1. zebra
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    zebra Active Member

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    this bad guy really is a good guy...

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by zebra, Jan 11, 2009.

    How can i make a highschool drop out, former drug dealer/druggie, cheater, and eventually family man sound like a good guy????
     
  2. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    Show the reader that he has compassion for others.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Show him as a person who tries very hard to make the right choices, but always manages to screw things up. Focus on the person, not the crimes and the victims. Maybe he quit school because one person too many told him he;d never amount to anything. If it were someone he respected, that sting would go deep. Unable to hold down a job, the only way he could think of to keep food in his belly and a roof over his head was to deal drugs. Maybe he's even funnelling some of that money to a sibling to save him or her from having to enter that same life.

    Don't turn it into making excuses, though. That will not garner sympathy. Make him hate all his bad choices, and be constantly struggling to get out from under.
     
  4. Ziku
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    Ziku Member

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    Having an epiphany works pretty well.....

    An epiphany is a realization of incredible truth (sometimes religious) in which changes a person’s life and gets them looking at life in a new or different way. It changes who they are and everything, turns them into someone better (usually).

    Big epiphanies can happen in a near death experience or seeing someone die. Or sometimes, more realistic and simple ones can be going to church or talking to your parents for the first time in years.
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to work with a guy who fit that profile. It was a former cocaine addict and high school dropout. And when you are an addict, you tend to do dumb things like lie and cheat (not just in the relationship sense), esoecially to get your next fix. But was very good man, very intelligent, and cared a lot about his son. One day when I had a very bad emotional breakdown, he showed me just the right amount of empathy and offered to buy me lunch.

    Technically he's still an addict, though, but just to caffeine. He drank Red Bull the way a lot of office workers drink coffee.
     
  6. Mello
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    Mello Member

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    I wouldn't call anyone a bad person for dropping out of high school or dealing drugs, that's just my perspective. As long as they had their reasons of course.
    But as for the cheating part...I assume you're talking about cheating with another lover, which is a bit harder to justify. Maybe his wife is infertile? Haha I don't know.
    Basically, I support what others have said, just let him relate to us in some way so we'll be more likely to have sympathy for him and accept his actions.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Cheating is more often a symptom that a relationship has gone to crap than a cause. My wife cheated on me, but that is not why we divorced. The cheating was easy to forgive - it came out of pain.

    For me, dealing drugs would be much harder to forgive. You could make money by breaking peoples' legs, or by contract killings, but who would be tempted to forgive that? Drug dealing is not that far removed from those acts - it ruins lives, and often ends them.

    The key to making the character sympathetic is to focus more on why the character felt he or she had no other way out at the time, and how much effort he or she continues to make to break out of it.
     
  8. Brio
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    Brio New Member

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    I'm an addict and when I was in the throws of my addiction I made a lot of decisions I would later regret to say the least. I remember one person at a NA meeting I attended saying "Addicts don't really use drugs, we use people". There is a grain of truth in that. This is mainly because when addicted you aren't able to make rational decisions.

    Interesting you should mention that. Since I've sobered up I find my coffee consumption has increased drastically.

    The morality of it also depends on the drug being dealt. For instance marijuana doesn't often ruin lives and in and of itself doesn't end them. Even with harder drugs (cocaine/opiates) I've had dealers that would check in on me and make sure I was ok. Not to mention that the "drugs" that kill the most (alcohol and tobacco) the government is the dealer; either by direct profiting (here in Ontario all beer and alcohol is sold in government run stores) or indirectly profiting through sin taxes.
     
  9. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Sorry, but I disagree with the assertion that dealing "lesser" drugs is not ruining lives as well. Nor does the harm done by alcohol and tobacco excuse the street dealer (or the Doctor Feelgoods either). This would fall under the "making excuses" category that will not get a lot of reader sympathy.

    However, this IS getting off topic.
     
  10. wonderxwhy
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    wonderxwhy Member

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    Give him a very solid reason for it. But don't make him say the reason right away, or he'd be making excuses. If he does blame himself, that might actually help a bit, as long as he's not completely self sacrificing. But if he started doing bad things for someone else, or if he just made one mistake he couldn't get out of, or he had a bad history, etc... You might feel some sympathy for the guy.
    If you paint him like he's trapped in his lifestyle, not happy with it, he might come off as good. Or if you really go deep into his decision making process and show some glimpses of morality in there.
    Thats just my advice :)
     
  11. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    If he were a writer, all these things would be perfectly acceptable.
     
  12. izzi
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    izzi New Member

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    I have a character of similar scenario! What happened with him though was...

    He dropped out of high school to do odd jobs to make money for the family.
    An acquaintance hooks him up with a delivery job that turns out to be for the mob.
    Working for the mob eventually got him dealing drugs. (better pay and all...)
    Then one pick up job involved an infant hostage, he risks his life for ends up raising the baby.​

    Basically, his circumstance never defined him and when it counted his true personality showed through his circumstance and position.

    I don't really know how to explain the way he developed. I don't really know myself, but I wish you luck.
     

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