|G. M. Church, Harrisburg, PA.|
© Paul Hair, 2011.
The idea that authors should imbue evil characters with “nuance” so as to make them sympathetic and relatable to the reader is an idea that remains popular. But I reject it. Evil characters aren’t nuanced. They may not be seemingly engaged in doing wrong at every moment of their lives, but that doesn’t change who they are. And it’s wrong to want people to sympathize with them.
This isn’t to say that every antagonist is evil, or that every character who does wrong is irredeemable. But there is nothing romantic about bad guys. Furthermore, there is nothing honorable about trying to blur the line between good and evil.
All of us know the truth on some level. In fact, we see it even in the people who try to put nuance into evil characters, or who try to show that good guys aren’t really the good guys. This results in twisting good into evil and vice versa, but it still ends with the idea that there is a battle between the two (even as the idea of which is which is wrong).
Not all of my stories contain the theme that evil exists and that we need to destroy it (not overtly, at least). But all my stories show the consequences of evil, or how there is a war between good and evil.
Visit the “Books by Paul” page for a list of the books I’ve contributed to that are for sale. You’ll see how I treat good and evil in them. And search through the site to read free stories that I’ve published here serially. You’ll find the same thing.
One of the in-progress, free stories I’m current serially publishing is, “Sodom by the Susquehanna.” I’m working on completing the next installment and will post it as soon as it is ready.