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  1. Buster
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    Buster New Member

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    Overcoming a cliche in my protagonist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Buster, May 29, 2008.

    So, I am working on the background of my protagonist for a story I recently envisioned. So far he is a vigilante of sorts that searches for evil men across his world with the desire to kill them once he finds them. As I write his history, I ask myself, "why does he do this? why is he not normal?"

    The main theme of the story will be love and hatred, so the most obvious answer is because his true love was killed by an evil man once. But this seems oh so cliche to me, as we see this in almost every story where a man turns to vigilantism.

    So, can anyone offer up any ideas for an interesting twist on why this man does what he does?

    The story is still very wide open, so I can work with almost any idea you throw at me.
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Because he himself is psychotic, and in his twisted fantasy he is delivering justice?

    This is not so farfetched. There have been serial killers who targeted prostitutes, saw themselxes as doing God's work.

    Add to that the visceral thrill of hunting down a target dangerous enough to kill HIM if he slips up, and you have a fascinating character who is no hero, but could still almost be admired.

    Think of James Bond, but slightly further over the edge and no Secret Service to keep him in check.
     
  3. companionableills
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    companionableills Member

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    He used to be an immoral killer and has now reformed, and this is his way of handling the guilt?
     
  4. Buster
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    Buster New Member

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    Wow, that is a very interesting twist. But, I don't think it will work for this specific story I am writing. I am a sucker for your stereotypical good vs. evil story, so I want this one to be genuinely good. This will be more of a fantasy story than psychological thriller.
     
  5. TheFedoraPirate
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    TheFedoraPirate Contributing Member

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    Maybe he's a bit of an misanthropist who's never really loved anybody despite having known plenty of good people; recognizing this type of worldview as being a little messed up but still wanting he could be a "good person" himself he decides to take vigilantism so he can "do the right thing" but still lay the smack down on a large part of humanity.

    er, something like that...probably has it's own cliches and might need some tweaking to fit your theme better.

    EDIT: nevermind, the other posts showed up while I was typing...hm, I dunno about writing purely good protagonists.
     
  6. Buster
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    Buster New Member

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    Hmm, that could prove to be a very interesting secret to introduce later in the story, and adds another theme into the story: Can a bad man ever really redeem himself? I like it.
     
  7. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    Because his brother/father/Uncle (whatever) was an evil man, and he could have stopped the evil, but didn't because he was too concerned with himself, now they are gone it is the only way he feels he can attone for his inaction?

    Al
     
  8. Buster
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    Buster New Member

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    Ah yes, I like where this is going. A story of a man who seeks redemption.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think you'd have a tough time making a "good" vigilante who kills his targets...
     
  10. Buster
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    Buster New Member

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    Well, I suppose "good" is a relative term. Perhaps another idea for the story to tackle.
     
  11. Al B
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    Al B Senior Member

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    Good is, of course, in the eye of the beholder. But what you could do if you want him to remain good in the sense of 'never doing any wrong', is have him use the evil people's evil against themselves, so they are effectively 'hoist by their own petard'. Thus he would remain righteous but still a vigilante.

    An example would be to rig an assassin's gun so that the chamber explodes when he fires it at a target, he would fail to kill the target, and his evil intention would result in his death.

    Al
     

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