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Villain victorious


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#1 Aaron Bradford Starr

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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

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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

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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?

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#4 Rick Pieters

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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.

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#5 E.B. Black

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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.

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#6 Michael Steven

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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.
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#7 Kristina

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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.
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#8 Peter Burton

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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?

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#9 Aaron Bradford Starr

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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

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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.

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#11 Robin Breyer

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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.

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#12 Tom Preece

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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.




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