I need help with the concept of my story:
My protagonists live in a mild dystopia. Think of your own country today ;-) They have the opportunity to kill about 20 persons, which will cause a fundamental change in their society that makes life much better for everyone. Imagine the effect being similar to:
- no one needing to work more than 50%
- with the prices remaining the same, everyone earning at least twice your current average national income
- no one earning more than twenty times that
- free public transport, housing, schooling, health services
You get the idea. No anarchy, socialism, or whatever, just what we have today with less inequality and better social system.
The story can have three endings:
- the protagonists cannot decide -- this might make for an intriguing but unsatisfying end
- the protagonists kill the 20 -- this be satisfying to the readers, but at the same time morally questionable
- the protagonists walk away -- this will be morally superior, but unsatisfying
If I managed to tell all three stories in a gripping and convincing way so that all endings resulted naturally from the storyline and characters, which end wozld satisfy readers most and what end would they expect in a YA dystopian novel?
In comments and answers there has been some complaint that you don't know enough to know what ending readers will prefer. You don't know about my protagonists, you don't know the society or "the 20", so obviously all depends on how I tell that tale. Sure. But that's not what I'm asking.
First, I'm telling you what kind of society it is. My question says: Imagine your own country. So – I hope – you know what kind of society you should consider. As for the protagonists or "the 20" (which is just a random number, not the number of people in my story), they really don't matter to this question, because this question is not about my story, but about genre conventions and reader expectations as they exsit before those readers even pick up this book.
The question is: Given a society like your own, which ending would readers expect or be most satisfied with, disregarding any specific plot. Do readers expect protagonists to kill the bad guys? Would they feel better if the protagonists had moral qualms and did nothing? In short:
Do readers enjoy self-administered vigilante justice? Or do they prefer moral heroes?
In the Seventies there was widespread support and approval among German students when the Red Army Faction killed employer and industry representative Hanns Martin Schleyer. How do readers of YA dystopian fiction today feel about social revolutionary terrorists killing key figures from politics to attempt a change in society?
There is nothing beyond the genre you need to know to answer this question. All you need is familiarity with the genre, current politics, and readers of YA fiction.