1. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Is this a good idea?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by TheDarkWriter, Jul 28, 2012.

    Okay I'm thinking about writing a story where a guy is trying to start his life over or is on a mission of redemption. One idea is where he doesn't remember his past another is where he does and is trying to be a better person. Anyway I'm thinking about having him be a character that doesn't openly show remorse and doesn't apologize because the way he see's it he did what he did and even though he regrets it he sees no point in apologizing because it wont change anything and apologizing and asking for forgiveness would be an insult to his victims. He's essentially a rapist and a murderer. So is this a good idea also is better that he remembers or gets his memory back? I think it's better for him to remember because I feel the amnesia thing might be perceived as a cop out.
     
  2. Scott Berman
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    Scott Berman Member

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    I think it could be an interesting character. The question is, can you make a character like this relatable enough that a reader would care about him enough to keep reading his story. I would go with him remembering it but maybe not reveal all his crimes right away?
     
  3. Egor
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    Egor Member

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    The amnesia thing, given the theme you describe, was done in a book called "Falling Angel," by William Hjortsberg. You might remember the movie adaptation, "Angel Heart" starring Mickey Rourke and Robert De niro. Very good movie.

    I think you have a good idea about using a main character who is a rapist and murderer, but what is going to happen to him? Is he going to reform? Is he going to give into his nature? In the movie, American Psycho, Patrick Bateman wanted to change, believed there was something wrong with him, but faced with everyone's indifference finally just gave into his nature in the end. In the movie, "Mr. Brooks," with Kevin Costner, he was a serial killer who wanted to change but couldn't and ended up with a daughter that he loved, but who became just like him.

    So, what is going to happen to your main character?
     
  4. ThievingSix
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    ThievingSix Member

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    Personally I'd avoid amnesia stories, their far too cliché. I'm not entirely sure how you would justify a rapist/murderer not feeling remorse yet wanting to change his life. I think the two ideas are rather contradictory. Why does he want to change if he does not feel remorseful, what does he want to change?. How exactly are you going to maintain this idea throughout the plot?

    I think its better if you mould your character so they are malleable rather than strictly one way or the other. Just because he doesn't feel remorse, should not mean this is always the case, or perhaps he just gives the impression of being unremorseful but truthfully the past is eating away at him from the inside. Perhaps physical/mental deterioration is the reason, maby he has a child. Why was he killing in the first place?
     
  5. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    First, I would think that it'd be very difficult to make a rapist the kind of character that anyone would care about, so I'd avoid that type of story myself. Second, what is the POV? First person, so that you are in his mind every minute of every day would probably be very, very dark.

    In the end, I think the idea is neither good nor bad, it depends on the story built up around it, but I would suggest that there are some big emotional hurtles that you would have to overcome with the reader with the kind of character you describe.
     
  6. A.L.Mitchell
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    A.L.Mitchell Active Member

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    I think it's all depends on how you write him, as us readers needs in some way to feel for him, to get to know him and at the end, want him to get redemption. The idea may seemed to be good, but again, its how you write him and which POV you have it in.
     
  7. bsbvermont
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    bsbvermont Active Member

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    Agreed with A.L. Mitchell. It REALLY depends on where he goes with his redemption. I know, I need to find good qualities in a person in order to "like him" and in order to keep reading. It's OK that he had a past, it's OK that he doesn't ask for forgiveness, but for me, he needs to understand remorse or it will just seem like he's "getting away with it" (you didn't mention if he was an ex-con or not). In the end, he may go back to his evil way, but you would have lost me by chapter three if he didn't own some remorse even though he doesn't feel a need to act on it. Just one point of view.
     
  8. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    A story concept means nothing. What matters is how you write it: the characterization, the flow, the imagery, all of it.

    There's absolutely no benefit in asking what other people think of the concept! They'll either say,"Sounds great," or, "it sounds like a ripoff of..."

    If the idea stirs you, write it. Then ask people what they think of the final story. After they tell you what they don't like about it, revise it, usually several times, until you're happy with it or until you throw up your hands and say the hell with it.
     
  9. TheDarkWriter
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    TheDarkWriter Active Member

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    Thanks that's actually a big help.
     
  10. Quinn T. Senchel
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    Quinn T. Senchel Member

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    What Cogito said. It depends entirely on how well you write it.
    He could be so disgusted with himself that he can't bring himself to apologize.
    He could remember that he has done something, and he could remember passing moments.
     
  11. E. C. Scrubb
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    E. C. Scrubb Active Member

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    In general, I agree with you, but wouldn't you think that a story concept started out this way, begins with some major hurdles as well - hurdles that make it harder to write than many other concepts? How do you make a MC that's a rapist likable - or at least make your reader care enough about him/her that the reader continues with the story?

    Or - and this thought just hit me, have you come across or do you know of any books that flip that on its head? That the main character is so hated, people have to read it in order to make sure he "gets his/hers?"
     
  12. nhope
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    nhope Contributing Member Reviewer

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    I think you should start out with him not realizing that he doesn't remember. He goes to places he thinks he's been but turns out he's never been there. He slowly realizes he doesn't remember. He wonders whether he has a wife, kids, where does his mother live, does he have a brother? Suck the reader into his pain and frustration then have him walk by a New Age shop where they are burning "Vampire Blood" incense (real stuff, smells amazing) and he has a flashback to some place, some person, that started him down the dark road. Have him be that murderous person but write it so the reader is denying the very thing he is revealing. A complete roller coaster ride when in the end the character is so real, so genuine and how he got from a - z is so common, the reader can't help but feel for him.

    Ever read "In Cold Blood" by Truman Capote? That will give you something to think about.
     

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