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General Chat > Villain or Hero?

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message 1: by John (new)

John | 8 comments Tell me your thoughts . . . Do you identify more with a villain or a hero (heroine) in a novel? Just curious and doing research for my next book.


message 2: by Marie-Jo (new)

Marie-Jo Fortis | 118 comments Does it have to be that black and white? An interesting novel includes characters that are more ambiguous and complex---and capable of both,good and bad.


message 3: by Ron (new)

Ron Albury Enemy Combatant was originally a movie script, and people said that the central character was the epitome of all evil. When I wrote the novel version I added a number of chapters in the front exploring the central character's history and thought processes. Now readers feel sympathy for the character and have even said that I was too rough on her.

I love it when stuff like that happens ;-)


message 4: by Mikebeak (new)

Mikebeak | 37 comments Hero....but usually the ordinary ones doing extraordinary things ...villains are too apathetic ...kinda similar to drivers in rush hour traffic ...


message 5: by John (new)

John | 8 comments I order for a book to be a "good read," I think the conflict between good and evil is always at the core. What makes a story a "great read" is the ambiguity between the two. Good people do bad things and vice-versa, and ultimately the reader must decide for himself which he chooses to sympathize (or identify) with.


message 6: by David (new)

David Freas (quillracer) | 2250 comments I prefer the hero or heroine because usually the villain's motivation for his or her behavior, while for a 'good' reason in his or her mind, is some sort of self-serving, egotistical act that only brings harm to others.


message 7: by Pattie (new)

Pattie | 2 comments I identify most with a flawed hero. We all carry around a certain amount of baggage, so to see it reflected in our hero and still be able to root for that person is essential. That flawed hero often walks the tightrope between morality and justice which makes for a very good read. If you add a compelling villain, then it can become a great read.


message 8: by John (new)

John | 8 comments We can all relate to heroes and villains. That is because of the inherent nature of our personalities. Even when a villain seems to win out over a hero, he is always the ultimate loser. It's a theme as old as literature itself and is life's most valuable lesson.


message 9: by John (new)

John | 8 comments Do readers like it when the villain isn't really that bad so that under certain circumstances he actually does something redeeming or heroic (like saving the world)?


message 10: by Franky (new)

Franky | 894 comments I would say mostly the hero/heroine, especially if they have faults and somehow overcome these and change in some way by the end of the book.


message 11: by John (new)

John | 8 comments Sometimes don't you think villains are more creative when they are doing evil things, whereas heroes who are good are not very interesting?


message 12: by Marcus (last edited Feb 20, 2014 02:06PM) (new)

Marcus Chatman (marc123) | 2 comments It depends on the setting. Sometimes a villain in corrupt atmosphere can become a hero by default.


message 13: by Martyn (last edited Feb 20, 2014 02:30PM) (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 103 comments John wrote: "Tell me your thoughts . . . Do you identify more with a villain or a hero (heroine) in a novel? Just curious and doing research for my next book."

The anti-hero... :)

I'd rather call them protagonist and antagonist, since a protagonist doesn't need to be heroic, and the antagonist doesn't need to be 'evil'.


message 14: by John (new)

John | 8 comments Agreed. However, the reader makes a connection with the protagonist or antagonist depending on their own personality. Projecting a bit of one's self onto the characters is what keeps a reader's interest, don't you think?


message 15: by Martyn (new)

Martyn Halm (amsterdamassassinseries) | 103 comments There are bits and pieces of me in all my characters, both the protagonists and the antagonists. Still, like a good actor, I hope to be invisible behind my characters.


message 16: by Marcus (last edited Feb 23, 2014 06:53AM) (new)

Marcus Chatman (marc123) | 2 comments In some cases but not always. A heroic character could possess a courageous value that the reader may not have but would like to have...quality and abilities that the reader will never possess. So that would most likely cause the reader to admire the character but never dare to compare his or herself to the character...seriously anyway.

If the reader is of a good nature and gravitates towards heroic characters, not being able to compare or identify with the hero still won't make him gravitate towards the villain. The story would just become more captivating to them. They'll either really love it or really hate it.


message 17: by Ken (new)

Ken Pelham (kenpelham) | 88 comments Sherlock Holmes became a lot more interesting when Doyle recast him as an OCD drug-addicted freak. Just sayin'.


message 18: by Debra (new)

Debra (debramurphy) | 3 comments "identify" is an interesting word. I certainly root for the hero/heroine, but there are some books/shows with lead antiheroes that are so darn well done that I find myself getting invested in them, notwithstanding. Walter White, Tom Ripley, Francis Underwood...in the latter case, the writers use the good ol' fashioned Shakespearean aside to lure the audience into a type of complicity with the antihero's antics. And frequently--they did this on BREAKING BAD--there is a villain who is even *worse* than the antihero, so one finds oneself willy-nilly rooting for them.

Hitchcock, of course, was brilliant at getting us behind his very flawed protagonists.


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