1. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    How would readers react if my MC did this?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Link the Writer, May 30, 2011.

    In Heridon Copper's first mystery, he investigates the the murder of a track team member (who was a friend of one of his friends) and the disapperance of her roommate.

    Soon, he confronts a man by the name of Willy Steiner who has been seen near the track, observing the runners. He's clearly mentally ill when he says he likes their skin for they are "so white and pure like a dove" and compares the murdered track team member as a "phoenix with broken wings". If it helps, he's old enough to be the father of the younger ones and he is not registered as a worker in the university. Heridon later learns that Willy is a registered sex offender with a history of sexual abuse to minors. If it also helps, Heridon hates this guy and thinks he should've been locked up long ago.

    Later, Heridon meets Willy once again. This time, however, Willy is dying of a gunshot wound he credits to "That <expletive> who worked for the phoenix's roommate..."

    I plan for Heridon to try and help Willy to a hospital, but I wonder: How would readers react to Heridon helping a sicko who may well have done the crime himself?

    I justify it as "Well, Heridon's a decent guy and he's seeing a man who's bleeding to death. Heridon is not gonna just leave him, even if the guy is a sicko."

    Thoughts?
     
  2. dizzyspell
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    dizzyspell Active Member

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    Personally, I would be screaming "Leave the bastard to die!" But I asked the friend right next to me, and he said that it would show strength of character in your MC, and portray him as a good guy.

    If it's what Heridon would do, let him to it, I say.

    Just a suggestion - you could make him consider whether he would get more out of this guy alive or dead. He could have just come into information that Willy may know something about the murder. Then if it turns out that that was a red herring, you could have Heridon kind of kicking himself for letting the guy live. Just something that popped into my mind.

    On a side note, I think your story sounds very intriguing. :) I kind of want to know if Willy did do it, now.
     
  3. AltonReed
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    AltonReed Active Member

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    I love it, try to let him live, brilliant.
     
  4. Malc-Downing
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    Malc-Downing Member

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    I would get him to the hospital, but also call the police about him hanging out near the school.. Maybe they could do something.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The best reason to cover for this would be to give Heridon an extremely strong sense of justice and loyalty to the judicial system.

    I mean, before anyone goes into prison (when wounded, et cetera) they spend time in hospital anyway, so Heridon's probably not going to screw with that system.

    I agree with dizzyspell's friend, too. It would show strength of character, even if I hated Willy for being a rapist.
     
  6. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    Readers will react just fine if it is consistent for the character (or a logical development in the character). If that's the type of person he is, then I would be just fine with him helping. If he's the type of person to kick the wounded man in the teeth, I'm fine with that too. Depends on the expectations you've created.
     
  7. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    As a reader I'd much rather see him help someone than just leave them to die. There is no way to justify letting someone die, criminal or not. If he did just walk away then I'd expect to see Heridon regretting his decision later.
     
  8. Kio
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    Kio Contributing Member

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    As a self-justified, judgmental, and shallow quack, I would have shot the dude in the balls before half-heartedly helping him. But that's because I cannot stand rapists.

    Heridon sounds like a good man, though. If you let your feelings cloud your judgment, then you're bound to make rookie mistakes. HERIDON COPPER IS NO ROOKIE. So he gets points in my book for being able to swallow his feelings for the sake of the law. And though I'm no law enthusiast (not an anarchist either) I'd say that's a pretty wise choice.
     
  9. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    I'd have probably shot the rapist too, but I agree with Steerpike that it depends on the expectations you've created through Heridon's development. Ask yourself "What would Heridon do," not "What would a noble and just character do."
     
  10. darkhaloangel
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    darkhaloangel Active Member

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    I justify it as "Well, Heridon's a decent guy and he's seeing a man who's bleeding to death. Heridon is not gonna just leave him, even if the guy is a sicko."

    Yeah I'd agree with that, at the end of the day when you see a human dying you are almost instinctively programmed to help.

    So if he helps it shows he's a compassionate human being, with the ability to not be so blinded by hatred (even if the guy is a peado).

    On the other hand, if he leaves him to die, that could be a really interesting move for your character. It seems like the kind of move that would shock the audience. Sort of like when Dr Who does something a little bit nasty and the audience rears back. All along you knew he was capable of it, but seeing him act as the audience imagines itself, might be hard to watch (or read). After all everything seems alright in the world as long as the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad. Maybe you want to paint shades of grey.
     
  11. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    I agree with the responses, the sentiments that say "Just think about what Heridon himself would do, not what you would expect out of him."

    Heridon would likely help Willy out, but I know that some of his close friends, the other protagonists who work alongside Heridon, would have second guesses, even just walk away after they know who this man is. (*cough* Holly Morrison *cough*)

    I think I want to have Heridon try and save this guy, so that if the guy's released (because the police doesn't have enough evidence to jail him for good) and starts committing crimes, Heridon would really begin regretting that little heroic deed.
     
  12. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I like this idea. Personally I'd be screaming for him not to help him, but if he's truly a good guy I think it'd be in character and the thing to do. :)
     
  13. Krall
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    Krall New Member

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    Personally I'd agree with Heridon's decision to help him, and if it was in Heridon's character to do so then I don't see how anyone could dislike your writing because you stayed true to his character.
     
  14. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it gives him credit as a human being. Someone who leaves another person to die has to either be one cold-hearted bastard or someone who thinks himself a representative of cosmic justice, and I'd instantly dislike him in either case.

    It doesn't matter what the person had done in his past -- you mention he was registered, so he would have done time for his crimes. Regardless, someone who takes it on themselves to serve out punishments as they see fit is arrogant and self-rigtheous, and not really any better than the dying person.
     
  15. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Excellent! Writing scene now.

    Question: Would Willy be fit enough to have a conversation with Heridon in the car ride or would he be too injured to speak?
     
  16. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Maybe he'd be able to say a few words with effort. It would hurt to speak but he'd get out enough to explain what happened or anything else necessary for the scene.
     
  17. Momo
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    Momo Member

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    If he chose to help the "sicko", then the car ride scene would be the perfect place for him to express his feelings. The other man is wounded, obviously can't cause harm and is in a position where he has to listen (assuming he hasn't lost consciousness). So, if your MC was as torn as you were on whether or not he should help this man, then he could express these feelings during the ride to the hospital. I know that sometimes it's too forward and easy to have a character verbally express themselves when actions speak louder than words, but it would really give the reader the chance to see that your MC DID consider the alternative and does feel strongly about both sides.

    :)
     
  18. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    I would want to see an internal struggle and conflict as the MC decides if he actually should save a depraved individual.

    It seems like a point in your story where Heridan faces a Moral Dilema.
     
  19. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    That depends on many things, like how badly injured he is and where the bullet(s) hit. If he was shot a while ago and dying of blood loss, he would probably not be able to talk much. But if he was shot recently in a not-quite vital area, he can still be in danger, but more fit to talk. He might even get an adrenaline rush from being shot to keep him active long enough for Heridon to have a conversation with him. It's up to you, really. If you want Willy to talk, Willy will talk. :)

    As for the initial question if Heridan should help Willy in the first place, I will go with the innocent until proven guilty-card. We know Willy is a sex-offender with a history, and we know he has a creepy interest in the girls. But do we know he's the killer? Do we know he has done anything to them? If the answer to either of them is yes, Heridan should bring him to the hospital and call the cops. But if the answer to both of them is no, I would have brought Willy to the hospital and let the doctors treat him like any other person. Just because you did a series of crimes five years ago, it doesn't mean you are a criminal now, no matter what the crime was.
     
  20. Rustgold
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    Rustgold New Member

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    The main character's past or home environment may have a influence. If the character thinks about someone who was molested, or if the character has the daughter (or ever a niece); then he might credibly leave somebody to die. After all, mightn't you possibly consider a character that puts his daughter in danger by saving a potential threat as being cold & heartless?

    There's so many questions, including what type of investigator is he; that you can't answer with limited information.
     
  21. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Two things... First of all, what Steerpike said is dead on-target correct. It doesn't matter what reaction you give your characters, the reader will accept it if that is consistent with the character. PERIOD.


    Second, unless you are wanting writing partners/co-authors for your book, don't try to write by committee. You can get suggestions from people here as to how to play out a scene but if you have a dozen suggestions from a dozen different people, each one will be skewed to that particular person's mentality and their own background of experiences and their own individual writing styles and preferences. In each case, it would likely not be in keeping with YOUR writing style or your concept for this work. No one here really knows your characters the way you do and no one knows precisely how your characters' moral ethics would move them to do something. Neither can we begin to guess what you would have a charcter do in a certain circumstance ("Would Willy be able to talk on the way to the hospital?") We don't know what your story needs to move it along! We don't know what you are trying to achieve in your story! We don't know how you intend for your story to play out! In other words, we are not the authors of your characters' fates. And, if you don't know these things, you might need to take a step or two back from your work and figure it out before you go much further.
     
  22. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    Depends - What's Heridon's profession?

    A private investigator may very well leave him to rot - you don't get far in the PI business by being a nice guy, and he wouldn't stand to gain anything from it.
    An actual detective - with the badge and everything - would be duty bound to prevent an unlawful death and investigate
     
  23. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Well...he's just a college student. I guess you can still call him a PI even though he has no ties with the law (besides wanting to see justice done.)
     
  24. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    My two cents...

    Even cops and correctional officers guarding convicted felons who are already proven guilty, are required to get medical attention for wounded or injured criminals. It is not their place to pass judgment and let people die, such responsibilities are served for the courts.

    Doing the right thing for a morally sound citizen, even for a pervert who may have committed a crime, means doing the right thing...as in watching a man die because you think he may have done the crime, and thing finding out someone else did the crime later on, can present moral dilemma issues for the character. This might be good if you want your plot to go that direction.

    Technically, if your pervert character is already a registered sex offender, then he has already been arrested, charged, tried, convicted and sentenced for his crimes, otherwise his name would not be in the registry. If he's already served whatever his sentence was, morally, it is wrong to punish a man twice for the same offense...not that it stops many people in the real world.
     
  25. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I feel like we owe you a couple more cents for all that sense!
     

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