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The Old Switcheroo

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  • #63203
    ScarletImmortalized
    @scarletimmortalized

    I have a character, who at the beginning wants to be a hero (not a reluctant at all). He’s really positive, a bit peppy, and has a big heart. However, as he goes on his way throughout the story his decisions become more and more questionable. He does the wrong things for the right reasons. Plus he has a horrible family that don’t influence him at first, but unhappy with his decision to be “good” they start trying to influence him. So with his not so great family digging their claws into him that’s when things start to get shifty. In the end, this character, who wanted to be the hero, ends up being the villain.

    Questions are:

    Do you like this idea/would you read a book that ended like this?

    What are your suggestions to the slow degrading of this character?

    What are cliches that you would like for me to avoid?

    Overall thoughts on a hero to villain character?

    Thanks guys you are the best!

    “Scarlet, What are you eating?” ~ “Ghost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.

    #63314
    valtmy
    @valtmy

    @scarletimmortalized

    Ah, the classic fallen hero trope. 😀

    Do you like this idea/would you read a book that ended like this? I have read stories with such negative character arcs before and enjoyed them though I’ve read several that I was genuinely frustrated or bored to tears by.

    What are your suggestions to the slow degrading of this character? Foreshadowing. Make sure that your character turning to evil feels like a natural and organic progression that comes from his worst, or better, his best qualities. Lots of virtues can become vices under the right circumstances (e.g. determination becomes stubbornness, optimism becomes a refusal to acknowledge painful realities). What is important is also to note are the justifications your character gives to convince himself and others that he is still a hero as he moves on from “small” sins to “large” ones (e.g. “I’m doing this for the greater good”, “I’m hurting these people because they deserve it”, “I’m entitled to have this so anyone who is in my way must be bad/selfish”).

    What are cliches that you would like for me to avoid? This is going to sound weird but if you are going to turn your hero into a villain, please actually make him a villain. Like, make sure he makes the life of a character who the readers sympathise with (not a villain or minor character that readers won’t care about) objectively worse. A lot of stories that I’ve read have characters that turn “dark” but their “darkness” somehow always only hurts the bad guys who “deserve it” which I think can easily lead to the glamourisation of villainy. Another thing I ask is for none of the other characters that will have an influence on your fallen hero character (which I suppose in your story is his family) have, “I’m a villain,” plastered on their foreheads for at least their first few appearances. I always get frustrated reading scenes where the “currently heroic but soon to be evil” character heeds the advice of the “I’m going to lead you astray” character. Like, why would someone who still has the general mindset and behaviour of a hero be listening to such an obviously evil person? Subtlety is key. I would like it better if perhaps the advice that your character’s family gives him can sound reasonable or even good during their first few interactions.

    Overall thoughts on a hero to villain character? It’s a trope with great potential for the exploration of morality, no doubt. However, my view is that, most of the time, readers want to read about characters that they like. The danger with turning a hero into a villain is that you are deliberately making that character less likable over time (unless you are planning to give your villainous character such style and charm that they remain strangely likable and interesting even when committing heinous acts). As such, you have to make sure that the other parts of your book (the plot, the setting, the other characters) are also strong and compelling in order to keep your readers invested in the story. That or make your fallen hero character so utterly hateable that your readers will read on just because they want to see him go down.

    #63434
    ScarletImmortalized
    @scarletimmortalized

    @valtmy

    Thanks for your input! If I do this, it would be a sort of prequel book, where the hero is introduced with the problem and a villain in the first book and the prequel reveals the villain.


    @scribbles
    what is your opinion?

    “Scarlet, What are you eating?” ~ “Ghost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.

    #63488
    Ariel Ashira
    @ashira

    @scarletimmortalized I like the idea!  I agree with what Valtmy said.  I do think there needs to be a meaningful conclusion to the book though, not end vague or leave the reader unsure as to right and wrong.  There needs to be a clear line draw between what he did right and what he did wrong, and how he ended up the villain when he had good motives.  And the reader needs to feel like he is the villain and he deserves what he gets, even if they are sad.

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    #63549
    ScarletImmortalized
    @scarletimmortalized

    @ashira

    Right. I was thinking the villain/hero needs a strong best friend who doesn’t turn and provides a stark contrast. At the end you see how ‘bad’ the villain/hero has become.

    “Scarlet, What are you eating?” ~ “Ghost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.

    #63754
    Rachel Rogers
    @scribbles

    Hey! I don’t have much to add to this, except that the whole hero-to-villain storyline is soooo sad, but it does sound like a really interesting story. 😀 One question, more for you to consider than specifically for you to answer (though answers are good too)…if the character who originally appears to be the hero isn’t really, is there an actual hero figure in the story?

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

    #63758
    ScarletImmortalized
    @scarletimmortalized

    @scribbles

    I love your profile pic its so cute! Did you change it recently or am I unobservant and blind?

    Back on subject…

    Ooh good question. Well, since I’m considering this story to be a prequel, I would say there would be no real hero until the main story. The best friend could be considered the hero (s/he keeps on the right track and in the main story finds the true hero).

    Did that make sense? In the story centered around the hero turned villain there would be no hero except maybe the best friend?

    “Scarlet, What are you eating?” ~ “Ghost peppers...” ~ Robin sighed.

    #63762
    Rachel Rogers
    @scribbles

    Hahaha! I changed it recently. xD Glad you like it!

    That does make sense! *nods* Definitely sounds like it’ll be an interesting couple of character arcs. 😀

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

    #63769
    I, David
    @i-david

    @scarletimmortalized *Mutters dejectedly* You stole my idea…

     

     

     

     

     

    But all the power to you. Hope you do it well.

    Four
    INFP
    songwriter

    #63848
    Ariel Ashira
    @ashira

    @i-david *mutters* why can’t you do it too?

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    #63876
    I, David
    @i-david

    @ashira *Mumbles* Because I has to finish my current book and don’t have time and I can’t get even moar distracted and shtuff.

    Four
    INFP
    songwriter

    #63878
    Ariel Ashira
    @ashira

    @i-david *grumbles* not having time…its a very old writers problem

    "No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how hard you fall, you are never out of the fight."

    #64024
    Andrew Schmidt
    @andrew

    @scarletimmortalized, sounds interesting! Oh, turning a happy hero into a miserable villain. Sad. But it’s the plot…

    Good luck!


    @scribbles
    , I too like your new profile picture. Hey, that pet you’re holding, I don’t really know how it’s spelled, but it looks adorable! I know what it’s called. The spelling of the name starts with a g followed by the word pig, though I don’t know exactly how the fist word is spelled, something weird. But nonetheless, that creature looks cute!

    "Muhahaha!"- Unknown Villain

    #68571
    Cassandra Hamm
    @cassandraia

    @scarlet-immortalized these always make me sad, but also they can be awesome. Take Heartless by Marissa Meyer. It’s an origin story for the Queen of Hearts, so obviously it ends with her as the villain 😛 and she does some pretty awful things, so she’s definitely a villain by the end, and it’s definitely foreshadowed.

    I crush readers' souls like grapes.

    #68689
    A. D. S.
    @ads_forest

    What do you guys think about the reverse character arc, where the character goes from being a villain to being a hero? Do you think there’s room for both arcs in one story? And what are some ways that the two arcs can foil each other without being predictable?

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