1. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.

    Is it bad to have a character that is both extremely violent, and compassionate?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Cave Troll, Aug 13, 2015.

    Been mulling over one of my characters as a Sci-Fi high ranking soldier, that is basically built from conflict. He is somewhat conflicted in his course of action with the overall campaign he is waging. On the one hand he does go into battles fueled by the rage he has for the overall faction in opposition. Mercilessly and systematically killing off the enemy soldiers, sometimes in very nasty ways. The flip side that contrasts the openly contemptuous nature of him. He does stop on occasion to show a form of compassion to the dying. Though it is brief, he shares little moments with them as they are enemies in ideologies. For instance after going on a rampage in an enemy installation, and setting with a dying soldier and seeing the grief in their eyes as they lay dying. Or offering silent reverence to another dying combatant while putting them out of their misery. He knows that the enemy military is not his real enemy, but more of an obstacle to get around to get to those he has set his sights on. So I was wondering if this inner conflict he has as he continues his campaign acceptable despite his highly aggressive nature? Or am I just over analyzing the notion?
     
  2. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,085
    Likes Received:
    671
    It is funny. Because I think you are over thinking it and not over thinking it at the same time.

    Conficting character aspects. Well sure why not. The issue is explaining it. You can't just say the character likes my little pony and death metal. It will seem hard to imagine that way. But there also isn't just one solution. With that example. You could say the character liked it as a kid and still likes it with nostagia vision in spite of there taste changing. I could accept that. You could go the other way and say the character never liked it before but is bored with there taste and for whatever reason they can't explain are fasinated with the sheer contrast. I could believe that too. Course the writing needs to reflect these positions or it won't hold up.

    Take for example my avatar. Which is one of my characters. She is extremely voilent and compasionate or I think she is. Her explantion is this. She gained great strength without cause. She hurting bad people is her cause. When hurting bad people she is extremely voilent and without compasion or mercy. Yet she hurts bad people in the hopes of protecting weaker people. So in the prescense of weaker people she very compasionate and will take damage to protect them. One point in my story she blocks a sword with her bare forearm taking a painful and deep cut. She does this to protect someone. That to me feels very compasionate.

    So yes you can have both but you have to explain it and the writing has to reflect that explanation. Make sense?
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  3. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    It does make sense. That is the overall goal in the long run. Defeat the bad guys, free the people angle (cliché). A central theme to it is that he is a turncoat, after being presented with evidence that goes against his morals and ethics. Not to mention that his superiors blatant law breaking schemes to advance a horrific agenda of their own. Though I suppose your right. In two instances so far in their slow build up to the larger conflict, they have risked life and limb to save refugees that had been split up between to enemy bases in the solar system. Along with going after one of their own that gets captured (and worse) on the second installation. Even doing the best of his ability to patch up a wounded comrade so they will live long enough to get the lifesaving treatment they need to get back into the fight. If that counts as compassion in some small way.
     
    Simpson17866 and GuardianWynn like this.
  4. Commandante Lemming
    Offline

    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 8, 2014
    Messages:
    1,241
    Likes Received:
    1,000
    This sounds fine to me. Anyone in a military situation probably knows that at some level their job is to kill the enemy, and get the adrenaline necessary to do that. A lot of spy/action plots involve government agents going "over the line" in terms of torturing people to get information they know will save lives.

    Even if you want to take it a step further, you have plenty of examples of characters who have an attraction to violence, even to the level of sociopathy, but still ultimately stay on the "good side" of the plot by only taking out those impulses on bad people. I don't think you're quite going to that extreme, but it's certainly been done.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  5. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,564
    Likes Received:
    3,561
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    I hope it's ok 'cause I've been doing something similar. :D E.g. my MC pockets the teeth he knocked out by stomping on an enemy's face in case the guy wants them back. I'm not sure if it's exactly the same, but he does show compassion even when he sometimes kills to protect the public and, actually, goes even further than that when things start to spiral out of control.

    What you've got sounds like quite the classic anti-hero set-up in any case, so I don't think it's a bad thing.
     
    Simpson17866 likes this.
  6. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    He doesn't have any problem with the killing. Have another character that is devolving away from a sadistic nature that was for lack of better explanation imposed. Being on neutral ground and serving many factions with her adept interrogation skills. Even alluding to getting sexual satisfaction through such evil and meticulous means. Though she is growing away from where she started, working to have a much more meaningful life in the long term. I was not really sure pushing this particular character to keep on being sadistic was a good idea. As I think I would in turn have readers shy away from the graphic depictions of torture for pleasure and entertainment (at least in my opinion). Maybe if later on if this story pans out, I might dive into their pasts as individual players before their collision into each other. That is if there is enough of a call for a history on each of the characters backgrounds. Though I know what you mean as there are lots of material to draw from. Thanks. :p
     
  7. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Interesting 'trophies' your MC collects. Mine collects dog tags of both enemy and friendly officers that fall in combat, or by his hand. Another has an extensive collection of skins with tattoos that they use as art, from victims that were sentenced to death beside just being interrogated. Question: Why their teeth? Sorry just being curious. :p
     
  8. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,564
    Likes Received:
    3,561
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    He doesn't collect trophies, but in that situation he figured he'd collect them and give them to a medic so they can later give them back to the guy whose front teeth my character stomped on. It's almost like an act of compassion. Sick one, but then again, the guy who lost his front teeth was fucked up too for having gotten entangled in the altercation that cost them to him, in addition to his freedom.

    I'd imagine plenty of writers are fascinated by the darkness in their good guys, or the light in their bad guys. I also as a reader prefer a less obvious distinction between who's "good" and who's "bad". One of my favorite trashy action novelists has one character in a couple of his books who does quite a lot of bad things, but when he's contrasted with another, even worse character, he comes off almost heroic, and when he started developing feelings for a woman, there was a surprising vulnerability to that character as well, which I liked. Maybe 'cause stuff like that makes things all the more conflicted, and it's conflict, really, that constantly drives the story you're writing (or reading).
     
  9. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Interesting. Sounds more like he as a twisted sense of humor, as he gives them back to the one who lost them in the fight. Makes me wonder how many he tangles with on more than one occasion. I will admit that I really have not come across anything with an anti-hero except for the Hunt For the Icarus by Timothy Zhan. Seems strange as I have read plenty of Sci-fi with war as the theme. Must be reading the wrong books. Does Bios Of a Space Tyrant Volume 1 by Piers Anthony count, or Damnation Alley. Maybe they do have an anti-hero element to them. Been a long time since reading any of those. Sorry to ramble on about that, I see your point. Thanks.

    How does ramming the barrel of an assault rifle into the eye of a mangled combatant, to muffle the shot due to the stealth factor involved. All the other can do is rasp in agony as it happens. Could find a much uglier death from my story, but that would not be much fun and kind of defeat the whole action aspect overall. Just kind of alluding to just how callous he can be even to a nonthreatening injured combatant. Civilians are off limits for him, as they are who he is technically fighting for. Though he has no problem with raw displays of intimidation as a means to persuade a civilian to cooperate. Plenty of blood, guts, and mutilation in the wake of his campaign, even some deception and underhanded tactics to eliminate targets.
     
  10. KaTrian
    Offline

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Messages:
    5,564
    Likes Received:
    3,561
    Location:
    The Great Swamp
    Would a skull significantly muffle the sound? Or is it just an excuse? Through that kind of decisions, you can show your character's personality and development without spelling them out to the reader.

    Your story sounds interesting. Very much the kind of stuff I like to read. :p
     
  11. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    I think a skull coupled with brain tissue would in theory reduce the sound of a gunshot. More of just being an asshole towards the one taking both barrel and bullet. Trying to make him a character that the reader can love for his odd sense of humor and devil may care side. As well as hate him for the heartless way he treats his enemies.

    It is centered around three different MCs. The way I have it set up is a first POV perspective encompassing the three. Abandoning the norms, and simply telling it in linear fashion gapping between each character. Bit a challenge to write, and probably to read if the reader cannot discern between them through their speech patterns.

    Yours sounds interesting as well, and would not mind reading it.
     
  12. Link the Writer
    Offline

    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2009
    Messages:
    11,205
    Likes Received:
    4,217
    Location:
    Alabama, USA
    My first thoughts were Joel from The Last of Us and John Marston from Red Dead Redemption. If someone threatened the people they cared about, they did everything, even up to torturing the minions they caught to further the goal of protecting said person.

    Basically, they were anti-heroes. The sort who you would not want to invite to your house for a beer and a laugh, the sort you'd never let your children near, yet at the same time, the sort that you'd know would literally raze, burn, beat up, shoot, smash, demolish, and otherwise obliterate everything standing in their way to help you. Because you mean something to them, whether they admit it or not. You mean something so much that they're willing to burn down the world just to ensure you are safe.

    So no, it's not bad. It's very doable, and a lot of people seem to like reading that type. Have fun! :D
     
  13. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,764
    Likes Received:
    2,396
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    Ah, the Last of Us is so sad though. :( But I know what you mean. Though my MC is the kind of guy that invites himself to drink with you if your alone, while still being all that you described. Though there is a secondary character he would and has gone to hell and back for, and she is a freaking badass. Better quit while ahead otherwise you all will know so much that it won't be worth reading. Thanks, and have fun as well. :p
     

Share This Page