Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wednesday Writings: On Good vs. Bad

It's one of the most basic plot lines: perfectly good hero vs. the perfectly evil villain. Like as not, the hero wins, and there is happily ever after.

I've read a lot of books in my 16 years of life, and this is a recurring theme that starts to grate on my nerve for two reasons. One, it's predictable. I sometimes pick up a book and I know right off the bat that the hero wins, and it sort of spoils the reading (especially if the writing isn't all that good). It's like your fairytale, with the dragon in a different shape. And two, because it shows bad writing to have your MC perfectly good.

Tips on Avoiding the Cliche:

1. Give your character some flaws. At least one. Don't give me that "Oh, but he's Edward Cullen in disguise!" nonsense.

2. Instead of focusing on good vs. evil, focus on a different pair of opposites. Like, in the Red Pyramid by Rick Riordin, it's order vs. chaos. You see how much more interesting that is?

3. See if you can't make the villain one of the "good" characters. Gradually sneak in his/her evilness. Think Loki from that movie Thor (or The Avengers). He was like, the best villain ever because you could empathisize with him completely, and in the beginning of Thor, you don't realize him as the villain at all.

4. Don't think at all in terms of good vs. evil. Think more on the MC - his/her emotional journey. Perhaps your villain is only the catalyst of a mental reevaluation. Perhaps your villain is there to test your MC's real hero-ness. Not that fake perfection, but their true worth as a human being.

Good and bad in literature is a common debate: you either think it's a classic, or a cliche. I'm leaning towards the latter, and it's cool if you think otherwise. But hey, new blood freshens things up. I see the whole "Perfect" hero less and less, but how about the others? Can you think of a different pair of opposites to focus on?

Have a blessed day and keep writing. :)  

From simpledisneythings's tumblr HERE.

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