Writing Forums

Writing Forums is a privately-owned, community managed writing environment. We provide an unlimited opportunity for writers and poets of all abilities, to share their work and communicate with other writers and creative artists. We offer an experience that is safe, welcoming and friendly, regardless of your level of participation, knowledge or skill. There are several opportunities for writers to exchange tips, engage in discussions about techniques, and grow in your craft. You can also participate in forum competitions that are exciting and helpful in building your skill level. There's so much more for you to explore!

How can I make it seem like I am not glorifying my villains? (1 Viewer)

Status
Not open for further replies.

ironpony

Senior Member
I wrote a screenplay, and some feedback from others, says that I make the villains seem glorified. The story is a crime thriller set in modern times. I don't mean to imply that the villains crimes are glorified, but the villains all go down in the end, with some being killed and others being arrested. One of them gets a reduced sentenced for having to rat out the others, so he gets off easier, but that is just happenstance for the rest to be defeated.

So I don't want to glorify their crimes by any means. It's written in a more traditional thriller structure in which the villains appear to be winning for about the first two thirds, and then of course the tables are turned on them in the third act. But since traditional thriller structure dictates that they should win for the first two thirds, in order to be more of a challenge for the protagonist, how do you write it so that happens, but at the same time, do not glorify their crimes, if anyone has any advice on that?

Thank you very much! I really appreciate it!
 

codyrobi613

Senior Member
Sometimes you do want to glorify what society sees as a "villain".
That's a fair point. Are your villains doing objectively evil crimes or are thier goals and motivations more grey and ambiguous? Is truth and morality in your world absolute or relative?

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
 

ironpony

Senior Member
That's a fair point. Are your villains doing objectively evil crimes or are thier goals and motivations more grey and ambiguous? Is truth and morality in your world absolute or relative?

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk

The crimes are definitely objectively evil and not ambiguous I would say. The morality is absolute. The villains are committing a series of kidnappings and rapes, which the police are investigating. I don't mean to make it seem like the villains are being glorified but perhaps the readers think they are, because they are getting away with it, but I do not want to send that message.
 

codyrobi613

Senior Member
Do you have an excerpt from the screen play that would give an example of possible glorification?

I feel like them getting away with it for awhile doesn't equal glorification

Sent from my Pixel 3a using Tapatalk
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Okay sure, it's a screenplay. Here is an excerpt, thanks. It's not mean to glorifying, it's just establishing the crimes, or so I intended.

I feel I must give a CONTENT WARNING:

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

INT. BRIEFING ROOM, POLICE STATION -- DAY -- WEEKS LATER


On a TV screen, a woman is tied to a bed in a similar looking room with all the walls covererd in blankets. She is not blindfolded but gagged.


She cannot see behind her, the way she is positioned. We see this on a projection screen.


The camera point of view is close up on her face, then moves to behind her.


The ILF Members are standing there, in the same disguises; their faces masked. Officers, including Art, are standing and watching a video being displayed on the TV.


SERGEANT MAJOR HAL SURU (50s), is in front of the room, next to the screen with a remote, showing his officers the videos.


INSPECTOR JACK LOWALKSI (40s), sits at a desk facing the officers, watching them paying full attention.


Kinnaman is in the crowd, watching, in shame.


Dopey addresses the camera, speaking in a scrambeled voice --


DOPEY
I have never had a woman all my life.
(adresses his accomplices)
Neither have they. We have had enough of trying and trying, only to be treated inferiorly, again and again.


The video cuts to the woman tied helpless to a bed and gagged, begging for help, face close ups of each -- The officers watch in horror --


DOPEY
All because, we are physically, or mentally disabled, handicapped, unattractive, or whatever else you find wrong with us.


DOPEY
All these women you see, have been named by us, and they have nowhere to hide. They reject us and don't care...


Sneezy walks to the foreground.


SNEEZY
The next rejection we get will result in rapes of ten other women, each. We are not going to take it anymore... and we will have recognition.


The video cuts to a the close up of the woman's face and an ILF Member comes into frame and blocks the camera. The officers hear her scream.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
The reasoning behind what your characters are doing is comically flimsy. Because of this, any attempt you try that provides them a reason for their actions, does not seems plausible. This give a feeling that the crimes are just a way to titillate the reader and nothing more. Thus, a form of rape glorification.

You're going to need to provide better reasoning (if you give a reason at all), which could potentially change the whole dynamic of your story.
 

Xander416

Senior Member
If I've learned anything from years of watching Law & Order: SVU, one of those things is that rape is about power, not sex.
 
Tettsuo hit on it: flimsy plot reasoning paired with explicit material = glorification. An example: the anime Baccano! had a poorly structured plot, at times poorly rendered character motivation, and is also really, really, really violent. Every violent moment seems gratuitous because the underlying story is weak. There are numerous scenes of people getting killed in extremely violent ways, but most of them do not advance the plot in any way, and serve only to show that the villains are, um, bad, which the viewer already knows by the first episode. Thus, gratuitous.

Compare Nightmare on Elm Street. Violent, but every death counts. The point is not to watch teenagers die, but to create building suspense, to lay down a backdrop of stark evil that highlights Nancy Thompson's courage all the more.

So, if your only answer to "Why is this scene here?" is, "It shows how bad the villains are," or "It's realistic," that isn't enough. You need only ONE "the villains are bad" scene, at the very most. In a screenplay, too, a lot can happen off-camera, which I notice you are already utilizing a bit in this scene. Whether it's glorifying or not depends on the context of the rest of the script, and, honestly, the way it's shot. There's ways of shooting a movie that could draw attention to her as a person and not just a victim-object. BTW, she is clothed, right? I cannot see any reason why you would need to have nudity in this scene, or any scene. That would definitely be glorifying/titillating and I would have a serious problem with it.

In general, I'd be very very careful with rape/child abuse/any form of violent sexual content. The problem is, any kind of depiction of it has the possibility of titillation. Especially in a movie (visual medium).
 

Amnesiac

Senior Member
Every scene, especially major events, need to advance the plot in some way. Every event serves the plot. "ALL HAIL KING PLOT!!" Even in the quaintest little bodice-rippers, the romance and sex all serve the plot.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Tettsuo hit on it: flimsy plot reasoning paired with explicit material = glorification. An example: the anime Baccano! had a poorly structured plot, at times poorly rendered character motivation, and is also really, really, really violent. Every violent moment seems gratuitous because the underlying story is weak. There are numerous scenes of people getting killed in extremely violent ways, but most of them do not advance the plot in any way, and serve only to show that the villains are, um, bad, which the viewer already knows by the first episode. Thus, gratuitous.

Compare Nightmare on Elm Street. Violent, but every death counts. The point is not to watch teenagers die, but to create building suspense, to lay down a backdrop of stark evil that highlights Nancy Thompson's courage all the more.

So, if your only answer to "Why is this scene here?" is, "It shows how bad the villains are," or "It's realistic," that isn't enough. You need only ONE "the villains are bad" scene, at the very most. In a screenplay, too, a lot can happen off-camera, which I notice you are already utilizing a bit in this scene. Whether it's glorifying or not depends on the context of the rest of the script, and, honestly, the way it's shot. There's ways of shooting a movie that could draw attention to her as a person and not just a victim-object. BTW, she is clothed, right? I cannot see any reason why you would need to have nudity in this scene, or any scene. That would definitely be glorifying/titillating and I would have a serious problem with it.

In general, I'd be very very careful with rape/child abuse/any form of violent sexual content. The problem is, any kind of depiction of it has the possibility of titillation. Especially in a movie (visual medium).

Oh okay. What can I do to make it not flimsy then? As to whether or not she is clothed, well the villains are making these videos and sending them out to society as part of their M.O., so if the villains want to make an incredibly threatening point, would they have her be naked on the video, to make the point more threatening? I can see them wanting to make her appear vulnerable to make their point more, and have her clothes removed would make her more vulnerable. But that doesn't mean no nudity has to be shown. For one thing, I pictured her being on her stomach while tied up, so the camera angle I am imagining would only be her back and face.

But, this is just a spect script, and the writer is not allowed to describe the camera shots specifically though. But I could have her clothed if that's better. And that is the whole scene, so I don't show any rape at all, it's just to establish what the villains are doing.

As to why the scene is here, the scene is show the villains crimes and that they are also sending their videos of the crimes to the public as part of their M.O. So isn't the scene necessary to establish what they are doing? When you say a lot can happen off camera, do you mean I shouldn't have a scene of the police characters seeing the video at all?

But what can I do to make the villains' plan not flimsy?
 
Last edited:

River Rose

Senior Member
I keep reading this post as,,,,HOW CAN I MAKE IT SEEM LIKE I AM NOT GLORIFYING MY VANILLA?

No clue why my mind goes there???
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
As to why the scene is here, the scene is show the villains crimes and that they are also sending their videos of the crimes to the public as part of their M.O. So isn't the scene necessary to establish what they are doing? When you say a lot can happen off camera, do you mean I shouldn't have a scene of the police characters seeing the video at all?

But what can I do to make the villains' plan not flimsy?
I've said nothing about the plot. I was talking about the villains' motivation. I've no idea what the story plot is.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
I've said nothing about the plot. I was talking about the villains' motivation. I've no idea what the story plot is.

Oh okay, but what can I do to make the motivation not flimsy then? Are there better motivatons I can use for the same crime?
 

Tettsuo

WF Veterans
Oh okay, but what can I do to make the motivation not flimsy then? Are there better motivatons I can use for the same crime?
Honestly, this is your story. You'll need to come up with a motivation that isn't flimsy. But, if you believe the motivation is fine, do you. You're the artist here, and this is your art. Even if I think the motivation is flimsy, my opinion is just that, my opinion.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Well it's just committing a series of rape out of revenge, was the best motivation I could come up with, but is revenge not a powerful enough motive for rape, and I need a more powerful motive?
 

Sir-KP

Senior Member
but is revenge not a powerful enough motive for rape, and I need a more powerful motive?

Who knows. You say that because you're not the one who conducts it.

There are a lot of people who do, err... 'morally questionable' things based on almost petty reason(s), even things that you could consider as childish and no-life for grown-ups.

I can't give out an equally criminal example, of course, but I've seen someone spamming junks and calling people out in another forums and social media just because they don't like the (positive) content being discussed by the community, then personally responding to the replies, trying to justify their disruptive act, etc.

Think about it, why would anyone spend time to keep coming over on something they don't like to spread sh*t on other people who like it? May be non-sense to us who have better things to do, but not to them, certainly.
 

ironpony

Senior Member
Well I guess one example I can think of of a really petty villain where you do not care about his cause is perhaps The Silence of the Lambs? So I guess it's about trying to get the audience to accept a petty villain?
 

indianroads

Staff member
Global Moderator
I think you really need to flesh out your story a lot more before you even start writing. You have to know your characters before you write them.

My next novel will be set in a world similar to Stalin's Russia - but here in the USA. It's obviously dystopian. Right now, that story is ONLY living inside my head. The two main characters: MMC a member of a resistance group, and the FMC a member of the secret police. I've gotten to know their personalities, and now am working on their backgrounds and motivation.

My point is that NONE of this is down on paper (or in file on my PC). It's easier to imagine and move things around while the story and characters are still in my head. I personally cannot force a story into existence, instead it has to grow organically in my mind before I consider writing anything down.

So, as I said at the top of this, I suggest you let your plot stew a while longer before you start in.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top