marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

corrupting a character

One frequent problem I see in prequels is when the original work had a character who redeemed himself.  A rogue, a scoundrel, a scamp -- and by the end, he's a better man.  I like, I enjoy, I relish. . .

And then you feature him in a prequel.

Aesthetically, you have two choices.
1.  He's a thorough-going scoundrel the length of the story.
2.  He's a good character at the beginning and goes rotten by the end.
Which gives you a problem for which there is a technical term:  Not Fun At All.  (And the first also lacks character development.)  I will not like that story without it having some compensating excellencies.  (In fact, I will never like such a story without some compensating excellencies, but if it's not a prequel, you're not boxed in.)

On the other hand, it seems a lot of writers agree with me about the Not Fun At All aspect.  Unfortunately instead of not writing a prequel, they proceed to clean him up before the work in which he reformed.  Which often enough, means that they gut that work.  A reformation from a much nicer character than you knew is not as much fun as a scoundrel's reformation.
Tags: aesthetics, character arc, heroes and villains, prequels, series

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