This is something I just cannot understand when it comes to writing fiction. What makes a writer decide that we want to follow a bad person around. I’m not talking about someone like a Wolverine who’s just grumpy all the time. That can have it’s charms. I’m talking about genuinely bad people.
I’ve read a couple of books lately that feature differing degrees of bad people. One book wanted me to follow a rapist. One book wanted me to follow a racist. Another book thought it’d be a good idea to make me try and sympathize with a super misogynist and all around bad dude.
I need to know who thinks this is a good idea? I’m not saying every character needs to be the best person ever, but I honestly don’t get the point of spending lots of time with awful awful people. Some books try and acknowledge that these are the bad guys. The problem comes when we know that nothing is going to be done about them being bad. Because this person is the protagonist, we become aware that all of the people who try and curb this person’s actions will fail. Furthermore we want the good people to fail because they’re inhibiting our protagonist from getting what they want. It’s just not a world view I’m a big fan of.
The other thing that happens is the writer will either ignore or try and excuse the actions of our terribly bad character. I just read a whole book where the main character goes around calling people out of their names and being wholly disrespectful just because of their race. Nothing ever comes of it. Nothing is ever said. Then a time comes when something bad happens and I’m all of a sudden suppose to care, and all the emotions fall flat because I’ve spent hundreds of pages not caring at all about this character.
At times though, I’m less worried about the writer who thinks this is a cool and awesome idea and more concerned about the people who volunteer to spend all their time around said racist/sexist/awful person. Who are these people that just love seeing someone be terrible to other people and cheer when the good guys can’t stop them? I dunno it’s just weird to me.