1. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writing a loveable Facist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by zoupskim, Jan 18, 2016.

    "Fascism: Noun. An authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization. Characterized by extreme nationalism, authoritarianism, xenophobia, and isolationism."

    In my story we see a war from two primary points of view: A fascist military leader, and an oppressed 'undesirable' forced to fight for them. The story ends on a bitter note, with the full weight of the crimes committed laid on the heads of both these characters. Fascist gets called to answer for his crimes, while 'undesirable' is forced to live with simply getting away with it all. They were 'forced' to do it.

    But on the way there, the fascist laughs. He jokes with friends. He cares for his soldiers, and protects the lives of civilians caught in the middle. The enemy kills those he loves. He experiences real sadness. He dislikes having to carry out the more gruesome logical extremes of his beliefs. He is a murderer, but he experiences character growth. He is a villain, but he is not a hollow person.

    What would you do if you were writing a character like this? It's easy for me to see the humanity in anyone, but I don't want to come off as having a secret adoration for radical ideologies or mass murderers. I just wonder what people would think of this character. The moment he says something like "We have to protect the people, whether they want it or not." am I going to loose half of my audience?

    Maybe I should just write a book about a magical lizard/girl who discovers she is the chosen one.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
  2. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think complex characters are pretty popular - I wouldn't worry about losing your audience, as long as you do it well.

    If your guy truly believes he's doing what's best, even though it's ugly, you can show that. Show readers why he believes what he believes, why he does what he does. Then trust them to understand.
     
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  3. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Study up a little on narcissism. Narcissists are power hungry. They're the ones we see in all these ghastly leadership positions. They also tend to be extremely charming when you first meet them. They make you feel special. Writing a loveable narcissist isn't very hard if you show how others love the narcissist. When the person walks by, people fall in love. All he has to do is wink. He is quite warm and humorous, and is a master of getting approval from others. In the longer term, others start to note how exploitative and selfish this person is. But at first, the narcissist is nothing but loveable.

    Edit to add: It can't hurt to throw in a little bit of traumatic childhood history, which sometimes creates the "narcissistic wounding" that establishes this kind of personality. People sympathize with those who have lived hard lives. Think about this person's obsession with control and power as perhaps stemming from having had power and control stolen from them as a child. It's actually very realistic, although it never excuses shitty behaviors or impossible to get along with personalities.
     
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  4. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    If you show the motivation every step of the way, and bring it to a human/universal level, you can get a reader to love anyone.
     
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  5. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Screw the lizard girl, this is the kind of story I live for! I love reading characters like him!

    Don't worry, I'm sure most people aren't going to assume you're secretly a Nazi-lover/Facist-lover. Those that do? Screw 'em and their lack of distinguishing fiction from reality. :) As Bayview said, show why he believes what he's fighting for, why he thinks he's on the right side.
     
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  6. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    While acknowledging that everyone does not fit into generalities, I would be hesitant to hint at a cause of childhood trauma. In my experience, those who suffer from complex-PTSD due to chronic childhood abuse and/or neglect do not commonly develop a narcissistic personality. It's much more common to see self-denigration, compulsive risk taking/self-destructive behavior/drug or alcohol abuse in their attempt to self-regulate their emotional states, and idealization of people they are able to develop relationships with (contributing to their high rates of re-victimization).
     
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  7. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may be right. In fact this seems to support what you're saying. Either way I think forming a believable character doesn't have to go by actual psych research.
     
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  8. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    Liz was an orphan. She was also a lizard. Neither of these facts were all that special in the ancient land of Realmland. Except that she was special. She was magic. She was also a girl. A magic girl. She flicked her lizard tongue. It looked super weird.
    "Ssssssmellsss like ssssssauges." She hissed.
     
  9. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    See Starship Troopers. Yes it was a book before it became a movie. :p
     
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  10. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    This might be a stupid question, but would it bother you if readers actually did like the fascist? One of my characters, a thirteen-year-old sorceress who watches too much anime and thinks she's a magical girl, believes that everyone should be made as happy as possible and concepts like free will just get in the way of that. There are points in the story where other characters argue with her beliefs, but at other points she comes across as the most heroic character in the story. In general readers responded positively to her and didn't seem too bothered by her ideology. Would you be willing to write such a character, and if not, where exactly is the sticking point that distinguishes her from the fascist you would write?
     
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  11. NiallRoach
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    NiallRoach Contributing Member

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    My current MC is a paedophile. Okay, it's perhaps arguable as to whether or not a psychologist would agree, given the ages involved (16 and 12), but she's well into creepyland as far as most people are concerned.
    That's just one facet of her person, though. It's the 'main' facet, because it's the point of the story, but she's also a generally troubled teenager with a poor relationship with her father, no mother, abandonment issues, and exams coming up. These are things which, I expect, most readers can relate to on some level, and it's there that the reader comes to like the MC (I hope).

    My story isn't quite the same as yours, because my MC suffers a healthy dose of angst about being who she is, but she does eventually come to say "Screw it! I am who I am.", at least for a while.
     
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  12. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    There are times when a reader can pretty clearly feel the author's attitudes through the writing, and times when a reader can't. I think there's no problem with writing a character who does nasty things, but a definite problem when the reader can tell that the author approves of it!
     
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  13. zoupskim
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    zoupskim Contributing Member Contributor

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    If they like him, I would hope they do in spite of his political beliefs.
     
  14. Euthymius
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    One of the primary things that will make your character likable or not is how justified his actions and beliefs are. Why is he a Fascist? Why has his country become Fascistic? Was it in response to an actual external threat or invasion, or just the charisma of one power hungry sociopath? Why were the "undesirables" considered undesirable, were they dangerous/foreigners, or just a different ethnic group? Remember that his personal motivations do not necessarily have to be the same as the government's.

    These are the kinds of things which, added together, will make his decisions more palatable, even admirable from a certain point of view. Most reasonable people can agree that Hitler was a bad person, but many would claim that the Wehrmacht was actually an honorable military force. The same can be said of Soviets as well. Most would agree that the brutality of Stalin was morally wrong, but the passion and zeal of the Red Army in defending their homeland from the attack of another ethnic group during World War II was admirable.

    Just food for thought.
     
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