View Full Version : A story with no REAL good guy...?

Project nachonaco
12-18-2007, 02:03 AM
I don't think there's really any GOOD character in my novel. Pretty much, everyone's either screwed someone over or killed someone.

One of them is a selfish, self-pitying woman that lost her leg in a war but gave up her niece ('her' only child) so she could participate in war.

The niece is a self-pitying but not entirely selfish girl who may or may not have Asperger's syndrome, and kills said aunt.

A third character is a young woman (18 or so), who kills two or three people for no apparent reason. She has a complete God complex and is...insane. And redheaded.

A fourth character, yet another chick, is in her 50s, egocentric, and has run a government program that recruits child soldiers.

A fifth character is a man who beats his wife (first character I mentioned) mercilessly, and kills her brother.

The brother of said above character is a literary agent who wants to bring down said government program just to make a few thousand bucks.

The next character is a woman who's an assassin to Government Chick. She enjoys...reading. When she's not killing people.

The next character is a guy who's been with said program since birth. He's a complete psychotic/manic-depressive dude. He scares me and turns me on at the same time (dude, that's another thread)...

The last character is an author who works for the literary agent and does not kill people, or dies, etc. She just writes and tries to survive and bring down the company. I think if anyone, SHE'S probably the good guy, but she MAY or MAY NOT be involved in an affair with her literary agent.

What do you guys think?

12-18-2007, 02:08 AM
Sounds like a typical day in TIO.

12-18-2007, 02:12 AM
Sounded to me a bit like "American Beauty"

Project nachonaco
12-18-2007, 02:16 AM
Sounded to me a bit like "American Beauty"

Actually I was thinking Drop Dead Gorgeous...

12-18-2007, 02:41 AM
One of my best friends loves the anime "Beserk".

At one point, I pointed out to him that none of the characters were "good guys". He said, "Yes, they are! Gatz is a good guy!" (In the American version, he's called Guts.)

I said, "He loves killing people on a battlefield because when he's in that mode, he doesn't think, he just kills. And he's a mercenary who kills whomever he's paid to kill with no worries about right or wrong."

"Er, yeah," he said. "But that's just because of his upbringing. I mean, he's not really a bad guy, he just--"

"Loves to kill?"

"Well, yeah."


I have a point here. Really I do.

The point is, people don't have to think a character is a "good guy" to be interested in them. The main character can be a homicidal maniac and the audience will stay interested, provided you get them emotionally invested, for good or bad, in the character. I read a story not too long ago about Snuff, the dog of Jack the Ripper. I think the book was called "Lonesome October" or something like that. Anyway, it was a great book, and you find yourself rooting for the dog, and by extension, Jack.

I'm not normally the sort of person who would touch a book about Jack the Ripper with a ten foot pole. I don't care how he's presented, I find him disgusting and don't care to read about him. But in this book...well, it was different. In this book, I not only ended up rooting for Jack, but hoping he got the girl.

Perhaps I should rephrase that. :D

I mean, hope he ended up dating the girl who emerged as a love interest midway through the story. But you get my point.

12-18-2007, 02:55 AM
Good and bad aside, it certainly sounds intriguing.

Project nachonaco
12-18-2007, 03:19 AM
Yeah, I hope everyone has as fun a time reading it as I did writing it.

I had to create a freakin' FLOW CHART to detail who killed who. :D

12-18-2007, 03:39 AM
I just finished The Egyptologist by Arthur Phillips, a very acclaimed novel that both my husband and I loved. All characters were spectacularly flawed, to put it mildly.

12-19-2007, 02:06 AM
Wow, there's a lot going on here. I'm not sure I see what the problem is based on these character descriptions.

You seem to be saying that a real good guy can't be a flawed character. Seems to me that all good guys have to have flaws to be interesting.

That said, you have at least one straight-down-the-middle good guy here. The writer trying to bring down the company. You don't get much purer than that, even with an affair. Besides, the literary agent can share her noble goal even if his motives are bad. (Uh, or are bringing down the company and bringing down the gov't program two different things?). Anyway, that's Han Solo and Princess Leia, to use one obvious example. That's two heroes right there -- you don't need any more than that.

(for all literary agents who lurk, I would just like to point out that I am promoting y'all to hero here -- we're all in this together, eh?)

Beyond that, given the number of characters who kill people, it doesn't seem like anyone else will survive long enough to be labeled good or bad. They'll all just be dead.

Sounds like a fun project. Enjoy.

Project nachonaco
12-19-2007, 02:08 AM

Well, three characters (maybe 4) survive, so...

12-19-2007, 03:13 AM
Well, how many real-life people are TRULY unvarnished "good guys" when you include everything they've done?

I'm a pretty nice person, overall. I have two furkids that I lavish love and care on, I donate to homeless people and animal shelters, I'm a fairly decent partner to my BF, I'm non-materialistic, and I spend a lot of time trying to convince folks who don't seem to know better that homophobia, racism, and bigotry of any sort really are bad things.

On the other hand, I appropriate a lot of the time my boss pays me for for unauthorized activities (like posting on AW). I hate children. And if I found a bottle of prescription painkillers on the sidewalk, I'd be mighty tempted to keep it.

Granted, your characters are more extreme in their behavior, but they are people and people, as I hope I've been able to get across, are not black-and-white. Even serial killers have some redeeming qualities.

And just for my money, I prefer stories where people are truly people, not black-and-white caricatures of people.