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10:18 am: Rant on flawed characters (again)


Date:December 19th, 2009 02:44 pm (UTC)
You're doing more rants! Hooray!

I really love this rant, because creating flawed characters and doing them well is probably THE most important part of writing. Number 4 is especially great.

1. I'd like to tattoo this onto the back of the hands of every movie-maker in existance. I can't count how many times a movie has been ruined for me because I was supposed to support or dislike a character but I did the exact opposite, and then I sat and sizzled on how glorified/unfair their treatment seemed in the movie.

This, I think, ESPECIALLY applies to villains. You can still have an unlikeable hero but it's nearly impossible to have an intimidating villain when you think they're, well, likeable and seemed quite justified.

2. I'd also add that if a character does NOT regard the character the way they're 'supposed' to, it does not make them MEANIEZ.
Date:July 8th, 2011 03:49 am (UTC)
Really? I can't read a book unless I like the villain. Not sympathize, per se. But like: I need to think that they have a 3-dimensional personality, that they're realistically portrayed, that they consider themselves the heroes of their own stories and aren't just evil for the evilz.

I often still get intimidated by these villains. If I like the hero, too, then the villain threatening what they love is pretty much automatically intimidating.

But a likeable villain will keep me reading even if I don't like the hero, so I'm not intimidated by his actions. Usually I like laughing at the ways the stupid hero gets his butt kicked by the villain, and I'm sad when the idiot finally "wins."

But unless the hero is one of those amazing characters you just can't let go of... if I don't like the villain, I generally get bored and stop reading. Usually around the halfway mark.

So I don't think likeability and intimidation are mutually exclusive.
Date:July 8th, 2011 06:09 am (UTC)
Well, it depends on what you mean by 'like'.

For example, I like the Joker as a villain in Batman Returns; he's a really interesting, engaging character. I sure as hell do not like him as a person, but for being a villain, he's gold. So you're right, likeability and intimidation aren't mutually exclusive.

But what I meant in my original comment was a villain being likeable because they were a likeable person who actually had very good motivations. I can't really fear anyone if I think they're in the right.
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