Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#1
Note: I am not going to change my MC's personality because of the results of this thread, just curious.

Hello, as you can guess based on the title, I am here to see how many people share the same views as me. How would you react if the MC of the story you are reading is a person who doesn't care about others unless it benefits her, not shies away from torturing/threatening/killing others or doing messed up things to her benefit and has no qualms about betraying/manipulating those who trust her for her own good, someone who regards teammates as a mean to an end? A person whose only goal is to live as she wants even if it hurts others.

Please share your opinions.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#2

As long as he is an asshole/ruthless from the beginning to the end, I have no problem with it. 
But if your mc is shifting between being nice/ and being ruthless, I will most likely cringe at your entire story (Those who've seen the last season of Tensura know what I referring to). 
If you're mc is an asshole/evil, fine, but keep him like that till the end just don't shift midway, be consistent.
DrakanWine


Of it's nice to see a nice guy slowly a ruthless monster too due to suffering and pain (just like my MC).

Personally, my favorite type of MC is the one who slaughters everything on his way thinking completely convinced that he is in the right (those who've read kumo desu knows what I'm referring to ). 

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#3

OrenonawaSteevie Wrote: As long as he is an asshole/ruthless from the beginning to the end, I have no problem with it. 
But if your mc is shifting between being nice/ and being ruthless, I will most likely cringe at your entire story (Those who've seen the last season of Tensura know what I referring to). 
If you're mc is an asshole/evil, fine, but keep him like that till the end just don't shift midway, be consistent.
DrakanWine


Of it's nice to see a nice guy slowly a ruthless monster too due to suffering and pain (just like my MC).

Personally, my favorite type of MC is the one who slaughters everything on his way thinking completely convinced that he is in the right (those who've read kumo desu knows what I'm referring to ).
Beginning to end and not going to change, those values are etched to her core because she was trained to be like that from childhood in her past life. And yes, a sudden shift from "evil" to nice is cringeworthy and even dropworthy unless it is a manipulation tactic.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#4
TBH, I probably wouldn't be very interested. 

I actually knew a guy who was a bit like that. (Well, maybe not quite that extreme, but he just did what he wanted whenever he wanted to, and if he ever killed and tortured he got away with it.) Oddly enough he was among the most simple, boring, and mediocre people I ever met. All he wanted to do was to watch animal gore videos and get high. You know that marshmallow experiment they did with kids, where if they waited five minutes without eating the marshmallow, they got two marshmallows? And then the ones that had the discipline to wait were the ones that got successful later in life? This guy was the epitome of the opposite of that. Dude just did what he wanted, he had NO discipline, and he amounted to nothing more than a bad example. We're pretty sure he impulsively robbed the wrong guy and ended up a corpse or something like that. He was just dysfunctional. 

On the other hand, some of the darkest people I've ever known were also among the nicest. They were genuinely interesting people. One guy I met was a sadist who played death metal and laughed when he ran over animals with his car, but otherwise he was actually super kind and got everyone to laugh. He was honest about his hobbies so people could avoid him if they wanted to. Another person I actually really liked was a diagnosed psychopath. That guy was selfish to his core and he too was honest about that, but he acted very selflessly, because he didn't want to become like that first guy I mentioned. Altrusim became his tool of self discipline and self preservation in the face of a character trait that could've easily rendered him a complete waste of humanity. 

These are things that made them interesting to be around. People who have completely let their morals go are on the other end of the spectrum from goody two shoes, and they're boring for the same reason. They're predictable. One-dimensional. Dull, and often genuinely dumb. 

Someone who leans heavily towards immorality and selfishness can be very, very interesting as a character. But they do need at least something that keep them functional. Some kind of moral code, even if it's twisted. "Doing what you want, now" just means getting caught, and getting caught really quickly. 

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#6

Haust Wrote: TBH, I probably wouldn't be very interested. 

I actually knew a guy who was a bit like that. (Well, maybe not quite that extreme, but he just did what he wanted whenever he wanted to, and if he ever killed and tortured he got away with it.) Oddly enough he was among the most simple, boring, and mediocre people I ever met. All he wanted to do was to watch animal gore videos and get high. You know that marshmallow experiment they did with kids, where if they waited five minutes without eating the marshmallow, they got two marshmallows? And then the ones that had the discipline to wait were the ones that got successful later in life? This guy was the epitome of the opposite of that. Dude just did what he wanted, he had NO discipline, and he amounted to nothing more than a bad example. We're pretty sure he impulsively robbed the wrong guy and ended up a corpse or something like that. He was just dysfunctional. 

On the other hand, some of the darkest people I've ever known were also among the nicest. They were genuinely interesting people. One guy I met was a sadist who played death metal and laughed when he ran over animals with his car, but otherwise he was actually super kind and got everyone to laugh. He was honest about his hobbies so people could avoid him if they wanted to. Another person I actually really liked was a diagnosed psychopath. That guy was selfish to his core and he too was honest about that, but he acted very selflessly, because he didn't want to become like that first guy I mentioned. Altrusim became his tool of self discipline and self preservation in the face of a character trait that could've easily rendered him a complete waste of humanity. 

These are things that made them interesting to be around. To me, characters who have completely let their morals go are on the other end of the spectrum from goody two shoes, and they're boring for the same reason. They're predictable. One-dimensional. Dull. 

Someone who leans heavily towards immorality and selfishness can be interesting as a character. But they do need at least something that keep them functional. Some kind of moral code, even if it's twisted. "Doing what you want" just means getting caught, and quickly.
I didn't mean in the sense you understood. She plans everything thoroughly and doesn't choose immorality for the sake of it like the guy you knew (seems like he did it only for the sake of being mean) but only when it benefits her. In the same sense, she will choose morality if it benefits her.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#7

NinaWrites Wrote: Well is your character a psychopath? I mean if she is, then I guess that makes sense if she just kills everything with no regret, and is cruel and etc. That character would make a good villain MC. 

But some readers wouldn't want to root for this character.
I won't call her a psychopath, she is trained to be like that. She can differentiate between right and wrong, and will choose between what benefits her more. You can say she is more manipulative and lacks empathy.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#8

UnrestrainedElder Wrote:
NinaWrites Wrote: Well is your character a psychopath? I mean if she is, then I guess that makes sense if she just kills everything with no regret, and is cruel and etc. That character would make a good villain MC. 

But some readers wouldn't want to root for this character.
I won't call her a psychopath, she is trained to be like that. She can differentiate between right and wrong, and will choose between what benefits her more. You can say she is more manipulative and lacks empathy.


Okay, so if she is trained to do what is right and wrong, to what means? A psychopath can also be taught what not to do in society. 

The way you were describing your MC sounded like someone who completely lacked any sort of morals. Someone who will always put herself over others. Yoy said she has no qualms in betraying, killing, torturing, and betraying if it benefits her. 

If there was a circumstance where her action is considered wrong, but she still does it because it benefits her - AND she feels nothing for it, does that not make her psychotic? Lol 

Like Haust said, you can write your character to be cold and ruthless but even that MC needs to abide by some moral code. Otherwise you are sort of alienating the readers, in my opinion. I rather read an MC that was cold and struggled due to the trauma of her past of having having be cold and ruthless then go one a character arc that tries to be "human" - and that means being able to connect with others. 

Ofc that's just my opinion, I haven't read your story nor do I know nothing about your MC other than the blurb  from your post. If your current reader loves her, then you are clearly doing something right! 😊

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#9

UnrestrainedElder Wrote: Note: I am not going to change my MC's personality because of the results of this thread, just curious.

Hello, as you can guess based on the title, I am here to see how many people share the same views as me. How would you react if the MC of the story you are reading is a person who doesn't care about others unless it benefits her, not shies away from torturing/threatening/killing others or doing messed up things to her benefit and has no qualms about betraying/manipulating those who trust her for her own good, someone who regards teammates as a mean to an end? A person whose only goal is to live as she wants even if it hurts others.

Please share your opinions.


Hmm, unless the MC has a deep reason for doing that, and with a clear goal, I think it is still acceptable.

But without that I think the MC won't have a chance to grow, for better or worse.

I do have a sociopath in my story who is a part of the MC's party. Manipulative, cruel, remorseless. would do anything to further his own agenda.

A lot of people seem to like him. He is loyal to the MC because MC could provide him with what he lacks. I suppose even that is a goal

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#10

NinaWrites Wrote:
UnrestrainedElder Wrote:
NinaWrites Wrote: Well is your character a psychopath? I mean if she is, then I guess that makes sense if she just kills everything with no regret, and is cruel and etc. That character would make a good villain MC. 

But some readers wouldn't want to root for this character.
I won't call her a psychopath, she is trained to be like that. She can differentiate between right and wrong, and will choose between what benefits her more. You can say she is more manipulative and lacks empathy.


Okay, so if she is trained to do what is right and wrong, to what means? A psychopath can also be taught what not to do in society. 

The way you were describing your MC sounded like someone who completely lacked any sort of morals. Someone who will always put herself over others. Yoy said she has no qualms in betraying, killing, torturing, and betraying if it benefits her. 

If there was a circumstance where her action is considered wrong, but she still does it because it benefits her - AND she feels nothing for it, does that not make her psychotic? Lol 

Like Haust said, you can write your character to be cold and ruthless but even that MC needs to abide by some moral code. Otherwise you are sort of alienating the readers, in my opinion. I rather read an MC that was cold and struggled due to the trauma of her past of having having be cold and ruthless then go one a character arc that tries to be "human" - and that means being able to connect with others. 

Ofc that's just my opinion, I haven't read your story nor do I know nothing about your MC other than the blurb  from your post. If your current reader loves her, then you are clearly doing something right! 😊
Psychopaths aren't evil, they can't differntiate between right and wrong due to being born morally depraved iirc. My character killed the moral code. Also thank you for your opinion.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#11

DrunkMinstrel Wrote:
UnrestrainedElder Wrote: Note: I am not going to change my MC's personality because of the results of this thread, just curious.

Hello, as you can guess based on the title, I am here to see how many people share the same views as me. How would you react if the MC of the story you are reading is a person who doesn't care about others unless it benefits her, not shies away from torturing/threatening/killing others or doing messed up things to her benefit and has no qualms about betraying/manipulating those who trust her for her own good, someone who regards teammates as a mean to an end? A person whose only goal is to live as she wants even if it hurts others.

Please share your opinions.


Hmm, unless the MC has a deep reason for doing that, and with a clear goal, I think it is still acceptable.

But without that I think the MC won't have a chance to grow, for better or worse.

I do have a sociopath in my story who is a part of the MC's party. Manipulative, cruel, remorseless. would do anything to further his own agenda.

A lot of people seem to like him. He is loyal to the MC because MC could provide him with what he lacks. I suppose even that is a goal
She never does things without substance, if killing X doesn't benefit her she won't do it. Thank you for your opinion.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#12

UnrestrainedElder Wrote: Note: I am not going to change my MC's personality because of the results of this thread, just curious.

Hello, as you can guess based on the title, I am here to see how many people share the same views as me. How would you react if the MC of the story you are reading is a person who doesn't care about others unless it benefits her, not shies away from torturing/threatening/killing others or doing messed up things to her benefit and has no qualms about betraying/manipulating those who trust her for her own good, someone who regards teammates as a mean to an end? A person whose only goal is to live as she wants even if it hurts others.

Please share your opinions.


I think there are readers that enjoy the cold blooded sort of mc, but personally I think those sort of mc's can be a bit one dimensional if there isn't any sort of change in their character throughout their journey. 

Imagine a character is a blank page. You draw a few lines on it. That's your character. Now you take that piece of paper and stare at it for hours on end without changing anything on that paper. It's going to get boring right? It's like watching paint dry. Now if new lines, colors, or images appear on that piece of paper (character changing) then you keep watching to see what happens next.

I get where people are saying that the character should be consistent, but I think that's only if the main character has something else other then just being "cold blooded and dark" going for them. If everything they do is only for their own benefit, they never make any allies, never stay loyal to anything, never have any type of moral code, never show themselves in at least one relatable light to the readers, then what is the point of the character? To be dark and edgy? To just be there to write 100+ chapters of cold personality, murder hobo stuff, and tragedy?

Most popular "anti-heros" or "dark" characters have something else to offer readers other then just being ruthless. John Wick was presented as pretty human in the first movie before he well all badass on the other characters. Lelouch from Code Geass (anime) and Light from Death Note (anime version, not the bad Netflix adaptation) both started with understandable and relatable goals, along with compelling internal and external conflicts presented to both characters to keep things fresh. Even in a series like Game of Thrones, there were many selfish, self-serving characters who could be compelling, or even sympathetic for the reader (or watcher) at times.

Characters evolving and changing over the course of story arcs is far more interesting then a static badass character.

Basically, even if the character is "dark" don't let it be "static".

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#13
Depends on their reasons for acting in such a way. I absolutely adore characters like Lelouch from Code Geass and Char from Gundam who will do anything to make their vision of the world real. The reasons don't have to be hyper complex but grounded in some sort of reality and relatability, something that makes me believe if someone else was in a similar circumstance then they could potentially end up like them. Characters with mental problems like Toko from danganronpa are interesting too. But if a character is edgy for the sake of being edgy then it's not cool or interesting at all, and the stories that have this murderous MC archetype bend the story to accommodate the character rather than vice versa. The supporting casts also play a part in showing other sides of the 'dark' MC like how they thinking and perceive the world. Most dark and edgy stories aren't putting in the effort portraying their dark MCs in an interesting manner.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#14
Highly depends, if the protagonist is written as a sociopath then they should act like it in all aspects of their life. The way they think should show that as well. If they are not sociopathic per se, but do what they do because they must then the writting should highlight that alongside the conflict that such a mindset creates.

If the mc is just a murder hobo for no other reason than because the story wills it then they just fall into cliché, being apathetic to the deaths or pain of people is the norm in fantasy writting, it’s not the exception.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#15
It’s a toss-up. Genuinely evil characters can be exciting and fresh, but only if presented with nuance; imo, something as simple as ‘she was trained to ignore morality’ would instantly turn me off. It seems like a cop-out from my perspective to allow the author to get away with writing edgy content for no reason other than to put it on display. Villains with some nuance and intrigue are far more interesting than just bog-standard ‘I do bad things cause it benefits me’ type characters. 

While people like this may exist irl, that doesn’t mean they’re interesting - even serial killers have M.O.’s, something that drives them, a specific way of doing things. Some of the greatest villains in real world history were so evil because of the prominent viewpoints and ideals they held; those who did what they were told and didn’t care about morality are more often than not delegated to becoming footnotes, merely grunts for the actual players.

And so personally, while I do enjoy villainous protags or just evil characters in general, I wouldn’t touch your novel with a 10-foot pole if your character’s most defining facet was as you’ve described above. It sounds edgy for the sake of edginess, and lacks the theatrical subtlety and sense of genuine personhood that makes classic villains great. It would come off, to me, as an excuse to omit said nuance in the actual writing, instead allowing them to always take the path of least resistance and act as flimsy justification to have them do whatever they auteur is feeling at the time.

However… I will add a side note. If I was confident that the character you’ve described in your initial post was still written well, I might be able to get past it - after all, similar characters (Dio from JJBA: Phantom Blood comes to mind) have existed before and been interesting. However, most of these characters are (firstly) insane or otherwise neurotic to the point of evil, and (secondly) driven to perform evil by passion rather than just, well, ‘I was trained to have no morals… I’ll do whatever it takes to get what I want…’

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#16
I like dark, I don't like dark written by people with the intention of being dark or evil. 

Your perception of evil speaks only about yourself. The traits you consider evil, reveal your own insecurities, nothing else.

Whenever an author creates a character to make them "evil" he only reveals to the reader a strawman of traits and behaviors that hurt him personally at some point in his life, nothing more.

Example: personally, I wouldn't consider the strawman you presented in the op as "evil", because I don't see selfishness and lack of empathy as evil. But you clearly do, OP.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#17

Sake Wrote: I like dark, I don't like dark written by people with the intention of being dark or evil. 

Your perception of evil speaks only about yourself. The traits you consider evil, reveal your own insecurities, nothing else.

Whenever an author creates a character to make them "evil" he only reveals to the reader a strawman of traits and behaviors that hurt him personally at some point in his life, nothing more.

Example: personally, I wouldn't consider the strawman you presented in the op as "evil", because I don't see selfishness and lack of empathy as evil. But you clearly do, OP.
Where did I ever write evil? I only wrote dark. I also don't consider any of these traits as evil as well. I just said I prefer this kind of traits in the MCs I read about.

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#18

UnrestrainedElder Wrote:
Sake Wrote: I like dark, I don't like dark written by people with the intention of being dark or evil. 

Your perception of evil speaks only about yourself. The traits you consider evil, reveal your own insecurities, nothing else.

Whenever an author creates a character to make them "evil" he only reveals to the reader a strawman of traits and behaviors that hurt him personally at some point in his life, nothing more.

Example: personally, I wouldn't consider the strawman you presented in the op as "evil", because I don't see selfishness and lack of empathy as evil. But you clearly do, OP.
Where did I ever write evil? I only wrote dark. I also don't consider any of these traits as evil as well. I just said I prefer this kind of traits in the MCs I read about.

my bad, I stand corrected and I am shamed

Re: Questions to readers about darker type of MCs

#19
I'm personally not against any specific behavior, as long as there is a good reason for why a characters behaves that way. 
Having that reason be: psychopath... meh... that feels real lazy to me. If on the other hand there was some background story about abuse/neglect/..., which ended up strongly influencing how the protagonist behaves and acts, it would be fine.

Hell, a psychopath can even be fine, as long as the actual issue is explored properly and it wasn't just: he killed them because he's a psychopath [full stop]. 
If I remember correctly, there is even a half decent series of novels with a (sort of)psychopath protagonist in roughly this genre. I believe it was called "dungeon defender" or "dungeon defense"  or something along those lines. You'll have to look it up if you're interested.

Experience however shows that these dark/evil characters often don't turn out too well. So unless you yourself have these desires and/or have experience in this field, you'll need to do quite a bit of research to make something like this believable.