I09 every week posts up some lovely storytelling advice. In this case it’s ways to make an audience root for an amoral (or even evil) protagonist.
This can be tricky, of course. If your protagonist veers too far into sociopathy you risk losing your readers. Some actions, once undertaken, are just unforgivable. Every reader is different. Every reader brings baggage and history to the reading of your work. So you never know where the line between Charming Scoundrel and Absolute Monster is until you cross it. Kicking a puppy? Letting an innocent rescue worker die to protect their identity? Coldly quipping while a human body lies cooling at their feet?
Writing a truly likable amoral protagonist can be deeply rewarding but it is a tricky line to walk.
Here are some of the tips Charlie Jane offers. Please click through to see the full article.
1) Make their ends noble (or neutral) even if their means are evil
2) Create A line they wont cross.
3) Someone or something they care about
4) Show us how they lost their moral compass
5) Make everyone else worse
6) A sense of humor is worth a thousand pardons
7) Make them lose
8) Falsely accuse them of worse crimes
9) Make everyone hate them
10) Let us see them doing something unforgivable
It’s a fun list but I wish Charlie Jane had offered more concrete examples from fiction.