RSS iconTwitter iconFacebook icon

The Trek BBS title image

The Trek BBS statistics

Threads: 137,856
Posts: 5,328,434
Members: 24,554
Currently online: 574
Newest member: Kastrol

TrekToday headlines

Cubify Star Trek 3DMe Mini Figurines
By: T'Bonz on Jul 11

Latest Official Starships Collection Ships
By: T'Bonz on Jul 10

Seven of Nine Bobble Head
By: T'Bonz on Jul 9

Pegg The Prankster
By: T'Bonz on Jul 9

More Trek Stars Join Unbelievable!!!!!
By: T'Bonz on Jul 8

Star Trek #35 Preview
By: T'Bonz on Jul 8

New ThinkGeek Trek Apparel
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7

Star Trek Movie Prop Auction
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7

Drexler: NX Engineering Room Construction
By: T'Bonz on Jul 7

New Trek Home Fashions
By: T'Bonz on Jul 4


Welcome! The Trek BBS is the number one place to chat about Star Trek with like-minded fans. Please login to see our full range of forums as well as the ability to send and receive private messages, track your favourite topics and of course join in the discussions.

If you are a new visitor, join us for free. If you are an existing member please login below. Note: for members who joined under our old messageboard system, please login with your display name not your login name.


Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Fandom > Fan Fiction

Fan Fiction Other forums talk about Trek. We make it.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old October 15 2011, 07:16 AM   #1
Joe Washington
Fleet Captain
 
Location: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
How to write a villain redemptive arc?

What is the best way to write a realistic villain redemptive arc?
Joe Washington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 15 2011, 11:58 AM   #2
Ln X
Fleet Captain
 
Ln X's Avatar
 
Location: The great gig in the sky
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

Well firstly you would need to explain how the villain became a villain in the first place. Also what are his/her motives for doing such evil and bad things? The redemption part is a lot harder, and there can all be sorts of reasons/causes for redemption (or more precisely the character renouncing his/her evil ways). But for a villain redemptive arc you would need one massive story, or lots of stories to really flesh out the villain...

This may seem like a no brainer, but the more planning you do for a character (or villain) then you have a greater idea of where you want to take him/her. Your question is very tricky to answer, and I'd say there is no obvious way of answering it...
__________________
Star Trek: The Approaching Shadow...

Caption contest: DS9
Ln X is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 15 2011, 08:45 PM   #3
Nerys Ghemor
Vice Admiral
 
Nerys Ghemor's Avatar
 
Location: Cardăsa Terăm--Nerys Ghemor
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

Joe Washington wrote: View Post
What is the best way to write a realistic villain redemptive arc?
Assuming you are not writing a satire, or comedic piece, here is the main piece of advice I would have:

Do not hit the "reset" button on people's emotions.

Your villain him/herself will likely have to cope with significant psychological fallout from whatever has occurred--be it possession, bad decisions, addictions, or anything else that may be involved. Your story will feel more realistic if you deal with the consequences rather than handwaving them or shying away from them.

Even if a sudden conversion is involved--and I often point to Saul/Paul of Tarsus in the Bible as a key example of this--you should expect to see some fallout still, both in the individual him/herself, and those around them. If you have ever read the book of Acts, even though it's covered very briefly in a few sentences, notice that initially the repentant Saul was greeted with suspicion by the people he had once persecuted...and this even after Ananias' vision telling him that Saul was now safe.

The traumas that the villain has experienced, and that he or she has caused, do not simply vanish overnight. Conflicted feelings are to be expected in such a situation. How that person, and those around them, deal with those feelings as well as with any lingering issues your former villain may still have (be they material issues or inner, psychological ones such as bad habits, behavior patterns, or addictions) is likely to be a driving force in your plot.

The road to redemption is not an easy one. Proper motivation is required, crimes cannot be erased and justice may still need to be served, and even if physically repaired, the emotional damage is not as easily so. So make sure to pay attention to all of the consequences--not just the fact that your repentant villain has laid down his or her arms, but the unpleasant things that will have to be faced as well.

I definitely don't want to tell you how you should do it. Believable conversions can come as slow disillusionment or as sudden moments where the villain realizes his life has blown apart at the seams and he must make a choice. And the degree of suspicion and hostility can vary. But don't ignore the consequences. Don't ignore the fact that the damage still exists--that the crimes were still done, and that people will still have their feelings about that. How or if you choose to repair those consequences is up to you (and there are plot benefits either way), but the last thing you want to do is pretend they're not there.
__________________
Are you a Cardassian fan, citizen? Prove your loyalty--check out my fanfic universe, Star Trek: Sigils and Unions. Or keep the faith on my AU Cardassia, Sigils and Unions: Catacombs of Oralius!
Nerys Ghemor is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 15 2011, 11:47 PM   #4
sojourner
Vice Admiral
 
sojourner's Avatar
 
Location: I'm at WKRP
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

Don't end it with "NOoooooooo!" and throwing the emperor over a railing.
__________________
Baby, you and me were never meant to be, just maybe think of me once in a while...
sojourner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16 2011, 06:46 PM   #5
Rush Limborg
Vice Admiral
 
Rush Limborg's Avatar
 
Location: The EIB Network
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

I'd like to build on what Ln X said.

Show the villain's backstory--how he/she came to choose the path he/she would travel--the path to villainy.

The key, with this, is to make his/her intentions somehow understandable--sympathetic, in a way. Take Khan's backstory in Greg Cox's excellent Eugenics Wars novels. He saw the disorder around him--the poverty, the hardship--and he resolves to offer the world order, so that no one would suffer those hardships again.

I myself posted in this forum a backstory for Luther Sloan: Passing Of Value.

Now, when you go to the villain's "present", and when you decide to set him/her on the path to redemption--I would recommend you make sure it connects in some way to that backstory. Have him/her reflect on those events, and the decisions he/she made...and reconsider them, as present events make him/her see them in a whole new light.
__________________
"I have been wounded but not yet slain. I shall lie here and bleed awhile. Then I shall rise and fight again."

"Forget it, Jake...it's Chinatown."
Rush Limborg is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 16 2011, 06:57 PM   #6
JarodRussell
Vice Admiral
 
JarodRussell's Avatar
 
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

The thing with redemption is that it's entirely up to the viewer/reader to decide whether the villain character deserves it or not. So don't become too preachy.
__________________
lol
l
/\
JarodRussell is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17 2011, 03:59 AM   #7
Gibraltar
Rear Admiral
 
Gibraltar's Avatar
 
Location: US Pacific Northwest
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

When done well, redemptive arcs can be an especially entertaining and very moving.

I agree with not making the characterís eventual transformation too preachy, as thatís often a turn off for the reader. For a truly misguided or genuinely evil person to change overnight rather strains credulity. Some fundamentally personality shifting events should have to take place over a believable amount of time in order for change of that magnitude to happen, and to become permanent.

Iíve attempted a redemptive arc with one of my primary characters, Pava Laríragos, a 400-year old El-Aurian who led a very difficult and colorful life prior to finding his way across the galaxy to Federation space and eventual service in Starfleet.

Even in his years of Starfleet service, Laríragos has occasionally backslid, allowing himself off the leash when situations became so desperate as to warrant that. He still slips up, still lets his darker nature out to play on occasion, but overall heís still trying to atone for the sins of his past.

I've catalogued some of his more memorable adventures (and misadventures) in a story titled The Long Road.

http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=191
__________________
ST: Gibraltar - The complete series at Ad Astra: ST: Gibraltar
Proud member of United Trek
Gibraltar is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 17 2011, 02:51 PM   #8
CeJay
Commodore
 
CeJay's Avatar
 
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

I've tried my hand at a redemptive story arc myself.

One of my concerns when I started out was how far I could push the character and still give her a shot at redemption. I don't think every villain can be redeemed and of course personality plays a role. I would think it be tricky to try and redeem an unapologetic mass murderer, for example.

While I don't think just one simple act could redeem a character who has done evil in the past, I did incorporate a definitive turning point for my character where she had to decide to go through with killing in cold blood or to abandon her plans. Her decision was an important step in her journey to redemption.

As hinted to above it helps to make the character sympathetic and have him or her facing adversity which may or may not be outside the character's control. Somebody who tries and fails is more likely to be looked at sympathetically then somebody who gets it right straight away or who doesn't try at all.

It's also probably more realistic to have a redemption arc spread out over many stories than trying to wrap it up in a single story.

I also think that redeeming a character doesn't mean he or she becomes an angel. The character could still maintain plenty of bad habits or a dark side but would probably show genuine remorse over his past actions.
__________________
Visit StarEagleAdventures.com for original fan-fiction e-books for your preferred e-reader.

Now with complete United Trek story archive.
CeJay is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 18 2011, 09:37 PM   #9
Joe Washington
Fleet Captain
 
Location: Providence, Rhode Island, United States
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

How would you want the villain's redemptive arc to end? With death? Jail time? Or simply moving on with his or her life? Does it depend on the villain's crimes?
Joe Washington is offline   Reply With Quote
Old October 20 2011, 01:43 AM   #10
Mechanic
Ensign
 
Re: How to write a villain redemptive arc?

Yeah, I'd like to know whether or not this villain had a halfway decent reason for their offences? Did he procure Comfort Women from P.O.W. Camps?
Mechanic is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 02:44 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.6
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
FireFox 2+ or Internet Explorer 7+ highly recommended.