Handling morally questionable actions
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Thread: Handling morally questionable actions

  1. #1

    Default Handling morally questionable actions

    One of my characters goes through an arc where he has the chance to help a friend of his only to realize that he may be slacking as a Trainer as a result of bailing them out continuously and getting involved in their misadventures or heroic actions (he's not aware of the trouble they're in, mind you). He naturally feels guilty about it but tries to rationalize it. Don't worry there's resolution to this subplot but I'd hate to spoil it...

    But let's talk about this sort of thing in general. While we could chew out the character for doing such a thing, I'm sure we've faced something like this one way or another. How would you handle a plot line similar to what I describe? What are you general thoughts period?

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  2. #2
    Less cute in person Beth Pavell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handling morally questionable actions

    I'm not quite sure what the morally questionable action is in the scenario you've described, but as a rule, I think it depends on whether you want to make a moral statement as an author, or whether you just want to tell the story. The problem authors always face is that the audience can and will have their own moral code and will interpret the morality in a story in their own way (Just check out the Unfortunate Implication TvTropes page for examples of how crazy this can get).

    In my opinion, I don't think it's the author's job to necessarily take a stance. The author isn't obliged to punish immorality in his characters, nor is he implicitly in agreement with them if he doesn't. In other words, Gollum may say the Haradrim are "wicked men" but that doesn't make Tolkien racist. To that end, I think it's important for the author to make clear who makes moral judgements in the story. Is it the point-of-view character? The voiceless narrator? An author avatar? etc

  3. #3

    Default Re: Handling morally questionable actions

    I don't quite understand what you're asking. What's the morally questionable thing in this scenario? Someone who was helping out friends in heroic acts would be getting practice while doing something good, no?

    Either way, for me I think that what's important is how those morally questionable actions are written. You can write a character who is really morally questionable and even show us their perspective without making it sound like you agree. If your character is cheating in a tournament, for instance, for you can show us why they're doing that and even have lines in which they try to justify it or support it, without sounding like you're ok with it. Maybe they get some retribution eventually, or if you want to get more realistic, maybe they get away with it. You don't have to sound like you as the writer are defending cheating while doing that. Does this make sense? It sounds tricky, I know, but if you practice you'll be able to do it right. If you need any feedback feel free to let me know, I love discussing morally questionable characters and how to write them.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Handling morally questionable actions

    Quote Originally Posted by SemioticSam View Post
    I don't quite understand what you're asking. What's the morally questionable thing in this scenario?
    Abandoning a friend in need for your own needs.

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  5. #5

    Default Re: Handling morally questionable actions

    Quote Originally Posted by matt0044 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by SemioticSam View Post
    I don't quite understand what you're asking. What's the morally questionable thing in this scenario?
    Abandoning a friend in need for your own needs.
    Ah, ok. Then in that scenario it sounds rather simple to me, you can write it as it is and even offer her perspective. If you're a beginner at writing or aren't sure about this, you can always plant some hints that what she did was wrong or make her see her mistake eventually. You don't strictly have to, though, this generally seems like the sort of situation that comes up in fiction very often so I assume most readers would already know it's morally questionable.

  6. #6
    Good Bad Bug Glitchipedia's Avatar
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    Default Re: Handling morally questionable actions

    I've done a few of these in RP scenarios.

    My main villain in an IRC Pokémon RP, Icira Witherflame, seeks to erase all greed, hatred and war from history. While a noble idea on the surface, there's always those pesky moral questions about changing the past in such a drastic fashion. And there's also the fact that her idea is to accomplish her goal by, essentially, erasing humans and Pokémon from history by forcing their earliest recognizable progenitors into permanent Burst Mode, creating a master race with human intelligence and Pokémon morality. Never mind the fact that she means to replace her world rather than save it, she doesn't seem to have put much thought into how exactly she intends to achieve that balance of personality traits.

    In perhaps a somewhat more notable case, one of my hero characters in the same RP believes that intimidating the enemy is the key to defeating them. Relying on an image of brutality, cruelty, mercilessness and a certain degree of stealth, Bella Austin believes she can frighten the other main villains, the Apex Corporation, into disorganization, thus making them easier to take down. Furthermore, she reasons that, when dealing with a foe who kills, one must not hesitate to do the same. She agrees that her mentality is morally ambiguous at best, but remains adamant that satisfying the "heroes are pure" part of herself would leave the public in danger far longer than necessary. Should she experience any doubt along the way, she will even consider Shadowfying her Pokémon and herself in the name of destroying Apex.

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