Antagonistic MC

by Austin

Question: My story is about a serial killer trying to get away with their crimes, it's like a reverse murder mystery where the killer is constantly wondering what the police are thinking and if they are any closer to being found out. My MC obviously, is a serial killer. So my question is, how could I make my MC not seem totally evil? Could I still make my story interesting and appealing even thought the protagonist is not a very nice person?


Answer: There are stories told at least partly from the villain's point of view (e.g. in the visceral horror, suspense, and psychological suspense genres). However, it is harder for the readers to put themselves into the shoes of such a character (not being so amoral themselves). This creates distance between the character and the reader, so that the reader looks at the character more objectively or psychoanalytically.

That might be okay. But if it's not what you have in mind, here are a few tricks that can help the reader relate to such a character.

1. Give the character at least one redeemable quality. For example, a passion for music (as in A Clockwork Orange), a loved one he wants to protect (e.g. Artemis Fowl), or perhaps a personal code of ethics that he won't violate (e.g. he might have a rule that he only kills people he feels deserve it because of who they are or something they have done).

2. Give the character a backstory that generates sympathy (e.g. Ebeneezer Schrooge).

3. Make the character charming. Write in first person, so that he talks to the readers like they're his best friend.

4. Give the main character an enemy who is even less moral. For example, in A Threepenny Opera, Macheath argues that, while he is a cutthroat assassin, his crimes are peanuts next to those committed every day by financiers.

Finally...

You could consider having your character redeem himself in the end. For instance, he might sacrifice himself to save an innocent person.

Best of luck.

Comments for Antagonistic MC

Click here to add your own comments

Nov 07, 2017
Useful example: Crime and Punishment
by: Anonymous

Perhaps you could have a look at 'crime and punishment' by Dostoyevsky. This book is about a man who has a theory that exceptional people can commit murder if it is necessary for a greater good. He then becomes dead poor and commits a murder. The guilt (although he does not want to admit that he feels guilty) and the fear of being found out drive him mad.

The book is full of wonderful examples of 'show, don't tell'. The entire description I gave above is implicit in the book; you can only infer it from his behaviour.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Plot Invite.


search this site the web
search engine by freefind

Proud to be one of the...


 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook


NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles


"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards



"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero