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Fantasy War Dilemma

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Fantasy War Dilemma

Postby JGC137 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 4:57 am

Hello all =) Here is my dilemma, in typical fantasy stories, the good guy always has a bad guy, but what if the story is from the bad guy point of view, how would you go about it?

Example: Your main character is a werewolf and is 'evil'. Your enemies are either vampires or humans.

Now what thoughts come to mind to create a not to neither typical nor boring 'war' between them?
[font=Helvetica]J.G.C. - 'love & hate, too close'[/font]
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Re: Fantasy War Dilemma

Postby The Master » Sun Feb 22, 2009 6:33 pm

Well given the prominence of the Underworld series I personally would shy away from a "war" between Vampires and Werewolves.

To be honest I think that modern storytelling is best when the idea of "good verses evil" isn't clearcut. For a children's book that distinction is certainly more useful and appropriate, but adults see shades of grey and modern stories tend to show both aspects. Heck, even Darth Vader turned out to be redeemable in the end! The real bottom line is that as the author what is good and what is evil is entirely up to you!

There are a number of works that are told from the "evil" character's perspective. Anne Rice's Vampire novels are a good example of reader's perspective altering our perception of a character's role. Interview with the Vampire uses Louis' regrets about his existence as a vampire to make him more sympathetic, therefore more accessible, to the reader. In that book the character of Lestat is the clear anti-hero of the story and shows few if any redeeming qualities. However, in The Vampire Lestat we have an autobiography of Lestat himself over the course of his entire life (and undeath) not just the portion of it spent with Louis. We find that he is far more conflicted with more complex motivations than Louis' perception led us to believe, transforming him from anti-hero into more of a tragic hero. In Queen of the Damned the roles shift further. The character of Akasha is "more evil" than Lestat, which allows Lestat to become the true hero of the story.

The character of Angel from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer series is a good example of using outside influences as a creative way to transform an evil character into a good one. By having his soul returned Angel alone among vampires feels the guilt of his actions and he is driven to help others as a form of self imposed restitution for his past sins. Later in the series technological intervention (a restrictive chip implanted in his brain) transforms the very evil Spike from arch nemesis into a reluctant assistant to the heroine.

So how should you proceed? Well, I think an important step is to think about the perspective of each main character individually. Why do they take the actions that they take? Can you make the reader sympathize with those reasons? If there is a war those tend to persist because each side views their goals/opinions/values/etc. to be the correct ones. These motivations can easily override the standard expectations the reader might have of a vampire or other "monster". With a werewolf you have the added ability to have their human form be more of a good character driven by the own free will, while their wolf character is more evil because of the actions it takes driven by instinct. So think about what innate qualities the race has and how that might influence not only their behavior but also the reader's acceptance of it as appropriate.

Some questions you may want to ask yourself to narrow down how you want to proceed: Is defining one side or the other as good or evil necessary to advance your story? Why are your races fighting each other? How long has it been going on? Has it been so long that the original reason is irrelevant? What is at stake if one side or the other wins? If you are not a member of those races what is at stake for you? In your world what exactly defines moral behavior anyway? Is there a god or religion that defines morality? If so is that based on a real world religion or one of your own creation? Is it on earth or another planet? What time period is this in? What is the state of the world? Is this a secret war taking place without the knowledge of the "normal" masses, or an open war tearing the world apart? By defining your setting clearly you will be better able to define the roles of your characters within it.

I hope that is helpful :)
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Re: Fantasy War Dilemma

Postby JGC137 » Sun Feb 22, 2009 8:58 pm

Wow :shock: Thank you so much for taking the time to help me.
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