1. PrincessBLJack

    PrincessBLJack New Member

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    Dealing with Villains

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by PrincessBLJack, Nov 6, 2016.

    What is your opinion on how a villain should be dealt with in the story? I guess it depends on the villain, but my stories are concluded in peaceful non-violent ways. The climax is usually more of an emotional ride than a battle. The antagonist comes out as changed in a way that cause them not to oppose the protagonists anymore. I find these situations rare, especially in fantasy. I would like to create more stories that find peaceful solutions beyond just killing, imprisoning, or just throwing the villains into exile. It might not be "realistic" to overthrow an evil demon king by sitting him down and giving him a friendship speech (which I don't do that ever, but it's just a basic example), but I think it's important to show there are ways to deal with people that's at the end of a sword.
     
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  2. EnginEsq

    EnginEsq Member

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    It also depends on the protagonist and the situation. How forgiving are they? How much latitude do they have to forgive?

    There's a story where the MC frees and enemy soldier because it's impossible for his troops to keep the man prisoner. The enemy soldier comes back and kills some of his men. So when they capture the enemy soldier again, the MC shoots him. It's a very powerful scene - a good forgiving man, forced to violate the rules of war by circumstance.
     
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  3. NoGoodNobu

    NoGoodNobu Contributor Contributor

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    It really all depends.

    Personally, I don't have villains in my stories—I have antogonists.

    Villains to me automatically assumes character and generally necessitates they are in some manner actively evil or morally in the wrong. Antagonists merely mean they are in opposition to the protagonist and their goals.

    It's not too difficult to resolve conflict with an antagonist peacefully or amicably if you desire, but it seems to me that in general you would have to lay a lot of ground work throughout the story to somehow explain how the kindness or trust or mercy or whathaveyou of the hero doesn't have negative consequences or repercussions by the villain simply being that, a villain. The villain would have to somehow cease to be a villain, and as that is what they are at their core, it comes across as a major character overhaul and so needs to be built up over the course of the story & take place in a way that it seems a rational conclusion from the series of events that lead up to it.

    It's not strictly impossible, but it is rather tricky.
     
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  4. Jair

    Jair New Member

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    Well it is very possible to achieve what you want. It's not the easiest road to take but it is an ambitious one. I think you have to find a way to un-villanize him in the eyes of society (and specially the reader). You could redeem him or merely just take his corruption away af it's not him doing it. You could make him the hero unexpectedly and for him to have a heroic death. It's all a question of what you want for the character's future. If you're fighting the devil himself then take his corruption away and make him into Lucifer again. Personally I wouldn't go as far as making everyone good. You NEED a main force of evil and main antagonist. Even if the antagonist is something as abstract as poverty, sadness or pride. Change his nature literally, or the people's perspective of him. Kinda like Anakin at the end of Return of the Jedi (but this time you can keep the guy alive).
     
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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    The Antagonist/Villain can be as simple as the office jerk, to more complex intelligent Tyrants.
    So it all falls upon your Protagonist/Hero character to decide what the best course of action
    is going to deal with the former.

    You could blow away the office jerk with a 12g shotgun, and the Tyrant simply gets a lengthy
    trial and imprisonment. Now these are both options, but which would your MC decided is the
    best course of action in either situation.

    A lot hinges upon what your MC/Protag/Hero/Whatever believes in when it comes down to
    what is and is not considered justice or justifiable to them. The action should also be something
    that is believable to what your MC believes is the best course of action. And you can have something
    fairly accurate to what one would do in a realistic situation, or be a wacky mess because the MC's
    personality and thought process deems those odd actions as being the best course of action for
    a 'revenge' or 'justifiable' punishment.

    Good Luck. :)
     
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  6. SardonicWriter

    SardonicWriter Member

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    The are no rules of engagement in War. The act of war is indiscriminate. Anything Goes. You go to war to kill in any way possible . That's the goal. No rules.

    Sorry. Really.​
     
  7. NiallRoach

    NiallRoach Contributor Contributor

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    There are acts which are internationally considered war crimes, though. There was quite a kerfuffle in the UK a while back when a recording surfaced which 'showed' some an officer killing a wounded insurgent, rather than treating him and taking him as a prisoner of war.
     
  8. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    I agree with @NiallRoach about there being things considered war crimes.

    Use of any type of ammunition other than Ball Ammo, is on that list.
    A neat one that has a loop hole is that you can use a tank against ground troops, as long as you are targeting their gear and not them specifically.
    Torture is also a war crime along with executing prisoners.
    Use of flamethrowers is another one.

    We took all the fun out killing people in some ways, but at the same time it is perfectly acceptable
    to cut a man in half with .50 cal machine gun. On the fiction front you can get away with all of the
    things that would not fly in the real world. Just depends on how depraved you want to go when
    pulling all the stops out is all.
     
  9. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Is this a joke? We took the fun out of killing people by taking steps to lessen hideous, brutal, and arguably unnecessary violence? Please tell me this is a joke. These are the types of statements that are better left as thoughts.
     
  10. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    It was more of a dark bit of humor, but yes you are correct on some level.
    Seeing as there is no civil way to wage a war, or other acts of violence.
    It is only a joke in the sense that as a species we love to kill each other,
    which is a look into just how immature and barbaric humans are while
    claiming to be the most intelligent animals on this rock floating through
    space. Since it is as normal as anything else it will be a testament to how
    dumb we are in our arrogant ways, by being a double edge sword of
    contradiction. We as a species are funny that way. Killing is bad, except
    when it is decided that it isn't. There is no winning when we can't even
    agree that if something is bad, why must it be go to solution?
     
  11. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    I read once that a story is a recount of how characters react to danger. The story 'starts' when your protagonist decides that his story goal is worth fighting for. The antagonist is a character who has already decided that his story goal is so important that he will act ruthlessly to obtain it--ruthlessly meaning that his achieving his goal is the more important to him than morals, right/wrong, or the goals of anyone else in the story. What that means, according to the article I read, is that at some point the protagonist's and antagonist's goals clash in a way that one MUST lose in order for the other to win: a meeting of unstoppable force and immovable object. That's what the climax is.

    So 'dealing' with an antagonist, for me, is a matter of giving him what he deserves for how he acted in the climax: the true lengths he went to in order to achieve his goal. Usually in my case, he goes to any length. His goal is so important to him that he doesn't care how he acts or what he sacrifices. That's not to say he's a terrible shallow human being--a good villain does have morals and standards and his own virtues--but he breaks them to try and obtain his goal, because thats how important it is to him. Dealing with him is giving him what he deserves, and what is satisfying to the reader. Sometimes, that satisfaction is killing the antagonist. There's a sense of finality to it, the idea that justice was mete out: even if the antagonist redeems himself at the end, there's punishment for the poor choices he made.

    There are other ways to achieve that same justice, but I don't think anything has that sense of 'the end' exactly like death does. It's powerful. It shouldn't be used to just wrap things up, but to give the story that sort of poetic justice.
     
  12. PilotMobius

    PilotMobius Active Member

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    "The villain was the hero all along!"
     
  13. Infel

    Infel Contributor Contributor

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    Everyone is the hero of their own story, right?!
     
  14. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    It really depends on the tone of the story. You might not have to fight a schoolyard bully, and certainly don't have to kill him, but there's probably no other option with a genocidal despot.

    Characters are another factor, of course. Some are going to be far more forgiving than others.
     
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  15. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    :superlaugh:

     
  16. MusingWordsmith

    MusingWordsmith Shenanigan Master Contributor

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    I think it really would depend on several factors. What type of 'villain' is he? As in, what kind of threat? An evil overlord of some kind, or just some jerk with a small position of authority he abuses, like a corrupt police officer? There's also the question of his motivation. Why does he oppose the protagonist? Is their goals mutually exclusive? (i.e. he wants protagonist dead, protagonist wants to live) Or is it just (seemingly) more convenient to get what he wants in a way that opposes the protag? (i.e. He wants to be rich. Protag has a treasure map. So, steal the protag's treasure map = get rich.) Probably more factors that I can't even think of right now.

    So, it really would depend on your story. I would like to see what your solution is! Might have to start thinking about doing something like that myself for my books. If you want, you could always message me with more details and I'll try to help figure something out that works.
     
  17. Ebenezer Lux

    Ebenezer Lux Member

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    Sometimes, for kicks, I'll just have the villain get away with it. If you think about it, most characters have a side of villainy to them and most go unpunished.
     
  18. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    this is true but only really binding on the western / NATO forces , and then frankly not always (special forces for example operating behind the lines can't possibly manage prisoners, so killing them is sometimes their only option, especially in climates where tying them up is only condemning them to a slow death from heat/cold)

    If you think about various modern wars , both sides in vietnam used all sorts of methods that are against the 'rules of war' - some americans were prosecuted for it but I don't recall anyone from the NVA being tried for war crimes , in the iran/iraq war in the 80s both sides committed unspeakable atrocities but no one was ever prosecuted , in Gulf one the rules of war only applied to the allies not to iraqi forces , ditto in gulf 2 , in Afghanistan the talib etc weren't bound by any rules and so forth

    AEOTD War itself doesn't have any rules other than that history is written by the victors - if Germany had won WW2 , none of the nazi generals would have been prosecuted, they'd have been written as heroes.
     

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