Monday, December 20, 2010

Letting the bad guy win

I state about myself that I like the bad guy to win, and yet in none of my novels does the antagonist win.  (In the fourth Keila book, the antagonist kinda wins)  Only some of my short stories feature a triumphant bad guy.

Yet I stand by my statement.

I love movies like Arlington Road and Seven, or stories like "I Am Legend".  The antagonists clearly triumphed.  (I also like when the hero triumphs, for the record, but that will be for another time)  The protagonists did their very best, but they were outplayed.

So why don't I write about bad guys winning?

At least in my novels, I'm writing from the perspective of a character I really like.  They, or their love interest, happen to be a little dark, a little outside societal laws.  Not exactly villains, but not entirely heroes.

They win, but not because they're shining examples of what to do right.  That's kind of like the bad guy winning, right?  I say it is, and that's what I'm sticking to.  :)

In my short stories, I will have my villains win.  Dragon Hunter is a recent example.  The Sacrifice (in stories with bite o,.,o) has a spiffy twist before the protagonist takes a fall.  I'm much less attached to my characters in short works, and m ore likely to write something tragic or surprising.

So what are some of your favorite bad guy wins?

1 comment:

  1. I can't recall too many tales off the top of my head where the bad guy wins. I can say I know what you mean about liking that to happen though and I don't think it happens enough. I'm sure the reason it doesn't is because the protagonist is typically a person worth writing about. And with that worth may come added brains, brawn, skill, or luck that makes them larger than life and hence, more likable. Added to, they typically hold fast to whatever obstacles they face (again, for the story's sake since no obstacles or goals pretty much means no story). If the bad guy wins, the reader may feel cheated, and honestly, I don't know many writer's who are actually able to let that happen because they've grown so attached to their lead character. This isn't altogether a good thing since the outcome that much more predictable. But maybe if there were equal characterization and time given to both the "good" and the "bad" characters, writers would be more willing to roll the dice in the opponent's favor and with that, readers too, would breath a little easier if the bad guy won.

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