Where Readers & Writers Connect
The mad scientist trying to take over or destroy the world is obvious in his evil desires, although I’ve never figured out how destroying the world gains the villain anything. It’s easier to write those sorts of villains. We root for the hero and cheer when the villain is finally beaten. It’s a little tougher when the villain is ourselves.
What if the villain is the gossip passed from one person to the next? What if it’s pride of social status or wealth? What if it’s anger against God for the death of a loved one? What if it’s disrespect for a husband or wife who doesn’t “give me what I need want?
Creating conflict in the area of character can lead to the author being pricked by their conscience and recognizing that inner villain in him-or herself. It can, and hopefully does, prick some readers seeing the same.
This is one of the goals of my writing, to show how people can control the villain, and the consequences of allowing that villain out. It’s also to demonstrate how to overcome the guilt and ask forgiveness, making restitution when the person realizes they’ve been wrong. In my writing I do this from a Christian perspective, but it’s possible to convey the same concepts in a secular manner.
Character always rises to the top. In this I mean that who the person truly is will eventually show up in their attitude and actions. We can’t hide it forever. It will become obvious to those around us. Some can hide it longer than others, but it eventually reveals itself. The actions of the “villain” when he/she finally decides to repent can be a model to be used in real life, if the reader will do so.
In my book, Healing Love, the person who gossips about the main characters thus causing them to marry to preserve the man’s reputation comes to them later in the book to confess and ask forgiveness. It was hard for him to do this. He had to humble himself in order for there to be reconciliation between himself, the couple, and God.
This is a very tough thing to do. I know, I’ve had to do it. It’s one of those character building moments in life. This is lacking in our society today, that show of humility by saying ‘I was wrong.’ By using the inner villain to show a character’s struggle with wrongness of their actions and the need to ask forgiveness, we, as authors, can show an alternate, more productive way of dealing with the conflicts we cause or those thrust upon us.
The actions of those who then must forgive can also make for conflict. Do they forgive, or hold resentment? Do they ‘get even’? Do they take out their anger against the one who comes asking forgiveness? Do they accept and become best buddies with him/her? Why?
In stories about the “inner villain,” the antagonist can change from person to person based on the actions and reactions of each character. It reflects life as we live it. We all have some “inner villain” within us. By writing about the conflict within, it’s my hope, that readers will recognize and deal with the areas in their lives which need to be, like the mad scientist, destroyed. Then all can cheer at its destruction.
The real Sophie Dawson is the wife of a farmer in the other Illinois; that which is not Chicago. Follow her adventures at http://www.sophie-dawson.com/little-bits-blog.html