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Incinermyn
February 28th, 2008, 11:08 AM
This is something I kind of thought of after skimming and scanning through other people's fics for a while... For some reason, there seems to be a lack of fics that are centered around the actions of the story's villian. Now, I've seen quite a bit of fics about dark characters, but it just seems like a lot of people have any real interest in doing stories with true anti-heroes. And, I've been wondering why this is? Also, I was wondering if anyone else has ever done a fic where the hero turns into a bad guy.

Pague
February 28th, 2008, 11:27 AM
The following post is written assuming that you meant actual incredibly bad 'set pichus on fire' villian.

I think the main reason is that a true villain, not just a character who is a rebel or who does the odd bad thing, is very hard to write because it's difficult to empathise with them. As a writer, if you find it hard to explain to yourself how the guy justifies giving a room full of pichu the ol' gasoline and lit match then you're never going to be able to explain it to your readers and the character comes off as 'a jerk for the sake of being a jerk'.

Even if the writer can empathise enough with the hero to write the fic, there's the problem that the viewer might not. A story starring someone who is doing unforgivably bad things runs a few risks, especially when it's a fanfic. People will assume things like "This is a hatefic", "This is a troll" or "This person's just trying to be cool and dark" even if it's brilliantly written. And that's if they get past "Man, this guy's a jerk. I don't want to read this".

A hero going bad is a different matter, since they have the reader's (and the writer's) empathy still from the beginning of the story. People can forgive a lot if you're the main character and they liked you at first. But here you run the risk of going too far and getting accusations of character derailment. You'd have to make the transition believable.

'It's difficult and risky.' is the short answer to your question. But if it's something you've been planning, you should go for it.

Incinermyn
February 28th, 2008, 11:32 AM
The following post is written assuming that you meant actual incredibly bad 'set pichus on fire' villian.

I think the main reason is that a true villain, not just a character who is a rebel or who does the odd bad thing, is very hard to write because it's difficult to empathise with them. As a writer, if you find it hard to explain to yourself how the guy justifies giving a room full of pichu the ol' gasoline and lit match then you're never going to be able to explain it to your readers and the character comes off as 'a jerk for the sake of being a jerk'.

Even if the writer can empathise enough with the hero to write the fic, there's the problem that the viewer might not. A story starring someone who is doing unforgivably bad things runs a few risks, especially when it's a fanfic. People will assume things like "This is a hatefic", "This is a troll" or "This person's just trying to be cool and dark" even if it's brilliantly written. And that's if they get past "Man, this guy's a jerk. I don't want to read this".

A hero going bad is a different matter, since they have the reader's (and the writer's) empathy still from the beginning of the story. People can forgive a lot if you're the main character and they liked you at first. But here you run the risk of going too far and getting accusations of character derailment. You'd have to make the transition believable.

'It's difficult and risky.' is the short answer to your question. But if it's something you've been planning, you should go for it.

Actually, yeah, what I meant is that a fic is about someone who is truly evil, in the sense that he/she would commit horrible acts. And actually, I am doing a story about a trainer who, though he starts out somewhat decent, he ultimately ends up having his Pokemon commit savage acts against others.

Astinus
February 28th, 2008, 11:39 AM
I think, like Pague was getting at, it depends on the type of anti-hero you're writing about.

It's hard to feel sympathy for a person who does vile acts, like setting a room full of Pichu on fire or those people I read about that killed another person's dog (I will not get into the details about that).

But, if the anti-hero is someone that can get sympathy, then it's easier. For instance, there's an alien race that wants to destroy all humans. (Isn't there always? :D) From the humans point of view, they're evil. But from the aliens' point of view, they are actually doing the right thing to help their species survive. And then a human comes to understand them and "redeems" them by writing a book from the aliens' point of view, making the humans sympathize with them. Multiple cookies if you know what book series I'm referencing.

And actually, I am doing a story about a trainer who, though he starts out somewhat decent, he ultimately ends up having his Pokemon commit savage acts against others.
It would be good depending on the reason. If he's setting Hoppip on fire because you as the author don't like Hoppip and you're doing it to be "cool", then the fic isn't good. But if there's a reason in the story why he would be having his Pokemon do those acts, then it's fine. Like when one of my characters kills another because she believed it was for the better of the world. It depends on what side they're on.

Apologies if this post is random. I'm typing this while skipping class and trying to avoid seeing someone.

Bay Alexison
February 28th, 2008, 05:44 PM
Not the Hoppips nor Pichus! Please don't burn them! =O (Hugs them tight)

Sorry, just love those guys. :3

Like the others are saying, it's really hard to cheer for the anti-hero and most likely it will depend on the reason behind their unjustifiable acts.

I think I ( and my readers probably) would consider Damus from "Heart of the Sea" (a fic I posted at Serebii forums) a character turned from good to bad. He first starts off as a fisherman that loves to fish but then suddenly his pride got in the way when he caught a very large Whiscash.

Incinermyn
February 29th, 2008, 03:52 PM
You know, there is something to be said about stories that do involve anti-heroes. While it may be a little hard to sympathize with a nasty person who commit horrendous acts, there's also the fact of how they got that way. Also, when a character starts out not too bad and then slowly starts to become more and more evil throughout a story, it tends to make it a lot more interesting than just a story about someone who feels a need to fight for what's supposedly right. That's really what I was trying to get...

Dragonfree
February 29th, 2008, 04:19 PM
I don't really believe in characters being "truly evil", but I've had a couple of protagonists who were jerks/really messed up. The latter half of The Fall of a Leader is about Shadowdart's descent from his high (if still rather messed-up) ideals to becoming utterly sick and twisted, and in fact I think he's my favorite character I've ever written. Then Morphic has Dave as one of the most prominent main characters, and he's pretty much a general jerk although he does have his fair share of redeeming qualities and the best of intentions.

Then, of course, we have May of The Quest for the Legends, who is not the main-main character but at least the second-most important human character, and she is an insensitive trainer occasionally bordering on abusive (one of her Pokémon ends up demanding release) - but she does improve as the story goes on.

Overall, I find these "anti-heroes" to be a lot more interesting to write than my more goody-goody ones and don't really personally see why people would avoid writing them because they're more difficult to empathize with at first glance. (I mean, come on, that's half the fun! I've never felt as profoundly in-character as when writing Shadowdart, and he's a freaking power-obsessed Scyther with who thinks love is evil and has created an elaborate philosophy revolving around the acceptance of death, for Christ's sake!) The point is to make the reader understand the character, after all, and this is one of the most intriguing things you can attempt as an author. Who cares if it's difficult? It's difficult to write a whole chaptered story in general. If you're writing at all, you're obviously prepared to do that.