Friday, January 18, 2013

Random comment #1

I’ve been cleaning out my bookshelves—a feat worthy of Hercules and trying to put things on the big shelf in my dining room. Moving my books—even to a different room—hurts. On one hand, I’m amazed at how much space I have. There’s “floor” under those stacks! And a desk. On the other hand, I've been finding scraps of paper that should have been blog posts and are actually just a comment or two.

Not sure if I was on a roll or whether I’ve gotten so far from my earlier thoughts that reading them gives me indigestion, but for the next couple of days, I’m going to pick a random comment and see how things held up between the time I wrote it and now.
Today’s comment:
Evil needs to be personified. The book will still work without a face, but it’ll be stronger if there’s a voice or person to connect to.

Today’s thoughts:
I agree with this one. Sure, you can do a man versus nature thing, or man versus the system, but it’s detached. Sort of like if I threw a little girl into a well and had the hero race to save her from a slow, painful death. It’s “okay," sort of like a breaking news story—but look at how much more vivid it gets if I“embody” the evil of her slow, painful death in the shape of a sadistic pedophile. The hero is still racing time to save her, but now he has someone to fight and personal evil to conquer. We’re still cheering the hero, but we’re also booing the villain, and crying along with the scared little girl. The clock is ticking down to a showdown between good and evil, and we’re right there hoping the good guys win.

Day one? Good comment.


Kathryn Scannell said...

This is sort of a follow-on thought. When you personify that evil, do you think it's more effective to make it unredeemable or to give it some sense of humanity so the reader can see it's viewpoint, even just a little?

That leads to a 2nd question - is it more satisfying to roundly defeat it (kill it, arrest it, etc.) or to defeat it by redeeming it?

Jodi Henley said...

lol, a very good question.


it depends on what you personally believe in. Stories are always--and yes, I mean "always" stronger when you personally and with your whole heart believe in what you're writing. If you believe in the gray areas where a villain can be a hero to the right person, or that there are redeeming or human qualities in evil, then your belief carries weight. If you believe that evil is simply evil, that carries weight too.

Look at the whole Lucifer argument. Some people feel--well, he's the devil. He fought God and got cast out--and it serves him right because he's evil for rebelling. But then you get people who say--if humans can have free will, why not angels? Is Lucifer's statement, it's better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven, understandable, or simply wrong?

which leads to the second answer. :)It depends on your audience. The same audience that believes Lucifer is evil and irredeemable is going to want a black and white ending. Lucifer is punished and broken down into atoms--totally gone.

While the same people who'd say his desire to be free is understandable would probably feel that redemption has many forms. And would want to know what form that redemption would take.

Brinda said...

Gah...That was a loud and heartfelt moan if you couldn't hear it from your location.

Now, I have something else to reexamine from my last MS. :0

Jodi Henley said...

lol, Brinda. It's not like you threw a little girl down a well. :)