You are here:

Writing Books/Will my readers have sympathy for this character?

Advertisement


Question
I'm not good with psychology. This question is for a story I'm writing. Let's say there's this 8-Year old girl, who was raised in solitude, rarely goes into the outside world. She was raised to kill innocent people just for pleasure. She has vast knowledge of handguns and all that. Her name is Lily. She was raised buy this guy let's call him the Master, who taught her to kill people. She loves him more than anything, since he's the only person she knows.The Master doesn't care about her and uses her as a tool. But when authorities take her away, she is sent to therapy.

How do you think she will turn out when she is separated from her caretaker? How will she be around other children? What would a therapist do? What will she become when she's a teen?

THOUGHTS?

Please note that this is for a work of fiction. I'm a writer. I'm not that great with psychology and when I try to look it up, I can't find anything

Please help!!!


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

Well I have a story written about the relationship with Lily and the Master. Well, it's her past. She lost her memory and ends up awake in someone's home. Now suddenly she's getting all these memories of Master. Her goal is to find the man who raised her, because he's the only one she knows. He will tell her who she is. But when she finally finds him, The master makes a deal with her. If she serves under him once more, he promises to restore her memories. If Lily joined the Master, would you have sympathy for her?


Thank you for your assistance. I just want to see if I have written this, my readers would sympathize with her.

Answer
Hi, Cindy.

One of the things you'll find is true is that, if you're serious about being a writer, you will need to become "good" at many things.  In the case of this story you're writing - which is deeply psychological - you'll need to become familiar with enough psychology to make it seem realistic.  In your one paragraph above, you raise A LOT of separate psychological issues.  

Now, given what little you've told me, I see one pretty glaring problem:  Not many people will buy the idea that an 8 year old girl will just accept that it's okay to kill people for fun.  Can you write this in a way that the readers will accept it?  Sure.  With enough effort, you can write damn near ANYTHING that people will accept.  And that includes having your readers feel sympathetic toward her.

I'd strongly recommend taking your basic premise here and doing some research into the psychological issues behind all the different factors.  This may involve speaking to someone in the field of psychology.  A local professor, perhaps.

Writing Books

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Vincent M. Wales

Expertise

I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.

Experience

For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

Education/Credentials
BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.