Thursday, May 19, 2011

Evil for Evils Sake

I have folders for each of my characters. In each I have character sketches, cut scenes, random things, character outlines, etc. One of these folders is titled Fitz, and it is by far the biggest folder I have. Now, you could argue Fitzroy is not a main character. If you look at the words on page Fitzroy has you would be right, he isn’t a Leni, or a Damien. But he is an essential character. In fact, to me, he is pretty much more important than Leni, my main character. This isn’t because he is my favorite character, but because he drives the plot. In fact he is the only one that does.

Fitzroy is the “bad guy” although he would be exceptionally surprised to hear that. In his mind, Fitzroy has character flaws; he knows he can be quite ruthless, he knows he has a temper. But he also knows there are many people out there who are ruthless with tempers, who are quite nice guys, and Fitzroy is a nice guy, people close to Lenin probably also called Lenin a nice guy.

The thing is, the reason why Fitzroy has way more character development, he not evil for evil’s sake. He isn’t Sauron. The famous bad guy from LOTR, who all through an entire series, you are never given a reason why he is evil and must be stopped. It would be very easy to make Fitzroy evil for just the sake of needing a bad guy. If he is evil for the sake of being evil I have no need to explain his rational, he doesn’t even need a rational.

If he is evil for the sake of being evil, he needs no reason to take evil steps. If he is not evil for the sake of being evil he needs concrete reasons for being evil. More than that, he needs understandable motives. When I say that I mean the reader has to see his motives, and they need to be rational to them. I want a bad guy, who readers will think, hmm, well given that background, and those choices, I might do that too. And that, takes background.

Song of the Day:

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