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Old 12-12-2012, 03:55 PM   #1
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My LI eats humans

The title basically sums it up. In my WIP the love interest is the son of a witch and the devil, basically making him a demon and he needs to eat human flesh to survive. It's made very clear that he'd starve without it and that he can't eat anything else. Obviously he prefers to rip it fresh from the living body instead of going to the morgue and feeding on slowly rotting body parts.

He fights about it with the FMC, because she's appalled in the beginning but she's been around a lot of different demons and isn't exactly shocked by it. She's mostly human.

Is that a total no go? Because he doesn't feel remorse, he's not sorry for his victims. And I'm just worried that his eating habits are going to be too big of a problem for readers to like him.
Could you like a character who kills and eats people? (not necessarily in that order)
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:12 PM   #2
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Well it depends on what type of impression you'd like him to make. Think of Damon for vampire diaries, Eric from True Blood. Anne Rice's Lestat. People like them, but most would agree they're 'bad.' When vampires are supposed to be 'good' their either feed on animals or at least don't kill humans.

So you've definitely crossed a line by making murder his only choice. Not to mention (if he appears human) there will be the icky cannibalism aspect. Because drinking blood can be sexy but taking a bite out of someone's ass cheek and then chewing and then swallowing is uhhh.

All that said, if he only kills and eats "bad" people, I could probably get with it. Although it would still be hard for me to imagine him as a love interest because what if he doesn't floss and kisses her and she gets a piece of someone's earlobe in her mouth. Also what does he do with the remains? Does he eat it all? Does he keep skin and deep fry it to make rinds? Does he butcher it for consumption or just bite into arms and legs and chew?

Wait I don't need to know the answers to any of these questions. They are just things that would cross my mind if a hot guy was all "I slaughter and eat human beings"
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:14 PM   #3
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Ok..... now I feel sick......
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:40 PM   #4
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I suppose it could work for those who like their romance very dark. For the more vanilla among us, maybe not so much.

And as missesdash notes, a Dexter demon could earn more sympathy with the general public.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:47 PM   #5
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This is a definite no for me. Cannibalising innocent people alive is a level of sadistic insanity that renders you an antagonist, not a love interest. If you're willing to horribly mutilate and murder innocent people just to stay alive, and their suffering doesn't even register with you, well, you're an antagonist.
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Old 12-12-2012, 04:56 PM   #6
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I think, it would really depend on how he goes about it. Are you going to be writing scenes that go into graphic detail of every kill he makes? Will it get brought up constantly? Or just mentioned a few times? I'm actually really into morbid/dark kind of things, so I'd totally read it, if the whole atmosphere of the story is dark. I'd be really interested in how you went about it when it could come off as very "cannibalism-like"(which was already mentioned). And that's something a lot of people are going to be turned off by, but people like me are fascinated by.

I think the main dealio would be making him someone readers can sympathize with. Or else they may just hate him, haha.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:03 PM   #7
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I like my stories pretty dark, and I'm a sucker for a bad boy in fiction, but yeah..... I agree that the Dexter route might be needed. I hate the vegan thing in my vampires, but a flesh-eater? Unless he's going after tumors and cancer or something, or eating really, really bad people.....not so much.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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I'm obviously in the minority, because my first thought was literally "Ok. Awesome." And my only misgiving was that maybe the MC would be human and it would be a rehash of the whole "I love you but we can't be together 'cause you make me hungry" non-romantic romantic conflict that's already been well traveled. But I don't get that sense from what you said, so I have no problem.

In addition to making him a "Dexter-demon", you could keep the eating off-screen and just make him so damn charming that readers can't help but like him in spite of his diet.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:12 PM   #9
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I also want to say it totally depends on genre and tone. I can see it as horror or even as a tongue in cheek thing. But I don't think it could ever be "romantic" to me.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:32 PM   #10
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I think the "No Remorse" thing would be the biggest obstacle for me in terms of sympathizing with the character. Psychopathy is a big turn-off for me. I can deal with characters doing horrible things on a regular basis, but I have to see the justification and maybe an inkling of a struggle behind it.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:51 PM   #11
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Wow. My coffee is broken. It let me read the title of this thread to mean that your LI ate hummus.

I almost replied, "Me too!"
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:11 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dancing-drama View Post
The title basically sums it up. In my WIP the love interest is the son of a witch and the devil, basically making him a demon and he needs to eat human flesh to survive. It's made very clear that he'd starve without it and that he can't eat anything else. Obviously he prefers to rip it fresh from the living body instead of going to the morgue and feeding on slowly rotting body parts.

He fights about it with the FMC, because she's appalled in the beginning but she's been around a lot of different demons and isn't exactly shocked by it. She's mostly human.

Is that a total no go? Because he doesn't feel remorse, he's not sorry for his victims. And I'm just worried that his eating habits are going to be too big of a problem for readers to like him.
Could you like a character who kills and eats people? (not necessarily in that order)
Okay, he is the son of a witch and a devil, which makes him, demi-demon? So, would this make him have 'some' humanity in him? If so, then you may very well have him feel some remorse about what he has to do. If not, oh well. Such is life.

I would advise keeping any graphic scenes of him having lunch off screen. Sorta like "I've fed, I'm good to go" if you even need to do that. Some people will be very turned off by this type of thing. Others will embrace it. Me personally, it really depends on how good the book is.

I mean, there was mentioned about mutilation and murder, but vampires essentially do that very thing every time they feed (this is old school vamps I'm talking about). The only difference I see between the old school vamps and this LI is he isn't doing it with style and charisma.

Of course, eating bad people would probably make folks happier. I just hope in the course of his dietary explorations, he finds a couple of super goodie two shoes who love nothing more than to try to pass laws for their own personal agenda and has a feast on them. (That last sentence is a personal opinion..sometimes I go off on tangents)
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:22 PM   #13
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Although my first response, to be honest, was revulsion, my second is that your scenario isn't that different from vampires, who feast on humans but can still be lovable on some level--Anne Rice's vampires spanned a wide range from vile to noble. Still, I think a lot depends on who he victimizes. If he's murdering and eating children or other innocents, only fellow demons could love him; humans tend to frown on that sort of thing.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:48 PM   #14
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I don't know if I could get past that.

I can't explain why, exactly. I can handle vampires that feed on human blood, but actually chowing down on human parts is too icky.

There's not enough toothpaste in the world to make kissing him seem OK to me.

Does he have to actually eat flesh to move the plot forward? What if he consumed human "life energy" or something less... visceral.
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Old 12-12-2012, 06:52 PM   #15
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I have to disagree with those that say if he only eats "bad" people, it would be more palatable (hah!). I confess, I've never seen Dexter, but I could never buy the whole bit in Twilight where Edward's period of "darkness" was ultimately okay because he only attacked nasty, evil people. For the character to say, "it's okay -- I only kill people when I decide they don't deserve to live" doesn't cut it as a justification, IMO. There was a similar thing in a recent Vampire Diaries episode: an unrepentant murderer sacrificed for a good cause? How convenient.

There may be other ways to make the killing part work in a way that's disturbing, but not completely repulsive. The eating, though? I'm not so sure.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:12 PM   #16
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I must be weird, because I would be totally okay with this. Then again, I love psychopaths and villainous types who aren't the villain. Or are the villain but still love the MC. Like the antagonist in LJ Smith's Forbidden Game trilogy, whose name I just forgot.

Of course one of my LIs is also a demon who used to eat people on a regular basis and enjoy it. He's broken now and doesn't do that, but he did. So that might make me a bit more sympathetic.
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Old 12-12-2012, 07:39 PM   #17
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He is a sociopathic, violent murderer. If I am meant to like him, or the girl that likes him... Yes, for me this would be a problem. A big one.

Especially the authorial angle that "of course" he prefers to rip the flesh off live, presumably terrified and suffering, people. I would find both characters disgusting as one doesn't need to kill and chooses to, and the other seems to consider this a minor relationship annoyance, like leaving the toilet seat up.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:11 PM   #18
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My initial reaction is, "Haven't we done this before?" Wouldn't really bother me that much. The "no remorse" thing is the only problem. I'm curious why he's so deliberately sadistic about it. So I have to ask: What does your MC see in this guy? How does she fall for him in spite of the mass-murdering without remorse? Don't say "He's hot."
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:18 PM   #19
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Yea. There would have to be some really good reasons for her to like him. Even then, as a reader, I would still see him more as an antagonist and probably like the MC less if she was into him.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:21 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Could you like a character who kills and eats people? (not necessarily in that order)
Only if they're bad. LOL (Sounds like a line from Arnold Schwazenegger in the movie, True Lies) Seriously, the reason the show Dexter works and has you actually cheering for a serial killer is because he only kills people who are truly evil and sick. Not saying that Dexter is not evil and sick in his own ways, but when he kills a child molester or a man/woman who likes to slash his victims in some strange ritual so they can die a slow death or some crazy psychopath who thinks it's okay to torture and murder prostitutes because his father slept with one and the mother found out and it broke up their happy little home, then you can't help but cheer Dexter on to kill those Mother effers!

I don't have a hard time getting behind a character who needs to eat living flesh for survival. What I would have a problem with is him having no remorse about taking innocent lives and killing good people for his food source. I would much prefer that he make the choice to feed off people that I would see as being undeserving of life (of course, that can vary in opinion). Or maybe if one of his victims was a really good person, but he was starving and reacted on an impulse he lost control of, but then felt REALLY bad about it, I could be forgiving (the first time). But to just close his eyes and randomly pick his next meal from a crowd at the mall or supermarket parking lot, or outside a movie theater? Yeah, I'd have no interest in reading that.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:45 PM   #21
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Well...

To the question, "Could you like a character who kills and eats people?" the answer is yes. Not only can, but do. I love Hannibal Lecter. I love Pennywise. I love the zombie characters in Night of the Comet, Return of the Living Dead, and The Dead Hate the Living. My own MG story prominently features a disease that turns friendly monsters into cannibals driven to eat not only people but each other, and I freely admit to my author-crush on Vorticose (that's why I try to limit his role. I know he's an author's darling). And I have to admit, when I read the subject heading, "My LI eats people," my first thought was also "Awesome."

However, would I like this character? That depends a lot on the tone. Is this a Braindead-style dark comedy? A House of 1000 Corpses-style refuge-in-audacity joint? If so, sure. However, it'd be a lot harder to pull off in a Beautiful Creatures or Cassie Claire kind of setup. IMHO.
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Old 12-12-2012, 09:53 PM   #22
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Can he eat undead human flesh, like vampires or zombies? Maybe he could try to pass himself off as a vampire slayer or zombie hunter to win the girl's sympathy. As long as she chooses to ignore that poster of Hannibal Lector on his bedroom wall.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:47 PM   #23
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Hmmm... see, I can buy him having no remorse and still enjoy him as a character. If he's shown as thinking of it as just a natural predator/prey relationship, I'm down with that. He's a demon, after all. And I guess if she's got a drop of demon blood, that's why he's into her, in spite of her basically being prey to him?

But, if she's more human than demon, she's got to be extremely conflicted for this to work for me. Conflicted to the point where I'd probably lose most or all of my interest for her character if she stayed with him in the end.
Unless the purpose of the book is charting her descent. I mean, then it's got kind of a Lost Souls (by Poppy Z. Brite) vibe, where one of the main characters gets into a relationship with a vampire who likes to torture and kill people, including children, without remorse.
But it's not shown as the romance of the century and there's definitely no real HEA ending.
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Old 12-12-2012, 10:56 PM   #24
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For me, I think it depends on the perspective of the story and how they identify themselves.

If we're looking at the world through the eyes of the "monsters," and the monsters don't really identify as human, then it doesn't matter what they eat. This is a wolves' story. I might feel bad for the people, but if I've already attached to the monsters, whatever.

In that case, though, is he with her because he loves a human? Or does he love her despite her being somewhat human?

Like... okay, I eat beef. I don't eat meat that died from natural causes--they were killed for my consumption. I don't really beat myself up about it. (Although, I'm not sure I could do the killing myself. I guess I would if I was hungry enough.) But I can't really imagine myself falling in love with a fellow who was mostly bull. And if I did, I'd probably have trouble, thereafter, killing and eating cattle....it'd be like when I fell in love with that pig-boy and had to give up bacon.

If this is about a mostly human girl with a human perspective, then I'm not sure how to get around the eating humans bit. If she doesn't identify as human, I think it's fine. But if she has any amount of group-identity fueled empathy for her fellow man, then I'm not going to like her if she has no qualms (not that you said she didn't, of course) about dating a serial killer.
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Old 12-12-2012, 11:05 PM   #25
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Wow. I love you guys. There is so much opinion in here, and very different views. But it's nice to know that the idea doesn't spark the hellfire of rejection.

The character in question is definitely not the Dexter type. I have a way too graphic scene, that's totally gonna get edited, where he rips the hearts from a post-clubbing couple's chests. He does go for the good-looking ones. If you count beauty as a mortal sin, I guess he does make the world a better place :P

And no, the MC doesn't only fall for his looks. Which change whichever way he wants btw, because his real appearance has black leathery skin and horns and pointy teeth, and that doesn't exactly scream "kiss me".
Apart from his very demonic and beautiful people-eating side, he is very passionate about art and history and most of all there are certain... family situations, that the MC can relate to very well. They sort of understand each other better than the members of the races they mostly belong to.

And yes, his eating habits are plot relevant and not just there to make everyone uncomfortable. He might eat a few important people. Or he might not. He might eat the MC. Or he might not. Dun dun.

P.S. Don't worry about the flossing. She drinks her fair share of fairy blood, too. And that tastes disgusting.
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