1. casteas16
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    casteas16 Member

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    To Make A Demon Likeable..?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by casteas16, Nov 22, 2011.

    That's the idea.

    Hey, this is my first post asking for some kind of advice on here =]

    I've done a lot of planning and character creation on a story about demon's and angels, the major themes of the book being Good and Evil, and Find Purpose / Belonging. The protagonist is a demon.

    His name is Asper and he looks just like you or me (if a little paler skinned). I've added many things to his persona such as his fleeting feelings of being lost in the world, without a greater meaning (other than to cause suffering), his feelings of loneliness since losing a partner that he once travelled with. Demons are also created when a human being suffers an excruciating or tragic death - they awake with no memory of their prior lives as humans, and arise as nothing more than incarnations of misery. This ultimately means that my protagonist is, quite undeniably, evil. He has redeeming features like charisma, calmness, honesty (if mainly when it suits him) and moments of fear that he feels - making him human despite his undeniable propensity to cause misery is something I've been certain to uphold.

    I suppose my question is, can this be done, and if so, any suggestions?! =]

    Can something as solidly wicked as a demon that loves nothing more than to cause misery by means of manipulation be empathised with? Or more realistically, sympathised with? I mean, being what he is, Asper has no real control over his actions - he definetely feels no remorse having said that, but he is what he is.



    As a final note, I feel inclined to point out that the 'angels', although the opposite of demons cannot do any kind of evil to human beings, CAN do so to demons. To reveal this, I was planning a kind of 'battle-of-minds' between Asper and an angel whom he happens to encounter. Each attempts to sway the fate of a particular group of humans in an effort to outdo the other... The angel is victorious. However during the contest, he was even more deceitful than Asper, more selfishly motivated and more manipulative than Asper could've ever expected.

    I don't know what kind of a response this post will get - I may have rambled on! >.<

    Thanks anyway!!
     
  2. Bob Magness
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    Bob Magness Senior Member

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    Can a demon be likeable? Sure! Everyone can name a fictional bad guy that they love. I’m partial to the Joker from the Dark Night. But making the “bad guy” the protagonist is certainly a more difficult challenge. It is still doable and I am sure someone will come along with some examples.

    The use of humor always helps. But I also think a very important task will be in getting the reader to see the rationale behind what the demon is doing. Where is the rationale in causing suffering? Well, without suffering how could we appreciate pleasure? Without bad, how could you have good? I liken it to a defense attorney for a horrible murderer that we all know is guilty. In order for the system to work, somebody has to defend him.

    Perhaps for the “system” of life to work in your story, you have to have the supernatural evil doers as well as the angels. And perhaps the angels don’t always play fair. What are the ramifications for us mere mortals when that happens? Make it a “we hate them but we need them” sort of thing.
     
  3. casteas16
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    casteas16 Member

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    =]! This helps, thanks!
    I don't want to try TOO much to 'excuse' the protagonists behaviour, but maybe offering them ideas as to why my protag' behaves in the way that he does with some background at intervals would be nice idea - I mean so there's more of an 'excuse' if you like than simply stating 'he did it cause he's a demon'. Difficult to have people understand, sympathize and take genuine interest in the life of a demon.

    A goal, that may be too difficult for me to achieve yet (as I usually only do this as a hobby!) is to have the reader understand Asper to the point where his demonic intents and cruel tendencies become okay, maybe even funny at times (depending of course of their nature). The idea isn't to have a 'bad guy' protag', but to show that good and evil are a matter of perspective - even something as pure and good as an angel does not appear so to everything / everyone.

    And thanks for the response! =]
     
  4. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I like the idea and just from your description I sort of like the demon but of course I also hate everything the demon stands for. Maybe you could go with that line of thinking, like the demon not the actions.
     
  5. SilverWolf0101
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    SilverWolf0101 Active Member

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    Sympathy for the demon will gain him some "like" points. Make your readers sympathize with the demon for being who he is, but don't excuse what he does. A love-hate relationship is definitely something to go with sometimes. Readers love to hate certain characters, and it certainly tends to work out for them in the end.

    Try not to make the character too shallow, I myself hate shallow characters. By shallow, I do not mean personality wise, what I mean is the whole "I do this because I'm a demon." It's very two dimensional, and very shallow. When reading characters like that I feel like I'm back to being five years old watching cartoons were the bad guy is the bad guy just because he's evil.
    Make the demon have depth, make him someone we can relate to (even if he is a demon). You say he feels no remorse about what he does, okay that's fine, I've dealt with characters like that before, but what does he feel? What does he think about something? Try to make your demon feel human to us, so it's easier to relate to him.

    This probably will take a lot of practice, and a lot of writing, rewriting, and editting, but in the end it'll all be worth it. Why? Because you'll have the demon that everyone likes and can relate to, which will make the story all the better.

    Honestly, it's not the plot that makes me truly love a story, its the characters and how realistic they seem to me.
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    In my opinion to make a 'demon' likeable is to give it a different name first.
    we humans associate names with things and it is hard to shift an idea of say a 'demon' to something likeable because it is known to us someone not very nice/ories.
    with a new name you can then start to make it sounds like the 'demon' you know, but with slight exaggerations here and there to make it appeal to the reader.
    Think of the genie in the bottle for example, he is likeable because he gets to do things for his 'master' althouhg physically he is not anything attractive.
    names of characters and the wa they carry their titles are very important to the readers more then setting I am guessing.
    So find it a cheeky name and make it behave in a bewitching way, I am thinking of Bewitched and the Fairy GodMother here, and make it do mischievieous but nice things.
     
  7. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    I think this could be said twice.
     
  8. casteas16
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    casteas16 Member

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    Thanks all again for the replies =]!!

    Hmm, changing the name / label that I give to the protagonist might come in handy, yes.

    Making him as human as possible is definitely one of my goals, for him to, despite being a demon, have just as much character and as many inner-workings as you or me. He feels fear sometimes, becomes frustrated, feels lonliness and the pain of loss just as we would. This is one of the many ways in which I'm hoping to convert the reader onto his side, or at the very least have them empathise with his struggles.
    But yes, I'm prepared for many editing sessions and re-writes =]

    Thanks again for the pointers!
     
  9. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    I'm having a similar issue. The hero of my story is a demon with human origin. However, it's only revealed he's a demon in the later stages of the story (though hints are given beforehand), so the audience may (hopefully) grow to like him and then have a shock!

    I think any creature can be good provided you create circumstances that allow them to. For a demon, an entity originally thought as an embodiment of evil, to be good, there has to be a strong reason. The inverse is true: an angel can be evil. Lucifer was originally an angel, but eventually he became filled with greed and delusions of becoming more powerful than God himself. Yet, he was still an angel.
     
  10. Man in the Box
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    Man in the Box Active Member

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    Double post. Someone please delete it?
     
  11. casteas16
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    casteas16 Member

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    Nice way of looking at it Man in the B ^^ Circumstances being important.

    The way in which angels pass on their gifts is by a 'substitution'. This basically means that the human being becomes an angel, while the angel who created him or her 'moves on', dissipate. However, for a substitution to take place, there has to be a very strong connection between the human and the angel, often in the form of love or devotion.

    In my story the demon, Asper is competing with an angel for the affections of 'Rose'. He is hoping to gain her trusts so that he can then betray her and hurt her. The angel on the other hand is planning on substituting her so that he can be free to 'move on', leaving Rose broken hearted... In a way then, I Asper is saving Rose from the pain that the angel would cause her when he dissipated... The point is, the angel and the demon are just as bad as each other.
    The bottom line is that the angel overcomes Asper (with some rather unfair play) and he earns Rose's trust. He then substitutes her, turning her into an angel. He then disappears, leaving her heartbroken.
    I'm not fully decided on a climax, however I have some ideas. Perhaps now that Rose is an 'angel' Asper no longer feels the need to try and hurt her. He may seek instead to try and understand her, protect her from other demons that might want to hurt her.
    There will come a time also that Asper must face the angel 'Elijah' who's been hunting him for centuries. The audience will have plenty of reason to hate Elijah as all of Asper's companions over the years have fallen prey to him - this is what keeps Asper lonely. He must over come his fears and stand his ground at one point.

    Anyway, there just some slightly deeper plot-based things that might help ya'll to understand how I'm attempting to gain Asper some points with the audience! =]
     

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