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Wet Noodle Posse | Blog

Friday, March 13, 2009

Q&A Friday

We hope you're all enjoying March Madness month.
By the way, congratulations to noodlers Terry McLaughlin and Dianna Love who are both finalists for the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence! Terry's A Perfect Stranger finaled in the contemporary series category, and Dianna's Midnight Kiss Goodbye in the Dead After Dark anthology finaled in the novella category.

Our question to explore this Friday is:

How do writers or screenwriters keep readers sympathetic to mad characters? What works for you as a reader or film buff?



At 1:47 PM, Blogger Terry Odell said...

The hero has to have a reason I can support as the underlying motive/cause/factor in whatever negative qualities appear on the surface.

Dexter only kills people who deserve it. If I can agree with what his standards for 'deserve it' are, then I can be on his side.

At 4:01 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

The mad (in this case totally sociopathic) killer I remember best was Ben Wade, played by Russell Crowe in 3:10 to Yuma.

You had to hate this guy every step of the way, and yet... Russell Crowe did a masterful job with an excellent character by carefully releasing tiny, almost microscopic tidbits of his underlying motivation, building and changing to sympathy so slowly you almost couldn't notice the change. He was strong and clearly evil, yet the touches of pathos in those gestures and little releases of information kept the viewer hooked, trying to find out just a little bit more, while rooting for the good guy to win. And by the time the good guy got killed and the bad guy rode off into the sunset on the train, his monumental bad guy personality still intact in every way, you knew he had no capacity to change, ever, no matter how enpathetic you had been tricked into feeling for him.

I remember him far more strongly than I do the Phantom of the Opera, who I think appeals to us for entirely different reasons. We can fall in love with him, but Ben Wade simply holds us hostage.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Delle Jacobs said...

Then there's Sweeney Todd, Demon Barber of Fleet Street. A patently unbelievable story you believe with every breath while you're watching it.

Nobody can do evil, mad pathos the way Johnny Depp can. But he capitalizes on the pain, somehow over-stating and understating at the same time, making Sweeney Todd's deep psychological wounds so excruciating, it's devastatingly hard to accept that nothing can be done to heal this man and turn him around, or take back the devastation he wreaks on others because of his pain.

I think there's something in the hopelessness of these characters that hooks us, because hopelessness is so hard to accept.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Diane Gaston said...

On Mar 23 I'll be discussing How Much Insanity Is Too Much. I'll touch on this topic a bit for both heroes and villains. For heroes, you can't have them be too damages; for villains, you don't want them to become caricatures.

At 11:13 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I agree. I think Dexter works sort of like Robin Hood.

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

Great examples!

At 11:14 AM, Blogger Mo H said...

I can't wait to read that blog!


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