Welcome back to another blog hop, with #OpenBook. Here’s this week’s prompt.
Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?
Since I get all my words from the voices in my head, I’ll have to ask them about this one. Perhaps the question should be, “which perspective do I enjoy experiencing the narrative from best?”
I’ve been given stories with both perspectives and while the hero’s journey is a staple, there is something about the villain’s journey as well. It can be refreshing to see the situation through their eyes and can give you a whole new slant to the tale. And, if the villain comes across as loveable or appealing enough, there can still be the thrill of finding out if they will triumph.
In life, good doesn’t always win, neither should it. And writing should reflect that. In my stories, the person who appears to be the hero will not always triumph in the way that convention suggests. There is more than one sort of win, the important thing is the journey. If it’s from good to bad or in the opposite direction is to a certain extent immaterial.
After the dust has settled, what remains of the character defines the journey. They might have lost but become a better person, or won the prize but lost something vital along the way. The prize itself might not turn out to be what was envisaged at the start.
There’s enough in the last paragraph for a whole post!
I’ve also written a multi-viewpoint mini-series of novels (The Rocks of Aserol and A New Life in Ventis), with alternating parts from each of the main characters, interspersed with ensemble sections. Although the story demanded it, I’m pretty sure that these books were influenced by the George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones approach.
I found that describing the action from the villains POV, followed by the hero’s reaction to it, to be a fascinating experience. It gave me a deeper understanding of the way the same event could be viewed from different angles, I can only hope that it did the same for the reader.
I also have one character who has been both hero and villain. Finn Douglas is a man who starts out as a navy pilot and moral, upstanding citizen. By the time the first part of his story (Myra) ends, he’s become Dave Travise, a deserter hiding in a dead man’s shoes and operating on the fringes of legality.
His journey is interesting, to say the least. As we follow it, we see that any random event might trigger a response in him from either side of the coin. He comes to see that morals can be a luxury when you’re trying to stay alive.
His story has developed through the second and subsequent parts of his series. As it has, it’s become ever more clear that, if there’s been one change in his outlook, there could always be another. His alignment, to good or bad is dependant on outside influences.
Just like it is with all of us.
Let me know what you think about this week’s subject.
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