Friday, February 17, 2017

Bad Guy or Good Guy...Hmmm...

Hard to tell sometimes.

Growing up, we always thought good guys had the white hats, bad guys wore black, right? And the good guys did good stuff, while the bad guys did really bad things.

Uhhhh, well....

Our good guys (translation: do-gooders, heroes, champions) and bad guys (translation: evildoers, villains, malefactors) in our writing share differences, but they also share similarities. They have to or they're not interesting. A pure good guy is boring, and a pure bad guy is just not believable. Let's take a look under the hood.

Good guys always do good stuff, right?

I watched a Star Trek episode recently where the distinct life forces of an extinct civilization had taken over one of the crew members. Kirk's solution: place the crew member in a pressure chamber and crank up the pressure until all the life forces were destroyed. Basically, he committed genocide. And Kirk's one of the good guys, right?

Another example: Superman, the ultimate Boy Scout, in the second Superman movie with Christopher Reeve, has no trouble eliminating Zod, Ursa, and Non. Didn't give it a second thought. No attempt at returning them to the phantom zone, just poof!

Now, the flip side. One of everyone's favorite bad guys, Darth Vader, Mr. All-In-Black himself. Evildoer, right? Killed children, women, pretty much anyone. But he started out with great promise, as a good guy. Followed the wrong path for a while. But in the end, who saves the day by destroying (we think) the Emperor? Darth.

So, a couple of things to remember. When creating your bad guys and good guys, they're not pure. Shouldn't be. Your good guys should have some darkness in them. Makes them interesting. And your bad guys will do some good stuff occasionally. And sometimes, they might just flip sides. It all depends on perspective.

Now, go forth and think about other good/bad guys you've read about or watched on the screen.

I command it.

Keep writing, friends.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What I Need is Writer Oil

The undisciplined writer, that's what I am. Well, I figure you can guess that from the infrequency of my posts of late. Been busy with life lately.

Now, I know that's no excuse. Especially when I read about other writers' routines. "I'm up at 5 AM every day, dress, work out, have a cup of something, then write until noon." But then there's the rest of us. Folks woulda coulda shoulda done that, but just slam down a few words when we can. It's not so much a writer's block as inertia. A matter of stuckness, like that old faucet on the side of the house that just won't turn off in the spring. Writer's oil, that's what's needed. Note to self: save that idea of writer's oil. Never know when it'll come in handy.

Anyway, I'm back, trying to get the machinery moving again. Also in the final phases, I hope, of edits on my novel. People ask me, "When are you gonna finish that thing?" Well, when I'm ready. Being waylaid for a bit, I need a final running start (or running finish) at it. It's my flagship and I want it as good as it can possibly be.

Aaahhh, this feels better, pounding the keys after a hiatus. Afore I head out, I'll leave you with this live action example of proofing your work with your eyeballs, not just your word processor's spell-a-matic. I saw this on the web site of a major organization today. Here's an excerpt. I won't divulge the organization's name:

Work & Jobs
Your Fired. Now What?
8 things to do before handing over your employee ID

What, exactly, is my 'fired'? If they had visually inspected it, they would've seen they needed "You're", not "Your". I engage in word play, but I don't think that's what happened. Oops.

Keep writing, friends. Even if your undisciplined. Catch that?