Allowing the Antagonist To Win…

I have previously posted about how I don’t require a “mega-happy” ending to books and movies and I’m okay with tragic outcomes, especially if I have at least some warning. As I have also posted, I occasionally kill off a very likeable character I had not intended to because it ultimately worked better with the plot flow. When it comes to allowing the antagonist, especially a really bad one, to win that’s a different thing. It almost always includes plot twists that are often cleverly done and I can appreciate that aspect. In other cases, such as the book I just finished, an important plot twist was more manipulation than clever, although I will give credit where due for crafting of the final one. And yes, I know there are people who didn’t mind Hannibal Lecter escaping at the end of Silence of the Lambs and I agree the closing shot of Body Heat was well done. While I’m not completely for “anti-heroes”, I am okay depending on how darkly they are drawn.The vigilante angle is a bit tricky and I admit I never watched a single episode of “Dexter” so perhaps his character would have been the exception for me.

Anyway, not to be a spoiler if new readers are reading this, I will also acknowledge I personally prefer killing off the antagonist when it can be reasonably done and one of my favorite techniques in plotting was what I did in Shades of Truth. I suppose my position comes from the sad reality too many individuals do “get away with murder”. That’s one of the big reasons I enjoy true-crime cold cases where someone is caught even decades after. Each author makes his or her decision and I certainly can’t deny the immense popularity of Gone Girl. On the other hand, I don’t foresee me changing my approach in the future.

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