Jump to content


- - - - -

Villain victorious

  • Please log in to reply
11 replies to this topic

#1 Aaron Bradford Starr

Aaron Bradford Starr

    Penguin Rustler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,225 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've published short stories, paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, Black Gate Online, Stupefying Stories, and Rampant Loon Press.

Posted 27 March 2012 - 03:44 PM

How does your protagonist like the taste of total failure? After all the challenges are met, all of the sacrifices, all of the expectation that they will emerge victorious, to come up short is something few protagonists have to deal with.

Have any of your manuscripts ended in the failure of the protagonist?

#2 Tom Bradley

Tom Bradley

    A big old goober.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,695 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published, unagented, media
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:My indie novels THE KONA SHUFFLE, THE HILO HUSTLE, THE PAHALA TWIST, and THE WAIMEA TWO-STEP are available at Amazon, B&N, Kobo, and CreateSpace.

Posted 27 March 2012 - 04:53 PM

In a way...see, she's a PI hired to track down stolen gems but never truly finds them. What she does do, since she realizes she'll never succeed in the traditional manner, is con several antagonists (who also are on the trail of said gems) into believing THEY have them, when in fact what they have is cheap costume jewelry. To avoid blow-back, she's accumulated enough dirt on these people that even if they decided to go after her, she could drop a dime on them and still come out smelling like roses.

#3 S Jenan

S Jenan

    Even my dreams are third person past tense.

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,036 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Southwest
  • Publishing Experience:None.

Posted 27 March 2012 - 05:39 PM

I don't know if my protagonist in Cipher fails, exactly, but he certainly doesn't get what he was after--the girl, the money, his identity--and his face and body are somewhat... redecorated.

But he's alive, and morally transformed. That's something, right?

WIP - Black Sea. It's not about the Black Sea.

Twitter: @sljenan Follow my ongoing quest to tweet that elusive 141st character...


Blog: The Slosh Pile More alcohol stuff than writer stuff. Wait, alcohol stuff IS writer stuff...

#4 Rick Pieters

Rick Pieters

    Alien Wrangler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 578 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Midwest
  • Publishing Experience:Short story, "Winter's Birds," in Summer's Double Edge anthology from Elephant's Bookshelf Press. Novel, Dark Light, Originally published by Cliffhanger Press (no longer in business) now self-pubbed and available at all the usual places.

Posted 27 March 2012 - 06:01 PM

Then he didn't fail, did he, S J? Wouldn't total failure place the story in the realm of tragedy (whether of not because of the Greek requisite character flaw)? Certainly many great works end with the protag's failure. A few Shakespeare tales come to mind. Annie Proulx sure didn't let Ennis DelMar win.


"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Blog: Room to Wonder







#5 E.B. Black

E.B. Black

    Veteran Member

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,166 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Southwest

Posted 29 March 2012 - 08:39 PM

Right now I am rewriting greek myths. I'm not actually changing the events of the story so much as I'm writing them so they are viewed in a different way, but it also means, right now, that pretty much all the stories I am writing end tragically.

In my current novel, my main character feels really depressed about it, but has come to terms with it and knows its for the best, but in my other novels, they'll probably not be so lucky. A lot of them are going to wind up depressed or suicidal to the point where they're constantly ill and things like that.

Visit my web-site for links to my twitter, blog, facebook, and a way to e-mail me: http://www.ebblack.com/

Want a FREE novel? Love ROMANCE and GREEK MYTHOLOGY? Then download Pandora's Mistake on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.



#6 Michael Steven

Michael Steven

    Venture far from the Beaten Path

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,299 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Not Published ... yet!

Posted 29 March 2012 - 11:29 PM

With the short story I wrote to take a break from the novels, yes, the main character failed. I wrote an alternate ending for it that left it up in the air. I'll probably go with the alternate. In the novels, the work in progress is a failure, but open ended about it being a happily ever after story.
Let there be light on this planet ... And let it shine through me
Let there be travellers who venture ... Far from the beaten path
And let one of them be me - Jefferson Starship - Champion (unused lyrics)

#7 Kristina


    Vampire in the last life

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 459 posts
  • Literary Status:just starting
  • LocationEurope
  • Publishing Experience:None so far... But if you're psychic, you already know whose book you'll be buying in a few years. :)

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:13 AM

Yes, my protagonist from Incorporeals totally failed. :sad:
Actually, I never let my protagonists win everything they wanted. For the victory in book, they have to pay a huge price. But still, some of them win.
“I am not afraid that the book will be controversial, I’m afraid it will not be controversial.” - Flannery O’Connor

“A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit.” - Richard Bach

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” - Anton Chekhov

Follow me on Twitter

#8 Peter Burton

Peter Burton

    Court Jester and Wanna Be Author

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 2,962 posts
  • Literary Status:emerging, published, self-published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:Self Published

Posted 30 March 2012 - 01:18 PM

I think I cheated there, Arron. As far as the ultimate goal in one of my WIPs, yes, the MC does fail, but doesn't know that to an extent. The failure is something the MC can live with, for the moment. Also the end is a bit open, as in; I have a satisfying ending to the story, but left room for a sequel/series if the story does well.

So, the MC does fail, but does not.

To the point of your question; that is cheating... isn't it?

"But that's OK. There's treasure children always seek to find.

And just like us, you must have had, a Once Upon A Time."

~Elton John

#9 Aaron Bradford Starr

Aaron Bradford Starr

    Penguin Rustler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,225 posts
  • Literary Status:published, unagented
  • LocationUS Northeast
  • Publishing Experience:I've published short stories, paintings, and interior art in Black Gate Magazine, Black Gate Online, Stupefying Stories, and Rampant Loon Press.

Posted 31 March 2012 - 08:49 PM

I'm not sure. My first trilogy, for example, ends with the protagonist winning their initial small-scale goal, but the society they are tasked to defend begins to openly crumble, and the various villains of the piece take positions of power at every level. There is little in the way of large-scale justice. So, my question is sort of about how villains win, rather than about how protagonists fail. It's kind of the opposite side of the same coin, though, so whichever way of looking at it strikes you as more interesting, go for it.

#10 the transylvanian

the transylvanian

    InTown Books

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,406 posts
  • Literary Status:published
  • LocationUS Southeast
  • Publishing Experience:I am the founder of InTown Books, a boutique of fantasy, paranormal, mystery, and historical romance that is dedicated to publishing and promoting authors.

Posted 02 April 2012 - 12:34 PM

I write romance so I may not make my point across sence romances are a must happy endings. In my latest MS, my heroine fought hard and got what she wanted but later on she realized that is not what she wants anymore. At that moment, her victory lost its importance.
So in a way she lost and the villain won.

Imagination is better than knowledge  - Einstein




#11 Robin Breyer

Robin Breyer

    Timelord & Traveler

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 3,900 posts
  • Literary Status:self-published
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Smashwords, Kindle Direct Publishing, Createspace

Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:09 PM

What is victory? I've always been a fan of this saying I picked up from Dr. Who: To lose is to win, and he who wins shall lose. It can mean many things beyond the context I pulled it from. I can't say that I have yet to let the villain win, but I have let them get away. I tend to come up with more stories where the protagonist comes out on top... sort of. Usually the conflict I throw at them might knock them down further than they can get back up.

Website, Blog


Writing as Scott Seldon:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes

Writing as Robert Courtland:
Website, Blog, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and iTunes



#12 Tom Preece

Tom Preece

    Word Warrior

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPip
  • 1,037 posts
  • Literary Status:unagented
  • LocationUS Northwest
  • Publishing Experience:Virtually none. Long long ago in college I was published in a couple of student magazines

Posted 02 April 2012 - 02:38 PM

Hmmm. I think I'm with Robin. My MC spends most of the work finding all possible alternatives to killing people, but ends by threatening to murder. He has failed his apparent objectives, but he has also been transformed into someone who can admit he's now homicidal. Victory depends on your point of view.

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users