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  1. dracodomitor

    dracodomitor Member

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    I need my protagonist to kill someone without people hating her!

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by dracodomitor, Feb 14, 2018.

    I've been stuck in a rut these last couple of weeks with a deliberating issue. My protag has an extremely close relationship with her older brother due to shared traumatic experiences. Hence why I decided I need to kill him off.

    The brother is dating a real piece of work, a two-faced girl, who is cruel and malicious behind his back, but sweet and loving to everyone else. She is the cause, though it wasn't entirely what she intended, of his death and isn't shaken up by it in the slightest. I need my protag to murder her. It has to be done.

    However, I also don't want my protag to become hated by my readers. She still needs to be likeable. This might be a tall order, but the outlook I want most people to have is 'I hated that b***h and am glad she is dead, but she didn't deserve that and murder isn't the answer'. I want them to disapprove of my protag, but not hate her.

    My question is, then, how can I make the murder-ee this level of despised and hated by the readers? To the point where they are still on the side of my protag when she murders her?

    Thanks for any help!
     
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  2. LastMindToSanity

    LastMindToSanity Contributor Contributor

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    Here's my advice, don't go out of your way to make the bitch the worst person in the world. I mean, at the point of her murder, she would've had to be pretty garbage to make the MC kill. Try this instead, make us feel bad that the MC killed her.

    Have the MC break down once she does it, really sell your distress at what she's done. This instantly gains sympathy points for most readers, they'll feel bad for the MC because what she did is causing her to suffer. It's kind of a dishonest way of doing it, in my opinion, but it's the only way I could see myself doing it.

    Or, and this is a random idea I just had, have the MC turn herself in. Have her call the police on herself and be completely honest with what she did. This adds a level of honesty to the character that instantly makes her more likeable and more forgivable. (This might not work with your story, and if it doesn't then oh well I guess it won't work).

    Another thought, you could have the MC go out of her way to do things for the murdered girl's family without telling anyone that she was the one who did the murder. While this makes the MC more dishonest than with option 2, it will give us a reason to forgive her for what she did.

    Last thought, I promise. Please don't make it an accident, and then have it be discovered what happened by any authority, and then make it so that nothing bad happens to her. I don't even understand why someone would do this, but it popped into my brain and I realised it was stupid and wanted to bring attention to it. That's still manslaughter, and she'd definitely be arrested (unless I'm horribly confused).

    Anyways, good luck with it.
     
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  3. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    The MC and her brother had a close relationship, and he's dead. The reader would know that the MC is grieving for him, and her blaming the girlfriend is probably amplified to a point. I think that as long as you are showing that the girlfriend is a bad person and that the MC feels bad about what she did, the reader will still like her.
    I think this is a good way to go about it.
     
  4. Odile_Blud

    Odile_Blud Active Member

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    I may be the wrong person to answer, because I'm not the kind of reader to have to like a character in order to enjoy a book, I just have to find them interesting, but it seems to me like your character has a deeper reason as to why she wants to kill this girl. Give good detail as to why she feels this is the best measure, also, it should be something that is within her character. In other words, if killing someone is out of character for her, than it may not work for her to commit homicide or at least not on purpose. It will also be good for you to delve into her psychology. Even though she doesn't like this woman, unless she is a sociopath, it would still screw with her mind having killed someone.

    Write it, see how it comes out, and get some advice on it.
     
  5. CerebralEcstasy

    CerebralEcstasy Active Member

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    What about having them get into an altercation due to emotions running high on your MC's character. She sees right through the evil girlfriend and they have an all out drop down brawl where she intends to simply smack her around a bit, but goes too far?

    I'm actually kind of basing this on an experience I had in my teens. In my case, I'm not the evil gf, nor the sister, but rather the boyfriend is a cheating piece of work, and I've just discovered I'm pregnant with his baby. We get into this horrible argument about him going to visit his 'cousin', and he tries to punch me in the stomach. I grab him by his hair (he had long hair) and I just start wailing on him, it's mother bear protective mode, kill or be killed. I'd like to mention that this happened in the washroom, as I'm about to get in the shower, so here I am, completely naked, not showing my pregnancy yet, and I've got this guys hair wrapped around my fist and I am punching him in the side of the head.

    It wasn't until I looked up into the mirror, did I realize what I had done/was doing. I often think if I hadn't been in the washroom and hadn't seen myself in the mirror, I may have killed him and it was simply because he tried to hurt me and my unborn child.
     
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  6. Mckk

    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    My MC kills a bunch of his comrades who are stuck in silt while the enemy's advancing towards them. Freeing them would take too much time and near impossible with their current resources. I was worried people might hate my MC for it but so far, from the two readers who have read that scene, no one has objected. If anything, they tell me it made my MC interesting for them.
     
  7. CoyoteKing

    CoyoteKing Good Boi Contributor

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    Weeeeell...

    This might be controversial, but it’s something I feel very strongly about.

    I write a lot of anti-heroes, and one thing I’ve discovered is that most people don’t care if a character is “good.” They care of a character is likable. Han Solo might technically be a selfish criminal who only cares about himself, but he’s loyal, interesting, and quick on his feet. Deadpool might be a sadistic hitman, but he’s funny, and he’s human.

    It’s okay for your character to make bad choices. In fact, it might be a good thing. No one is perfect. Focus on making her a complex, interesting character. Make her perfect in some ways and weak in some ways.

    This is the end of the book. Make the audience love her, first. Make the end interesting. They’ll forgive her.
     
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  8. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    You can set it up so that the protagonist is temporarily out of control due to grief, and the like. Then you simply have to deal with the consequences of that. If you make it pre-meditated in any way, then you have to deal with the consequences of that. Neither approach is wrong, it's just that the consequences differ depending on how you go about it, both legally (if this story takes place in the real world) and in terms of how your readers see that character.
     
  9. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll "It's a messy business." :P Supporter Contributor

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    Use the emotional pain and grief for her motivation. Revenge is a natural
    feeling towards those that harm/wrong us and those we love. It is the way
    you portray the parties involved in the action, that will determine the
    justification for the vengeance.

    Though in your case, it would seem to be a personal matter that would be
    justifiable as it would also be preventing the antag from causing further
    damage to someone else.
     
  10. Dragon Turtle

    Dragon Turtle Deadlier Jerry

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    Man, I've got some bad news for you, which is that some people are going to hate her no matter what you have her do, because she's a lady. Spend ten minutes reading the Goodreads reviews for any book with a female protagonist and you will find that any crime, no matter how minor, and including the crime of being too good, will earn her vitriol. I used to go to a lot of effort to make sure my female characters were "likeable" but I gave up because this is always a losing battle. If you have her go hog wild on the murder, someone will say she's unsympathetic. If you have her go half-hearted, someone will say she's stupid.

    But the good news is... some people are going to hate her no matter what you have her do. So that frees you up to do what's most compelling and entertaining.

    I think you've gotten some good advice in this thread, but this is just something else to think about.
     
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  11. Kallisto

    Kallisto Ruler of the world... somewhere...

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    It's a tall order, because murder is generally seen as wrong. I've actually pulled off what you're trying and no, it's not easy. I had a to watch tons and tons of shows about revenge and murder and figure why I was sympathetic to some and not others. I also cheated by having the murder happen before the main events of the story. So, readers never actually met the bad guy, so that helped. I used the technique in the first episode of Law and Order: SVU

    There are several criteria that the protagonist and the antagonist need to have to pull this off.

    First off, the antagonist has to wrong the protagonist in a significant way. A way that readers can say, "Yeah, I get why someone would want that person to die." You got that part. That's the easy part.

    The second part harder and it takes some planning. I've worked insurance for years and years. And people get their cars hit. It's not that people get their cars hit that makes them mad. Accidents happen and most people are very forgiving of that. What makes people angry is when the person who hits their car doesn't have any consequence for it. That pisses people off. So making your antagonist hated is when she does this thing, and for whatever reason, she suffers no consequence. She gets off on a light hearted judge. Or there's no proof so prosecutors decide not to pursue it. Or she sweet talks her way out of it. Or it really was an accident, so she gets off on that. Or she plays the victim. Whatever you choose to do. That's dependent on this person's personality.

    Then there's the final piece. And this might not be necessary, but it becomes this icing on the cake. And that's when not only did this person got away with this awful thing, but there's that hint this person will do it again to someone else. And this goes beyond just not taking responsibility. Some people don't take responsibility, but they feel incredibly guilty and straighten themselves out. This is more into the "no remorse" part. What really sold my idea that "this villain had to die" was that there was a pattern of this thing he did to the MC. He did it to other characters in the story. So there's this pattern that he would just keep doing this bad thing. And that really sells the idea.

    It doesn't have to be that exact same thing that she would do to others. But establishing that it wouldn't be out of her nature to do it again.

    Actually, the Last Airbender did a very good job with that. You had that captain or whatever from that fire nation (or whatever it's called) that killed the girl's mother. And she goes after that captain. She finds him and he's living with his insufferable mother. So she's about to kill him and he offers that she kill his mother for him killing hers. And that's important to his character because it shows he doesn't have remorse. He'd do the same thing again if he could. That's the key.

    Will you get your audience to love the character that way? Maybe, maybe not. You will at least get people to understand your main character. I think that's more important then having them actually likeable.
     
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2018
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  12. dracodomitor

    dracodomitor Member

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    Thank you guys for all this advice! It's really helped me out, situation-wise, and I think I'm going to take bits and pieces from each answer (heat of the moment, some regret afterwards, trying to turn herself in, and the awfulness of the antagonist girlfriend) to really perfect how much people hate her! Thanks, again! :)
     
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