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  1. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    Low Protagonist

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Crend, Nov 12, 2016.

    In my novel, in (what I view as) a reflection of mankind and society, everyone is an asshole. I unserstand it's my view and that some people want pretty ponies and rainbows when they open a book, but my character does some despicable things. Would these alienate the reader?

    -Giving both of his daughters off in forced marriages (despite it not being required at that period in history)
    -Killing someone intentionally out of hate and not anything pragmatic.
    -Valuing his job over his family.
    -Abandoning his family.
     
  2. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Some people enjoy characters who do despicable things. You're bound to find a niche who enjoys edgy grimdark material if it's at least well-written.
     
  3. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    It's not edgy. It's human.
     
  4. izzybot

    izzybot Transhuman Autophage Contributor

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    Neat.
     
  5. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I write a lot of despicable characters too (ie one of my protagonists has made headlines as "the deadliest female serial killer in American history").

    The most important thing that a character has to do (hero protagonist, villain protagonist, villain antagonist, hero antagonist) is to surprise the reader in some way.

    We didn't realize at the beginning of Breaking Bad that Walter White was going to become the villain, and in the opposite direction, we didn't realize when Jaime Lannister tried to murder a child in A Game of Thrones that Jaime's own children would've been killed if his and his sister's plot to steal the Iron Throne had been discovered and made public.
    Rhetorical question: What is your character going to do that's surprising?
     
  6. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There's a lot of territory between "everyone's an asshole" and rainbows and ponies. What kind of person do you want your reader to be once he/she has finished your book? Do you want him to go off feeling smug and superior because he himself is not like that? Perhaps you want him to end up miserable because you've shown him that he must be an asshole himself. Or is a heart full of apathy and coldness to all humanity what you're going for?

    I mean, if the daughters and the family and all the neighbors and coworkers are assholes too, why should I care if the protag does mean things to them? They'll deserve his assholery, just as he'll deserve it if/when they're assholes back at him. Let the carnage begin!

    Seems to me you need a range of characters. They can all be foolish and flawed to some degree, but if they're all as bad as possible, there's a good chance readers won't finish your book. Why should they? You won't have given them a reason to care about anyone in it. People like to rubberneck as they drive by car crashes, but I doubt most of us do it hoping that everyone involved has come to the worst of ends. And when the fatal crash is, metaphorically speaking, a book, will they pay good money to do it on purpose?
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2016
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  7. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Just know that you've immediately alienated a pretty huge number of readers. And you say that it's human, but I'll argue otherwise. The thing about humans is they are multi-faceted, changing beings. People aren't just one way all of the time. Sure, make your guy do some despicable things. That's fine. I personally enjoy that kind of stuff. But a lot of people do not.

    So instead of making this guy totally despicable, to make him more human, you can add some redeeming qualities. Because even the worst people in the history of the world had some redeeming qualities.

    If you want to stay true to humanity, you're missing the mark by making everyone the same way. No two people are the same and everyone has good to counter the bad within them.
     
  8. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    I disagree. Everyone is an irredeemable asshole. Characters like Ned Stark show this too.

    Also, I find it hilarious you think no obe in my novel has any good qualities. I never said or implied that, now did I?
     
  9. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    Never said people have no good qualities.

    Jesus Christ.
     
  10. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Yes, when you said:

     
  11. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I believe your exact words were "everyone is an asshole".

    I'm beginning to think it's not "everyone" who's an asshole, here...
     
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  12. Crend

    Crend New Member

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    Afterwards. And even then, that doesn't mean they don't have good qualities.
     
  13. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Deuces, I'm out
     
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  14. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I apologize - I checked your profile. You're not an asshole, at least not irredeemably: You're just sixteen.

    It can be a tough age. Hang in there - the world isn't quite as bleak as it may seem right now.
     
  15. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    :chill:

    Well, this thread went south fast.
     
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