RoE.d1.day45 – the trouble with not knowing a criminal mastermind . . .

. . . is that the criminal masterminds in my stories keep defaulting to hokey faux-British bad guys from movies if i’m not careful.

like today.

this is usually a pretty big sign that i haven’t got a proper handle on the character, so i might take some extra time tomorrow and see what would make a doctor turn to a life of crime — albeit crime requiring an exceptional level of education — without turning into a sadistic caricature.

he’s not evil; it’s just that the laws of the land are designed for the hoi polloi and are, therefore, incorrectly applied to him. on the other hand, he doesn’t see himself above the law, which would be just as tired a stereotype (though still perfectly valid as a character trait). he’s not mad, not angry, not aloof, not deranged. like most folks, he’s simply decided to make some choices based upon his own understanding of his best course of action. unlike most folks, his choices tend to lead outside the law.

but why? why do this? as a trained doctor and accomplished scientist, he could easily have remained ‘in the light’. why take the more difficult route? it’s not about money or power. he’s actually a fairly decent guy. no, it’s about knowledge.

hmm. a contemporary scenario might help*:

  • a scientist ten years ago working on something like leukemia or multiple sclerosis via stem cell research.
  • some very promising (but frustratingly incomplete) progress is being made.
  • funding is suddenly cut off because of the government ban on stem cell research.

possible reactions

  1. use alternative experiments
  2. lobby the political system to overturn the ban
  3. continue the work in secret or in a country that doesn’t ban the practice

reaction 1 is pragmatic and could well yield success; 2 seems the most ‘righteous’, but it also has a depressingly Don Quixote feel about it here in the U.S.**; 3 is an easy in for a criminal, but it also is the easiest route to the very stereotypes i’m trying to avoid.

hm. well, no answers yet, but it’s time for bed.

see what the subconscious does with this.

* though i’m guessing some actual scientific folk might take issue with this – if so, my apologies, i’m just an english major

** which doesn’t make it a bad idea, obviously.