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rougetaal
09-11-2009, 09:36 PM
(My first Post, First Thread. Yeah!)

In the many books that I've read, a lot of seemingly dangerous situation that could resolved simply by killing the villain.

For example, in a book I am reading the heroine is trying to escape and is pursued by several people. One of them is a boy not much older than herself. She hides herself, evading him, cowering in fear and never it comes to her mind that she could kill him. I must add that she knows that he is a psychopatic murder and knows that if she is caught, she will suffer a fate worse than death.

Maybe it's just me but couldn't she kill him, because I mean nothing is stopping her. He is not so superhuman that she couldn't simply stab him with a knife, and in fact I don't think he has any power at all.

alleycat
09-11-2009, 09:39 PM
We've had a thread or two here about this issue, primarily in movies, but also some books.

We all chipped in with some examples that we remembered. I wish I could remember the title of the thread; I'd go find it for you.

Tasmin21
09-11-2009, 09:41 PM
While pretty much everyone has the physical ability to kill another person, not everyone has the mental or emotional capacity to make that their first choice. (and we are all luckier for it)

And author often uses this lack of killer urge to denote the difference between good and evil. That's why you have the big bad mercenary who could rip your head off with one pinky, and yet he doesn't. He's the good guy. You have his arch-nemesis who could ALSO rip your head off with one pinky. And he does. He's the bad guy.

Now, there are some times that this reluctance to kill is taken to a ridiculous extreme, and then I agree that it's not the best plot technique in the world. But in normal use, it has its place.

AceTachyon
09-11-2009, 10:30 PM
There is also the possibility that the MC doesn't know who the baddie is, just that someone is out to get them. How can the MC off the baddie if they don't know their identity?

Or, the MC knows who the baddie is but doesn't know where they are, or can't get to them because of location or the presence of the baddie's henchfolk.

In the bigger picture, why bother with a story if the MC simply turns around the kills the antagonist, problem solved? Not a very exciting tale.

Nivarion
09-11-2009, 10:31 PM
I have characters who's first response is violence. Imagine how much sympathy you can get for a character like that. Not a lot. And if your solution is to kill your nemesis, that comes with its own bag of troubles.

As was said above most people don't have the capacity to kill another human being. A lot do, if your character doesn't have the capacity give her a companion that does.

A lot of reasons I can think of that your characters would run every time instead of fight.

1. they haven't got the guts to kill
2. the nemesis bigger and badder than they are
3. the nemesis is invulnerable(at the moment), making any attempt less than worthless.
4. they are unarmed

Number 4 is probably the least acceptable, because no matter where you are, there are going to be rocks, large tree branches, poisonous animals and on and on.

Mr Flibble
09-11-2009, 10:43 PM
My heroine murders someone in the first chapter :D

rougetaal
09-11-2009, 10:45 PM
What you all said is true enough.
It takes guts and a certain mental state. But the villain often is a murderer who is actively seeking the hero(or other character) to torture or kill him.
For me it becomes simply a matter of survival, kill or be killed. But even before that, somehow the impulse to kill must be present, not as a first choice but still sometime before the hero has no other choice.

What I truly meant was that this impulse to kill is, to me at least, strangely absent.

MGraybosch
09-11-2009, 10:46 PM
And author often uses this lack of killer urge to denote the difference between good and evil. That's why you have the big bad mercenary who could rip your head off with one pinky, and yet he doesn't. He's the good guy. You have his arch-nemesis who could ALSO rip your head off with one pinky. And he does. He's the bad guy.

I like to turn this around in my own work. My protagonist enjoys killing, and as an Adversary has the authority to kill if threatened. However, he fears his own capacity for violence, and has spent his life working to keep his urge to kill on a tight leash.

My antagonist, however, doesn't particularly enjoy killing, but is willing to do it if he thinks it will further his cause. Nor is he particularly squeamish about engineering situations that will result in hundreds or thousands of people killing each other in order to advance his own goals.

Now, there are some times that this reluctance to kill is taken to a ridiculous extreme, and then I agree that it's not the best plot technique in the world. But in normal use, it has it's place.

This reminds me of the manga and anime, Rurouni Kenshin. The protagonist, a ronin in Meiji era Japan, uses a blunt sword and refuses to kill no matter how dangerous his opponent; it's his way of atoning for the killing he did as an assassin in his youth. His refusal to kill places him and his loved ones in unnecessary danger several times, but things somehow work out.

Mr Flibble
09-11-2009, 10:48 PM
For me, that would put them into the Too Stupid To Live category. At least mostly ( there would have to be some extenuating reason in the text).

If someone was trying to kill me, you can bet your boots I'd at least think about killing him first, even if I couldn't work up the courage. I'd say most people would at least consider it, even if they end up not doing it, and if a character doesn't, it seems a bit daft. ETA unless they're Mother Theresa :D

NicoleMD
09-11-2009, 11:18 PM
A lot comes down to fight or flight (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fight-or-flight_response) response, which is different for individuals. (My co-worker recently saw a toad trying to go head-to-head with her cat.) Some people flee on first instinct. Some people fight. Some people will fight, but only if cornered. Personally, it doesn't seem farfetched to try to avoid confronting someone who is a psychopatic murderer, because in all likelyhood, they're going to be better at it and might all too easily disarm a knife.

Nicole

veinglory
09-11-2009, 11:23 PM
It takes guts and, um, willingness to be a murderer.

bettielee
09-11-2009, 11:30 PM
#1 - I got

#2 - I'm seriously lacking.

believe it or not.

DeleyanLee
09-11-2009, 11:38 PM
What you all said is true enough.
It takes guts and a certain mental state. But the villain often is a murderer who is actively seeking the hero(or other character) to torture or kill him.
For me it becomes simply a matter of survival, kill or be killed. But even before that, somehow the impulse to kill must be present, not as a first choice but still sometime before the hero has no other choice.

What I truly meant was that this impulse to kill is, to me at least, strangely absent.

It's a flight or fight response. Your response is to fight. My natural response is to flee. The idea of striking back, even when someone else might see the opportunity, simply never occurs to me. I, literally, cannot see the opportunity that you would. I'm just not wired that way.

Lacking an impulse to kill, even in a life-and-death situation, makes total sense to me.

I think you're experiencing the flip side from where you naturally fall, which is why you're unsympathetic to the character's situation, which is totally understandable. But, yes, there are people out there who'd rather run and hide and can't immediately comprehend an agressive act of protection.

Bufty
09-11-2009, 11:44 PM
I think you answered your own question in the phrase... 'cowering in fear'.

I have no idea how I would react toward someone whom I thought - or even knew - wished to kill me. I know how I think I should react but that's not the same thing at all.

There are so many factors that come into play. No guns here.

In my house in the dark at night? I'd probably feel able to kill him but would I? I don't know. I don't think so. I can't see myself deciding to do that -in any event that would be murder in the UK. Reasonable force is all one is legally permitted to use.

If I caught him beating up my wife or kids? That's a different kettle of fish -I'd throw everything at him I could lay my hands on and then some. But still - reasonable force applies.

If I were aware someone was following me, outside? I don't know.

I'd have to be absolutely certain there was no other possible solution before I acted with the intention of killing someone - but even then -would I -could I?

I honestly don't know and I don't want the opportunity to find out.

You are talking about fiction here - it's not real. But the character's apparent reaction triggered by her fear, is believable. In any event, as someone else pointed out, if the hero/heroine kills the villain -end of story -no story at all, so I'm not sure what the point of your question is.

ETA -Welcome :welcome:


(My first Post, First Thread. Yeah!)

In the many books that I've read, a lot of seemingly dangerous situation that could resolved simply by killing the villain.

For example, in a book I am reading the heroine is trying to escape and is pursued by several people. One of them is a boy not much older than herself. She hides herself, evading him, cowering in fear and never it comes to her mind that she could kill him. I must add that she knows that he is a psychopatic murder and knows that if she is caught, she will suffer a fate worse than death.

Maybe it's just me but couldn't she kill him, because I mean nothing is stopping her. He is not so superhuman that she couldn't simply stab him with a knife, and in fact I don't think he has any power at all.

Sarpedon
09-12-2009, 01:16 AM
A good potential for character development is having your character go from someone who won't kill someone to someone who will.

In my story I've got a definite non-killer, who mucks about with his problems quite miserably, then gets caught up in a war where he naturally has to kill, and then after the war finds himself applying his new found capacity for violence to his old, pre-war problems. He now sees violence as an efficient method for problem solving. Of course, he is very uncomfortable with this situation. And he still can't just kill the villain because the later is well-protected, and retaliation would fall on the hero's family if he did.

Tburger
09-12-2009, 03:55 AM
In a kind of related story, I saw an animated thing on youtube entitled something like "How Lord of the Rings Should Have Ended." After Elron calls the meeting where they decide to destroy the ring, the Eagles - in bomber formation - carry Frodo into Mordor while Aragorn distracts the eye of Sauron. Frodo flies over Mount Doom and drops the ring into the volcano and it's over in five minutes.

jodiodi
09-12-2009, 05:37 AM
I saw that LOTR thingy. Hilarious and so true.

I can't stand seeing characters TSTL drag through an entire book. Those are the ones where I root for the villains to slaughter them.

veinglory
09-12-2009, 06:54 AM
I haven't hit anyone with the intent to hurt them in my entire life. No matter how logical it might seem, or how easy it might seem, to kill a person--that is one heck of a psychological barrier.

Thomas_Anderson
09-12-2009, 08:12 AM
I can understand the psychological block that most sane people have against killing. Even if we think we would, if you were actually in a situation like that, you would likely have second thoughts. Plus, if the heroine is cowering in fear, then she probably doesn't even have the physical means to take on the main villain.

What I find dumb is when characters kill several nameless soldiers, but hesitate, or in some cases outirght refuse to kill the villain, always citing some variant of "it's wrong to kill." It's dumb in so many ways.

For one thing, what makes his life more valuable than all the random Joes who the heroes just slaughtered without a second thought? For another thing, the main villain is both far more dangerous and more evil than any random guard. As the main baddie can likely hire more guards, and the main villain is the psycho behind the schemes, whereas most soldiers are just men being paid.

cbenoi1
09-12-2009, 09:42 AM
> a lot of seemingly dangerous situation that could resolved simply by killing the villain

*shrug* Another candidate for http://www.absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=47391.

-cb

Mr Flibble
09-12-2009, 11:46 AM
I haven't hit anyone with the intent to hurt them in my entire life. No matter how logical it might seem, or how easy it might seem, to kill a person--that is one heck of a psychological barrier.


It is indeed. I'm not sure I could do it ( unless someone's got my kids. Then they die)

I got no probs with a character not doing it, because of that barrier. But did they at least think about it? Did you at least think about hitting someone and decide against it?

If someone's trying to kill you it must at least cross their minds - even if only very briefly. Even if the thought is 'Oh god, I wish I had the nuts to kill them' or 'If I were to -- no, no, I couldn't do that' or whatever. If your life is in imminent danger of getting snuffed out, as so many characters' are lol, wouldn't you at least entertain the thought for a second, even of the barrier meant you didn't do it?

It's the fact that some characters have it never even cross their mind, when, logically, ( and especially in many of the fantasy worlds I read) it would be the best way to stop the danger, the best way to survive ( that is of course ingrained in us. The instinct to survive)that makes me wonder at them.

bearilou
09-12-2009, 03:28 PM
I ask myself this question all the time (mostly at the movies). "If the hero/heroine would just <XYZ>, their issue would be solved and none of these problems!"

To which the usual reply is, "Then you wouldn't have a movie."

rougetaal
09-12-2009, 06:24 PM
To which the usual reply is, "Then you wouldn't have a movie."

To that, I can only say that this is not so much about having a story or not, but making believable characters. (Which may end up drastically shortening said story, but still...)

zornhau
09-12-2009, 06:45 PM
(My first Post, First Thread. Yeah!)

In the many books that I've read, a lot of seemingly dangerous situation that could resolved simply by killing the villain.

For example, in a book I am reading the heroine is trying to escape and is pursued by several people. One of them is a boy not much older than herself. She hides herself, evading him, cowering in fear and never it comes to her mind that she could kill him. I must add that she knows that he is a psychopatic murder and knows that if she is caught, she will suffer a fate worse than death.

Maybe it's just me but couldn't she kill him, because I mean nothing is stopping her. He is not so superhuman that she couldn't simply stab him with a knife, and in fact I don't think he has any power at all.

There are studies on this in RL (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/On_Killing) - IIRC in battles where soldiers have no special conditioning, only about 5% shoot in the direction of the enemy, and 2% shoot to kill. In short, it's hard to get humans to kill.

Even so, I think it's unrealistic that characters in violent worlds with nasty threats to face, don't even consider it as a possibility.

Mr Flibble
09-12-2009, 06:51 PM
I ask myself this question all the time (mostly at the movies). "If the hero/heroine would just <XYZ>, their issue would be solved and none of these problems!"

To which the usual reply is, "Then you wouldn't have a movie."

Ah but they don't have to succeed first time - then the story is them trying to solve their problem, failing, making things worse, and finally getting it right and solving the problem. :D

My problem isn't whether they do it or not. It's whether they consider it.

Lhun
09-12-2009, 06:52 PM
Even so, I think it's unrealistic that characters in violent worlds with nasty threats to face, don't even consider it as a possibility.And especially annoying if character who have shown they can kill just don't do it for some reason, even though it'd be a perfectly fine solution for a problem.


If a character doesn't do it because it'd be against the developed character it's fine. If a character doesn't do it because it'd end the book (chapter) too soon, you should maybe find an additional reason. ;)

ChaosTitan
09-12-2009, 07:03 PM
While pretty much everyone has the physical ability to kill another person, not everyone has the mental or emotional capacity to make that their first choice. (and we are all luckier for it)

And author often uses this lack of killer urge to denote the difference between good and evil. That's why you have the big bad mercenary who could rip your head off with one pinky, and yet he doesn't. He's the good guy. You have his arch-nemesis who could ALSO rip your head off with one pinky. And he does. He's the bad guy.

Now, there are some times that this reluctance to kill is taken to a ridiculous extreme, and then I agree that it's not the best plot technique in the world. But in normal use, it has its place.

This.

I think you answered your own question in the phrase... 'cowering in fear'.

I have no idea how I would react toward someone whom I thought - or even knew - wished to kill me. I know how I think I should react but that's not the same thing at all.

There are so many factors that come into play. No guns here.

In my house in the dark at night? I'd probably feel able to kill him but would I? I don't know. I don't think so. I can't see myself deciding to do that -in any event that would be murder in the UK. Reasonable force is all one is legally permitted to use.

If I caught him beating up my wife or kids? That's a different kettle of fish -I'd throw everything at him I could lay my hands on and then some. But still - reasonable force applies.

If I were aware someone was following me, outside? I don't know.

I'd have to be absolutely certain there was no other possible solution before I acted with the intention of killing someone - but even then -would I -could I?

I honestly don't know and I don't want the opportunity to find out.

You are talking about fiction here - it's not real. But the character's apparent reaction triggered by her fear, is believable. In any event, as someone else pointed out, if the hero/heroine kills the villain -end of story -no story at all, so I'm not sure what the point of your question is.

ETA -Welcome :welcome:

And all of this, too.

bearilou
09-12-2009, 07:14 PM
My problem isn't whether they do it or not. It's whether they consider it.

Exactly so. If all the hero had to do was XYZ, which most of the time is within their capabilities to do so, having them just not do it so the story would continue is weak.

If they consider it, know they could accomplish it but decide the price is too high/would run against their moral/ethics and try to take another route? THEN we have a good story.

I suppose my issue is when it's totally within their abilities and really does fit in with their morals but decide not to for lame reasons that I don't buy, that I end up screaming at the screen/page because it says to me that the writer couldn't come up with anything stronger.



If a character doesn't do it because it'd be against the developed character it's fine. If a character doesn't do it because it'd end the book (chapter) too soon, you should maybe find an additional reason.

Ack, I knew I should have kept reading responses. This says what I was trying to say.

Mr Flibble
09-12-2009, 07:29 PM
I agree mostly with you

An extra bugbear is that I like characters who do something. In the OP they mentioned cowering in a corner. This is not what you'd call an active action. If they dismissed killing the psycho ( for whatever character reasons) fine. As long as the do something to help themselves. Find a way to get out of this mess. Sitting there saying 'I'm scared' is not an attractive trait lol, unless you don't want to them to be of course! But I expect a main character to do, or at least attempt, something.

Or they deserve to die :D

rougetaal
09-12-2009, 07:42 PM
guess my true problem with all this is I can't conceive someone having so much power over me, or frighten me enough that it makes me forget that he's still human(as in the end most fantasy/sci-fi villains are) and the frightening knowledge that I could off him just as easily as he could.

Ardent Kat
09-12-2009, 10:40 PM
If they consider it, know they could accomplish it but decide the price is too high/would run against their moral/ethics and try to take another route? THEN we have a good story.

THIS. A lot of posts until now have focused on whether a character can/can't bring themselves to kill, but I like a character who can and chooses not to. It can even bring internal conflict as the character is sorely tempted and It would be so easy! but chooses another route than simply killing.

Not everyone's morality ends with "survival of the fittest." Some believe in a code of ethics or a religion as much as they believe in gravity and it's in their best interest not to kill, no matter how wicked the villain.


I always thought it was a complete cop-out in Disney movies where the villain always dies, but conveniently the hero is never the one to do it. Look, Disney, let the hero get some blood on his hands or consider letting that villain live.

In my latest novel, the pursuing antagonist is a homunculus who is human-sized but indestructible. The protagonist has no choice but to convert the homunculus to his side rather than destroy him. It's hard to do in a believable fashion, but I think it's more original than simply destroying or eternally fleeing the villain. I'd like to see that sort of side-switching/conversion angle more in fiction instead of the polarity of "He's always bad. I'm always good. One of us has got to go."

Apsu
09-13-2009, 03:18 AM
What I find dumb is when characters kill several nameless soldiers, but hesitate, or in some cases outirght refuse to kill the villain, always citing some variant of "it's wrong to kill." It's dumb in so many ways.


On a similar note, I think it's funny, though I understand why they do it, when TV/Movie characters die. Two shows back to back: An important character dies, entire show is devoted to it, everyone's talking about it, MCs refuse to leave the area until a proper burial has been performed. An unimportant character dies, they say "oh shit" and walk away.

In reality the two characters would have equal status, but not so in fiction.

Apsu
09-13-2009, 03:28 AM
To address the OP, I think it's important to remember, in the realm of old-world fantasy, and particularly for men if they are hunters or own farm animals, characters are much more likely to be accustomed to killing creatures larger than bugs.

I think if you've spent a large and significant part of your life stalking, hunting, trapping, and/or slaughtering large creatures, you're much more likely to be capable of killing a human threat to you or your loved ones. A significant portion of modern humans do not live with the same frame of mind.

This is just an assumption on my part, as I have neither lived both sides of that coin nor performed/read any studies to demonstrate my opinion. It just makes sense to me, and , again I would assume, would make sense to the reader.

FOTSGreg
09-13-2009, 03:51 AM
I have a character in one of my WIPs who has killed before and is willing and able to kill again. He simply chooses to try not to do so until he is placed into a situation where his life or someone else's depends upon it. His previous "life" left him with an intense dislike of killing, but he's forced in the WIP to confront his past and possibly make amends for what he's done.

There's also a secondary character in the same WIP (sort of a co-MC to the one cited above). She's a former Marine, but has been working as a bartender at a local pub. When forced into a desperate combat situation where it's kill or be killed or captured she is able to make the choice to kill, with deadly efficiency, and using an axe handle (after which she has a machinegun). She doesn't have to like it, but she's fully capable of killing when it's her life on the line.

People are a lot tougher in real life than some books and films or TV series try to portray them. A large number of people in the US have former military experience and have been taught how to shoot and how to survive in combat. That's the type of experience that does not leave you when the need arises.

AceTachyon
09-14-2009, 07:31 PM
I always thought it was a complete cop-out in Disney movies where the villain always dies, but conveniently the hero is never the one to do it. Look, Disney, let the hero get some blood on his hands or consider letting that villain live.
Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip throws the sword at Maleficent the Dragon and kills her. Yes, it gets enchanted by one of the fairies, but he throws the sword.

The Little Mermaid: Eric, in the middle of the maelstrom, steers the busted ship with the broken prow and stabs Ursula with it.

MGraybosch
09-14-2009, 08:21 PM
Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip throws the sword at Maleficent the Dragon and kills her. Yes, it gets enchanted by one of the fairies, but he throws the sword.

He's a friggin' Prince; didn't his swordmaster bother to teach him that you're not supposed to throw your friggin' sword? That's why you have two hands, and why you're supposed to keep a few knives as well as a sword on you.

The Little Mermaid: Eric, in the middle of the maelstrom, steers the busted ship with the broken prow and stabs Ursula with it.

How did Eric know to do that when The Call of Cthulhu hadn't been written yet? :)

Cyia
09-14-2009, 09:55 PM
In my house in the dark at night? I'd probably feel able to kill him but would I? I don't know. I don't think so. I can't see myself deciding to do that -in any event that would be murder in the UK. Reasonable force is all one is legally permitted to use.

If I caught him beating up my wife or kids? That's a different kettle of fish -I'd throw everything at him I could lay my hands on and then some. But still - reasonable force applies.

If I were aware someone was following me, outside? I don't know.

Pfft. Move to Texas and shoot 'em. That's what the Castle Laws are for ;)

I have a protag who's first instinct is violence, but she (I hope) comes off as sympathetic. It's a self-protective instinct in her case.

Ardent Kat
09-14-2009, 11:16 PM
Sleeping Beauty: Prince Philip throws the sword at Maleficent the Dragon and kills her. Yes, it gets enchanted by one of the fairies, but he throws the sword.

The Little Mermaid: Eric, in the middle of the maelstrom, steers the busted ship with the broken prow and stabs Ursula with it.

I'd also argue these princes aren't main characters. They're really tacked-on plot devices so the female protagonist has a man to rescue her from singleness at the end. The princes are absent for almost the entire story, so making them show up and resolve the conflict is just as lame and deus ex machina as all the convenient falling (like in Beauty and the Beast.)

AceTachyon
09-15-2009, 12:22 AM
I'd also argue these princes aren't main characters. They're really tacked-on plot devices so the female protagonist has a man to rescue her from singleness at the end. The princes are absent for almost the entire story, so making them show up and resolve the conflict is just as lame and deus ex machina as all the convenient falling (like in Beauty and the Beast.)
Okay. I'll grant that the princes aren't the main characters but in these two cases, someone does get their hands dirty offing the baddie.

No comment on the other points. That there's a veritable can o' worms. :D

Cyia
09-15-2009, 12:26 AM
Watch Enchanted. It intentionally turns the "damsel in distress" trope on its ear so the princess can rescue the "prince" from the evil dragon.

Dommo
09-15-2009, 12:51 AM
I'm one of those types who "acts" when shit hits the fan.

For example when a guy in my freshman dorm got drunk as a part of a frat initiation, then fell down the stairs and crushed his skull on the sidewalk, I was the first one there calling the ambulance and checking him. Other people just stood around with their thumbs up their asses, or they were freaking out.

I spent a summer interning for no pay for a public utility company replacing grinder pumps in septic tanks. Yes the kind your shit flows into.

I've gutted deer before while they're still steaming from the cold. The smell is a bit funky, but if you get beyond that it's just messy.

I don't think I'd have any hesitation to killing someone who I thought was a real threat to me or someone I cared about. My old man is the same way, and I know my grandpa racked up quite a few kills with his garand in korea. It's probably a bit in my blood. It's not something I'd take pleasure in, but it's something I'd do in an instant if I saw there wasn't a choice.

blacbird
09-15-2009, 01:20 AM
In the many books that I've read, a lot of seemingly dangerous situation that could resolved simply by killing the villain.y stab him with a knife, and in fact I don't think he has any power at all.

"Why don't you just shoot him?"

-- Scott Evil

caw

Gynn
09-15-2009, 04:36 AM
While pretty much everyone has the physical ability to kill another person, not everyone has the mental or emotional capacity to make that their first choice. (and we are all luckier for it)


That's me. I'd have to be crazy with rage to kill someone, even the "bad guys".

Salis
09-16-2009, 11:55 AM
I don't think I'd have any hesitation to killing someone who I thought was a real threat to me or someone I cared about. My old man is the same way, and I know my grandpa racked up quite a few kills with his garand in korea. It's probably a bit in my blood. It's not something I'd take pleasure in, but it's something I'd do in an instant if I saw there wasn't a choice.

I think you would change your mind if you actually did it. Or rather, it would be a bigger deal to you. I have known people who literally killed for a living, hundreds of people, completely hard-assed people, but it affected them very strongly, and basically fucked them up for the rest of their lives.

Unfortunately, there's something about killing other human beings that really stays with us, we're not (generally) wired to deal with it very well.

Mac H.
09-16-2009, 02:44 PM
I must add that she knows that he is a psychopathic murder and knows that if she is caught, she will suffer a fate worse than death.

Maybe it's just me but couldn't she kill him, because I mean nothing is stopping her. He is not so superhuman that she couldn't simply stab him with a knife, and in fact I don't think he has any power at all.Another factor is that someone who is practised at killing, who thinks about it all the time, who plans for it and entertains themselves by working through various scenarios continually would be a LOT better at it than someone who decides they need to do it suddenly.

Imagine if it was any other skill - say chess. Even if I'm reasonably smart, if my opponent is a chess fanatic it would be stupid of me to bet my life that I could win a chess game against them. Sure, they aren't superhuman and I'm reasonably capable. But they are a fanatic who thinks and plans chess games every waking moment.

I'm not going to bet my life I could win that game.

So instead I would choose a game that balances the odds in my favour.

And that game is distance. The beauty of Pi-R-squared is that every 10 miles I run means the bad guy will have to search 314 SQUARE miles to find me.

Running and hiding is a smart strategy.

Mac

bearilou
09-16-2009, 03:50 PM
Running and hiding is a smart strategy.

LOL I agree!

But when they do, why does the villain always know exactly where to find them? That always bugs me.

FOTSGreg
09-17-2009, 04:17 AM
Dommo, Some people react because they've been trained to do so and some people react because they just feel it in their bones that it's the right thing to do. Notice that both kinds of people tend to gravitate towards the same sorts of jobs.

I've been trained to respond to emergencies and "interesting" situations. At my current job I'm forbidden from reacting as I've been trained to do. It's very, very difficult to break that habit or that mindset (I run towards a situation, not away from it).

:)

Cyia
09-17-2009, 05:12 AM
I remember reading an article a couple of years ago about the frequency of fight vs. flight. Something like 95% of all people (according to that article anyway) are geared for "flight".

It has to do with the way a person's brain is wired. The overwhelming majority of people "lock up" in a dangerous situation. The default action for that is to run away.

There was a specific example given of a life or death situation that didn't even involve violence against another person. An airplane crashed on the runway and caught fire. The cabin filled with smoke, but the outside was burning. When the emergency teams finally got the flames out, they found that most of the people who died, did so in their seats with the belts still fastened. The few who actually made it out had followed a single man who had survived a fire years before and made a point to check the exit rows when he got on the plane. He was the exception to the chaos and he took as many people with him as would listen, but most were incapable of forward motion, so they simply sat still and waited for help until they passed out from lack of oxygen and died.

Another example was parents who have fled burning houses only to realize on the front lawn that they left their children inside. Some go back at that point, some don't, but at the point they ran none of them registered that they even had kids.

Ironically, the ratio of fight/flight wasn't the same in children/adolescents. They were statistically more likely to stand their ground or see to the safety of others than their "mature" counterparts.

For myself, I've been in several situations (due to family health issues, car accidents, etc.) where rendering aid was necessary. I don't panic; it's not in my brain chemistry. When I was about four, I choked on an orange, but reached down my own throat and pulled it out while my parents freaked. I've almost drowned twice. The first time I was (again) around four and sunk to the bottom of the pool off a slide; the second, I was around fifteen and got snagged under a pier. Both times, the instinct to panic never set in.

Sometimes being a freak is a good thing ;)

Dommo
09-17-2009, 06:52 PM
I think that's probably it.

I'm the type who avoids trouble when it seems possible to avoid, but when the shit hits the fan, I tend to be pretty proactive in the situation.

For example last year I was driving to my dad's while following my sister in her focus. Then all of the sudden she lost control and she rolled it at 75mph and crashed into the snow on the side of the road. I immediately hit the brakes, clicked on my hazards and dove into the 4 foot deep snow to see the situation. I walked up to the side of the car and saw that the car was in literally immaculate shape. It had rolled over, gone airborne(like 5 or so feet off the ground), and landed right on its wheels in some deep snow. My sister was completely unhurt although she was shaken, and it had been her fault that she rolled the car because she wasn't paying attention(she hit the rumble strip and over corrected). I wasn't freaking out at all, I just moved quickly, and as soon as saw she was OK, I called my dad to tell him what happened, and then contacted a state trooper to report the accident and to request a tow truck

About a half hour later her car got pulled from the median, and surprisingly was undamaged and she drove it the rest of the 200+ miles to kalamazoo.

jodiodi
09-17-2009, 08:32 PM
I'm pretty calm in emergencies--had to be as a nurse. It's little things that drive me to distraction. Big things, even when they're happening to me, I seem to be pretty calm about.

I was calm through my heart attacks. The first sudden cardiac death I had, I saw it happening on the monitor, felt it, but I was the one telling everyone around me to calm down, that I was fine, I just needed to lie down.

When my husband and I came upon a car stopped by the side of the road in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere, my husband didn't get out until I did. In the headlights, we saw this teenage boy and he was all upset. He told us his brother'd been shot. We were a little skeptical--I mean, here we were in the middle of nowhere. But I called 911 and in the headlights, I saw blood on one side of him. I got out and went to the car and sure enough, his brother was in there, had been shot in the head. He was still alive and I stayed on the phone w/EMS until the ambulance finally got there. I was holding his brain at the exit wound so it wouldn't slide further out. My husband stayed away. He took one look at the guy and gagged. I told him to see to the younger brother. I got the brother to tell me their phone number and called their family for him. Later, we found out the people who'd shot them came back but didn't stop because we were there.

Now if I see a spider, I freak. I'll hurt people in order to get away from it. Fire also scares the crap out of me. I'd make sure I got the dogs and my husband out, but I'd be terrified. When we have flareups in the kitchen, I handle them fine. But a building fire? I'm afraid I'd panic.

Nivarion
09-18-2009, 12:04 PM
My heroine murders someone in the first chapter :D

I read that. It wasn't a real murder. But I've got a real loose definition of murder.


Actually I'm probably going to the book store soon, the Barn and Nobles down the street just got a few.

ETA Oh, it says preordering. The thingymacbober on the link said 2 in stock.

Mela
09-19-2009, 12:32 AM
In a kind of related story, I saw an animated thing on youtube entitled something like "How Lord of the Rings Should Have Ended." After Elron calls the meeting where they decide to destroy the ring, the Eagles - in bomber formation - carry Frodo into Mordor while Aragorn distracts the eye of Sauron. Frodo flies over Mount Doom and drops the ring into the volcano and it's over in five minutes.

Don't ever tell this to a true LOTR fan - they'll lop your head off.
I offered this scenario to a LOTR die hard when the third movie came out and I got an earful, something about how the eagles were too big to fly into Mordor unnoticed (remember you had the Nazgul and Witch King out there with their big flying creatures) And how dare I criticize the book, LOTR die hard read it cover to cover, a gazillion times ...

Well, admittedly, I never got past the first book.

But about the original question: What is the personality of the girl fleeing the evil so and so? That's what should reveal what she is/is not capable of.

Mr Flibble
09-19-2009, 12:50 AM
I read that. It wasn't a real murder. But I've got a real loose definition of murder.


Oh all right. Voluntary manslaughter. Picky picky picky :D

However she does have malice aforethought - Cornered by bad dude she intends to hurt him badly, and bad dude cops it. For the purposes of this thread - she defends herself.

The real murder in cold blood comes later

Nivarion
09-19-2009, 10:00 AM
The real murder in cold blood comes later

GAh can November 1st be any farther away? I shouldn't have read that first chapter.