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  1. lazyrussian
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    lazyrussian New Member

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    Questing about writing from the perspective of a malevolent character

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by lazyrussian, Jun 12, 2008.

    Hiya,

    I was wondering if anyone has ever written, or has read any pieces of literature where the main character is malevolent, from the societal perspective. I'd like to write a sort of sci-fi/D&D story with a character who is what some RPG enthusiasts would call neutral evil:

    I should state that I am NOT a writer, but I do enjoy writing, or at least brainstorming plots. I'm a physicists by occupation (graduate student and researcher), and I have taken one creative writing class in my life - just to let the creative juices flow. I've been wanting to write ever since that class had ended, but haven't been able to jot down a decent plot until now. The problem I have is that I'd like to base my protagonist on a malicious, somewhat anarchical character, but I don't really know how to start. I'd like to read a story or two (novella or short story) about someone who has already done.

    I appreciate any and all help!
     
  2. InkDancer
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    InkDancer Senior Member

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    Try reading Piers Anthony's Bio of a Space Tyrant series.
     
  3. HeinleinFan
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    HeinleinFan Banned

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    If you aren't familiar with A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin, that might be worth checking out. It's a series so I recommend just picking a few chapters and reading them - not so hard since the main character for each chapter is listed on the first page of each chapter.

    Read a few chapters from Cersei's and Jaime's point of view. Jaime admittedly is considered villainous but isn't; Cersei is just plain evil.

    The Invisible Ring, by Anne Bishop, and the Black Jewels Trilogy by the same author, also have main characters who are evil.

    Unfortunately, for some reason I'm having a hard time coming up with other good ones. Hmm... No, I think that's it.

    As a kinda-sorta-experienced writer, I'd recommend that you decide three things: first, what traits and experiences are making your main character evil; second, whether your character is actually evil as a result or is simply unpopular with the population; third, what the character's limits are in terms of what he'll do. (Someone may be fine with killing members of the government, setting off bomb scares, and causing mayhem, but would be horrified at the idea of raping and murdering a child. Or someone may be trying to cause enough discord among different factions in the country that the rule of law breaks down and the military has to be called in, but this same person might draw the line at personally injuring someone.)

    Above all, try to make the character reasonable (at least from his point of view) and consistent between his thoughts and his actions. If you can make him reasonable from the outsider's point of view - where his thought process is logical but his basic assumptions are different from our own - then he's even scarier.

    Good luck with the RPG. I have a D&D campaign set up in which the main antagonist is a smart, charismatic man who is also undeniably evil. He's seen that throughout history, one group or another will expand into another group's territory and cause temporary problems, but in the end a new town will be set up and the first group will profit by the other group's forced withdrawal. So when his country's leaders started pushing for humans and dwarves to re-settle the land the goblins drove them away from, he volunteered - and since, from his point of view, humans and dwarves are more civilized and less barbaric than the goblins and their ilk, LOGICALLY it is right and just for the humans to settle there and for him and others to drive the goblins out.

    He's become bitter because he wants to study and the local paladin forbade him from meeting with some of the magic experts he wanted to (such as evil clerics and necromancers.) He'll become more bitter when the gov't twists his arm to make him help out in the war but won't let him use quick-and-dirty tactics because it's not "humane". When they decide to imprison his cohort (a warg, although he's of True Neutral alignment) for "safety reasons," he says "screw you all, I'm leaving" and leaves. This is incidentally desertion - and now he'll be killed for it, or imprisoned and his cohort will be killed.

    Which means that obviously this particular country is NOT civilized; it has turned into a tyrannical state (from the character's point of view) and the only answer, then, is to keep away both the goblins and the humans. The goblins aren't really a danger, though - most of them already left - but the townspeople are, if only because they might aid soldiers who come to capture him. So the only real solution is to destroy the town and drive away its inhabitants.

    To tell the truth, I'm still not sure whether my D&D party will fight for or against this guy. He'd be willing to hire them, but his methods aren't pleasant and he's trying to bring down the town he helped found solely to avert a possible future attack. Either way, he's a fun character to betray because he's very normal except in a few respects, and he's mostly acting out of self-preservation (albeit taken to an extreme).
     
  4. Undefined
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    I love Neutral Evil characters, well, playing them that is. My last character was for the Forgotten Realms setting and he was a drow that found himself exiled above ground. Considering most of the group I was RPing with loved R.A.Salvatore I decided to go the opposite. The guy was in a world he considered hostile and knew that the only way to survive was to make himself useful but that did not mean looking out for himself. He was just as likely watch a fight then to join in.

    There are two ways that I can see going from that perspective. The first is simply looking at your own moral compass and taking the opposite of what it says most of the times, which can lead to some interesting things. More realistically what I would recommend is to start with a normal character and figure out how they got to be neutral evil. Were they born that way? Was there something in their past that went wrong? Did they have someone there to teach them right from wrong?

    Other than that all I can say is write it. You will learn a lot more from giving it a go than just thinking about it.
     
  5. lazyrussian
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    lazyrussian New Member

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    Wowie, thank you everyone for the responses! First, let me say that i've never played D&D, but I am/was a huge fan of MMORPGs, like Everquest and Guild Wars. I used the D&D alignments for character inspiration - I was quite surprised that my favorite type of hero happens to be evil :)

    To reply to your comments: The moral compass won't be too hard to follow, nor will it be the center of the story. I'm going to try to have the reader insinuate that this guy is somewhat bat-s**t insane, and just go with it. I've written a short story in the past with a neutral evil (insane) vigilante priest - I received a lot of positive feedback on it, because it was a unique twist to the audience.

    Anyway, thank you very much for the comments/ideas and the read list. I truly appreciate it.

    I'll be using CeltX to jot this story down - does anyone have anything negative/positive to say about that piece of software?
     

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