, 2016.

    My story is about a group of men who grew up lonely and isolated because of mental or physical conditions that they had which causes members of the opposite sex to never show interest in them and make them feel inadequate.

    Eventually it gets so bad for them to where they became really depressed, one snaps and drives the others to band together to terrorize society because of their problems and anger, turning them into serial rapist/killers.

    However, when you form a group like that, how many members could I get away with before it becomes having to suspend too much disbelief?

    The more that are in the group, that they advertise, the more society will be afraid of them, which is good cause it helps explore the theme I want to convey.

    Plotwise, the way I like the plot go requires there to be at least 4, since I need them to be in difference places, playing different roles in the story, that are required to each play simultaneously for the plot to work, the way I would like it too. Could there be more though?

    But when it comes to people like that getting together for such crimes, later on down their roads, how many villains is too not-believable for such a group as that?
     
  2. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you've got a problem such that "members of the opposite never show interest..." you've probably got a problem such that "members of the same sex...".

    What you've probably talking about is depression/anxiety on clinical level. Somebody like that has serious self-confidence and self-worth issues, and isn't going to "band together to wreak revenge".

    Teens and adults with social anxiety disorder may:

    • dread everyday activities, such as:
      • meeting strangers
      • talking in groups or starting conversations
      • speaking on the telephone
      • talking to authority figures
      • working
      • eating or drinking with company
      • shopping
    • have low self-esteem and feel insecure about their relationships
    • fear being criticised
    • avoid eye-to-eye contact
    • misuse drugs or alcohol to try to reduce their anxiety
    All of these will militate against having the confidence to even contact others in the same situation.
     
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  3. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I would think it would depend on how cohesive you want their actions to be. A small group will likely act with a single purpose, but a larger group may have one larger common purpose, but each man or faction would also have their own agenda. Huge groups would act like ISIS, small groups would act like street gangs, small groups would act like a group of bank robbers.
     
  4. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    I've known a few people like what the OP is describing -- angry, anti-social, antagonistic due to a sense of entitlement or blaming others for not having what they want in life. Of course there are men AND women of all walks of life who are like this, but this question was specifically related to sexist men.

    Typically, these people experience a lot of rejection and hurt to get to where they are. Misogynistic men, at least the ones I've seen, usually either have a dysfunctional mom who caused a lot of pain in their lives. Or, if that's not the case, they're raised in a way that leads them to have certain expectations about women, but then they get disillusioned when those needs aren't met (like the guys who think that if they're "nice" to someone then it makes them entitled to more). Being rejected constantly due to disabilities could totally cause this type of reaction over time, I think.

    In terms of how many is believable, I don't think it's about a specific number, but about how believable the brainwashing/dynamic is written. Study cult cases like the Jim Jones Koolaid incident, Westboro, etc.

    And also, don't make all the group characters exactly cardboard cookie-cutter copies of each other. Make them varied as people, and also show the brainwashing/manipulation of the group leader in a way that makes it believable that they could be influenced. Because group cult brainwashing, in real life, DOES happen.
     
  5. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    I was also going to bring up Jonestown, but decided against it. All of these incidents also had religion thrown into the mix, so it's what bound them together and gave them a single overall goal. The problem with religious ideals is that it's unlikely that there will be selfish ambitions within the group. They've accepted that their leader is a god compared to them, what are they going to do? Overthrow a god? In a wolf pack like the KKK, though, the toughest wolf is the leader. Unless a main villain stands up to lead them and brainwash them with some pressing social issue (like Manson did with his race-wars,) a cult of personality is unlikely to form. I'd say a study of the Klan more closely resembles what's being described here.
     
  6. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Since the OP's group is made up of people who are mentally broken/dysfunctional due to being rejected, what if their leader was someone who gave them acceptance and made them feel "good enough" for the first time ever? And it could turn into a religion based off of that somehow. I mean look at the people who join ISIS.
     
  7. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    @FireWater: agreed, without specifics, we have no basis to speculate on. It would depend on how they were raised most likely. I was envisioning more like the the Oregon militants who held up a national part or the Columbine shooters.
     
  8. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    That could work too, but a culty or religious element could work too. I mean if a group of angry rejects like this existed, how easy would it be for some sketchy preacher to lure them in with bits about "the true saved ones are the outcasts" or what have you?
     
  9. newjerseyrunner
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    newjerseyrunner Contributing Member

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    It would depend greatly on the psychology of the individual. It'd be easy if the group already had tendencies to look for someone to lead them. If they're mostly antisocial people, they'll be weary of such a man. Personally, I'd introduce some drugs and alcohol into the mix like Manson did. A combination of LSD and marijuana in high doses would create a fairly docile and very suggestible following.
     
  10. Parker101
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    Realistically I think between four and ten is the number you're looking for, although four might be too few to cause wide-scale chaos and fear, and anything above ten makes developing individual characters difficult in any great detail. It sounds like a really interesting concept anyhow, good luck writing it!
     
  11. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well I wrote it so that there is a leader who guides the rest and gets them all together, over time. The leader also has degrees in psychology, so he knows how to influence others in such ways, if that makes sense. I just need to find that magic number between too few and too many. I have at least the main four who fill the required roles in the plot to get from here to there, and the rest would be mainly back up to support the fear, and the violence.
     

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