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Making a human trafficker sympathetic.:

 1 Chagen 46, Tue, 5th Oct '10 10:23:59 AM from I don't really know
Did I spell that right?

Well, I've been writing a fic in my spare time, and I'm just focuing on one character. I'm trying to make him a sympathetic character, since he is supposed to be important, but I have a problem.

He has the rather evil job of capturing women and selling them to rich men as sex slaves. You're supposed to like this guy.

I think I may be able to do this, but I'm still a little stuck. His backstory is that he helped a Yakuza-like gang smuggle his family out of a horrible Crapsack World. To pay off the debt they incured, he was enlisted to help sell captive women to rich men for money. During the story, he is falling behind on his debt, and as such, must kidnap on of the main female characters to make it up (Until he fell In Love with the Mark, but that's something else).

However, not only does he despise his job, he hates the people who make him do it. He constantly views himself as a Complete Monster, even when people tell him that it's not his own choice to do it. But, it's the only way he can pay his debt back.

On the other hand, he sells women as sex slaves.Not a very respectable job.. So...what should I do?

edited 5th Oct '10 10:24:36 AM by Chagen46

"Who wants to hear about good stuff when the bottom of the abyss of human failure that you know doesn't exist is so much greater?"-Wraith
Yeah, making him sympathetic seems like a really though job. Aside from his backstory, how about trying to give him a small set of ethical rules for his "job"?

For example, he might only target girls that are drug addicts/nymphos/spoiled or try to avoid kidnapping young girls under a certain age, even when his boss requires him to do so. It can become a major plot point, how he struggles to balance his work with his "human" side.

And as a last resource, you can make the other characters look worse and far more evil than him.

 3 Edmania, Tue, 5th Oct '10 10:51:24 AM from under a pile of erasers
o hai
not only does he despise his job

This should be enough to make him at least sympathetic.
If people learned from their mistakes, there wouldn't be this thing called bad habits.
Also known as Katz
Just make him act really trapped. Make him push back against his superiors whenever he can and have them constantly threaten him. Have them threaten to sell one of his family members every time a girl gets away; that sort of thing.

Have his morals win out once or twice (before he falls in love with the mark) and do something like warn the girl and then say that she just got away. And then have him be brutally punished (and, if possible, have the girl get captured anyway) to show why he doesn't do this more often.

I'm taking a wild guess that he eventually frees himself from this job; if/when it happens, make sure it's really, really, really difficult. Preferably something that would have been impossible anytime before.

"I'm trying to make him a sympathetic character, since he is supposed to be important"

How does that follow? Important characters need not be sympathetic.
If I'm asking for advice on a story idea, don't tell me it can't be done.
 6 Chagen 46, Tue, 5th Oct '10 2:37:13 PM from I don't really know
^ Well, he's actually supposed to be the main antagonist of the first Story Arc. He's so desperate, he has no trouble taking the girl without any reservations. Then, however, he gets the shit knocked out of him. After that, the characters become aware of his plight and pity him, so they eventually help him defeat his bosses.

^ Sorry, what I meant was that he's going to become a protagonist.
"Who wants to hear about good stuff when the bottom of the abyss of human failure that you know doesn't exist is so much greater?"-Wraith
The fact that he has a honorable debt he is trying to pay helps. Maybe it's not just about the money he has to return - maybe back then he viewed the Yakuza he is paying as a benevolent figure (maybe that's how he presented himself, too) so he's feeling that he's paying back a life debt. So part of why he's doing it is honor - even if his former benefactor has turned out to be a more and more malevolent character who is pressing him into doing increasingly sinister things like the kidnappings in return for the favor that he owes, he feels that he has made a commitment back then. He hates the whole thing and wants out as soon as he's done, but he's committed to repaying it nevertheless.

Well, if I would be him, I'd probably be distancing myself from what I'm doing - just try to get the job done and not think about it. He probably spends as little time getting close to his victims as possible, or he'd be having even more bad dreams and may even not be able to finish the job because his conscience would grow too strong. Maybe he had let victims go because of that in the past. Maybe that's how he warms up to the heroine, actually. One former incident like that that he is determined not to repeat is a good plot element, too - it would mean that the Yakuza probably already had warned him or gave him a "last chance" ultimatum, or even that the victim he let go went straight to the police and now they know about him.

I assume that he's doing it for his family, too. The Yakuza know them and may be prepared to take revenge on them, even if they never say it this may be something that he knows without saying.

 8 A H R, Tue, 5th Oct '10 3:39:51 PM from Crevice of your Mind
Resistance is Futile
Culture. Many people who were brought up to be slave owners and what else have you were not bad people. It was the way they were raised. Some people thought for themselves and thought 'shit, this be bad' but many people—especially if no one is there to provid opposition— will accept what they've been taught.

For instance, say 100 years from now, meat eating is no longer fashionable, since it's decided it is indeed equal to murder.

That does not make any meat eaters of the time automatically bad. Sure, it might be obvious from a bird's eye point of view, but during the time? Pfft. Not really.
Make him a punch clock villain. He got into the business not knowing what it would entail and once you're in, it's almost impossible to get out.

Polite smartass.
This character will be sympathetic as long as he has genuine remorse and conflict over his actions, and expresses that he has tried, even more than once, to get out of it. Lots of great characters have done awful things and still feel protagonistic: think of Kushana in Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind.
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Total posts: 10
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