E is for Evil

My theme for the A to Z challenge this year is Storytelling. I'll be writing posts on what I think you need to create a good story; the posts will vary from basics that all writers use in their stories, to themes/tropes that I love to see in stories that I read, and that I use when I write.


E is for Evil

Good vs Evil is one of the most classic themes for stories. However, it's not always that black and white. The best stories are the ones that blur the lines; where the "good" guys have a bad side, or the villain of the story actually has a pretty good reason for doing the "evil" things that they're doing. 

All stories need to have one side that the reader can root for, and another side that the reader can root against. If you can blur the lines between the two, it gives the story so much more depth. I think stories where the good guys are perfect are boring, because nobody is perfect; it's just not realistic. 

The "Evil" guys in your story will be where most of your conflict comes from, so they're important. They need to have a good reason for being against your protagonist, beyond just being there to add conflict. 

In short, "Evil" is an important aspect of any story; it represents whoever (or whatever) your protagonist is against. 

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  2. There are one-dimensional stories and then there are those with layers of complexity. Which type you write will depend on the audience you are targeting, but even children's picture books are better when they consider the adults who'll be reading them aloud to those who can't yet read. Who wants to read something boring?

    *Visiting from A-Z*

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  3. Well put. I make sure none of my main characters come across as perfect, and while I rarely give the villain of the piece any endearing qualities, I do make sure he has a reason for what he's doing, one the reader can understand. Visiting from A to Z. Find me here. LINK

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  4. Evil - you make a good point about needing to give evil (and good) depth - black and white is boring, and everyone needs a motive, even if what they end up doing is evil.
    Sophie
    Sophie's Thoughts & Fumbles - Dragon Diaries

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  5. Every villain is a hero in his own mind - which, of course, makes them so much fun to write about :-) Happy A-to-Z-ing.

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  6. Not sure about stories but in movies i do find that the attractive bad guys leave a lasting impression

    E for Egg

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    1. Attractive ANTIHEROES.
      Or the villains who have really crappy lives and I hate that I feel that prick of guilt for, you know, hating them. Ha!

      A good, recent example would be Ward Meachum from Iron Fist. Hate is character, but I can't help but feel bad for him throughout the series...

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  7. Stories where the nature of good and evil are thematically linked (opposite sides of a coin) especially fascinate. For example, in Harry Potter, the good characters are brave (Gryffindor house), the evil ones fearful--Voldemort of death, the Dursleys of neighbors' opinions, Umbridge of difference. Choosing which virtues and vices to emphasize is a great way to develop theme in a story.

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  8. Stories where good vs. evil isn't so clear cut are the best ones, in my opinion. :)

    A to Z 2017: Magical and Medicinal Herbs

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