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halloween_john

How do people feel about the "baddie" winning?

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Just wondering whether people like to see good always triumphing or not?

 

I’m currently writing a book about serial killers where the killers are the central characters. Obviously the book deals with getting to know them, so I was wondering if they should be brought to justice (of sort) at the end, or whether, even though they kill people, they should get away with it (ala Natural Born Killers)?

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I don't demand justice from my novels, as long as the plot supports the outcome I can handle a baddie getting away with it. If the book is good enough, I might even like the baddie to win because it hints at a follow-up!

 

I did once meet someone who wouldn't read a book unless she knew it had a happy ending. She got too upset by sad endings.

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Currently still basking the dark afterglow of Dexter Season 2, I would have to say that I love to see the baddies continue on their merry way.

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... I was wondering if they should be brought to justice (of sort) at the end...
Ultimately, it's your book and the decision is yours. How it ends is not as important as how it gets to whether they 'win' or not.

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agree that it depends, as I remember Patricia Highsmith's Ripley was a very successful "anti-hero, hero" or "baddie - hero" .as is Dexter, of course

 

the most important thing is for the "public" to want your character to succeed, be it getting away with crime, or by solving crimes..you could argue that a "happy ending" for a killer is to get away with it (not so happy for the victims though!)

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I think its always a good twist when the baddie gets away with it. Whenever im reading a book i always have this.....feeling.......this fear, that somehow what you are reading is a little pointless due to the fact that its going to have a happy ending which plays on my mind, then you get to the end of a book and no matter how well written and riveting the story was you just knew all would be well. A good ending is always the one you never expected and although many books do let the baddie get away with it, the vast majority dont so its always a refreshing change.

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There is a Deizel (?) and Pascoe where the murderer gets away with it and the wrong person is locked up. I remember being disconcerted but thinking that sometimes that must happen - nothing is infallible after all.

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I know I prefer to see the good guys win, but if you can get under the skin of your killer and make us see him in a different light I think you get away with it. I think people want Ripley to succeed because he has the underprivileged background and has to rely on his wits to get away with his crimes against some unappealing characters.

 

One book I really hated because the bad guys won and the good guys lost is AJ Cronin's The Stars Look Down. I can see why he wanted to end this way and the book was enthralling, very well written, but you are always routing for the good guys throughout and to have them in a worse position at the end doesn't make it a satisfying read - although I should have guessed from the title that this was going to happen and would have been more prepared for it.

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All too often, especially with real world violent crime the baddie does win out. Even if he/she is caught up with in the end in the meantime too many good people have their lives affected, trashed...even cut short. Likely this is why so many readers want really evil baddies to lose out, and most serial killers would qualify for such sentiments.

 

But also, in real life, in terms of character there's more greys than blacks and whites, and one can have a sneaking sympathy for the bad guy who's not much worse than the other side. Which is why I regret that 'Clifford Ashdown's' Romney Pringle got killed off before he could get much enjoyment out of his [ill-gotten?] gains.

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