3-4-All Blog Prompt #6 (Evil Characters)

Well it was Admiral Jespah who set the Ad Astra Blog question this time, clearly Miranda Fave is still in the B’Moth Sector looking for me after the last blog reply and it such a hum dinger that I’ve had to think for most of the week on my answers to her questions. You can view the original questions here: –

http://boldlyreading.com/2013/08/06/blog-prompt-6-writing-complex-evil-characters/

 

Well after the wait I hope that

a) that this blog is something someone wants to reads and

b) someone will like it on some level

c) don’t feel that I’ve reveal myself to be evil, well I do speak with a British accent which is a usually indication in Hollywood movies of a villain.

For once one out of three won’t cut it on this blog. So without further ado, as Admiral Jespah is of course reveal to be a Excalbian continuing their experiments to understand the human philosophies of “good” and “evil” as last seen in “The Savage Curtain,” [TOS].

I’ll try to answer the questions and not end up in a pool of lava.

 

Q1. How do you write evil characters that are not mere caricatures?

A1. In all honestly, to avoid creating mere caricatures is a task with great difficulty for me but I find that also apply to my good characters as well.

I think the key thing in writing character is to ensure that I try to bear in mind the following two quotes,

The first by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow,

“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each man’s life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility”.

The second by Aleksandra Solzhenitsyn,

“…the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

In other words, just as my heroes and heroines need to have vices to break their all star good guy caricature so my villains and villainess need their virtues and reasons why they believe their actions are good, even if they’re perhaps a little warped.

To be honest this is still a work in progress with my writing but perhaps the other piece of good advice I’ve found for this one is from Decipher old Star Trek Role-play game narrator’s guide, “…focus on the character’s motivation. Why is the NPC doing what he does?”

After all Sela reasons for opposing the federation are different from Gul Dukat opposition to it, and the way they go about achieving there goal are thus different.

Q2. Do you find ways to garner sympathy, even for the wicked (or the devil, perhaps?)?

A2. I do try to ensure my regular villains garner sympathy and this is part of the reason that I put a dead Chilo in a MU Agony Booth for my Titan WFW bit story. Because from the round robins the Chilo are a great villain to write but I don’t think till Trekfan put one in a Hank disguise and expanded on their reason for hating everybody did they become a more than two dimensions monsters and became the great villains they are.  On the wider sympathy topic, I do want to try and to do little scenes with my antagonists to try and show their reasons for been in opposition to my ‘heroes’. I admit that my two stories in the archive aren’t the best example of this, but something else for me to work on for future stories, me thinks.

Q3. Do you surprise your readers by turning a character from good to evil, or evil to good?

A3. Not yet, as for the future, I’m going to keep you guessing. Insert evil laugh here.

Q4. How grey is the shading?

A4. Going back to the Solzhenitsyn quote, I do try to put a lot of grey in my shading for both my heroes and villains. By the same note, for me one of Trek greatest strengths is while they’re great shades of grey (not that novel) in Trek, especially DS9, the extremes of the rainbow are bolder at either end and thus the shades in between are bolder in their relief. To try and clarify that, since Kirk or Picard are such the undoubted good guys to their enemies like Kor or Borg Queen villains that when we get the Romulans or the Ferengi and the Cardassians with characters like Sela, Quark and Garak who to call them good or evil outright fails to do them or the actors playing them justice when cast in the light or darkness of the extremes of the Trek-verse.

 

Bonus questions!

Q5. Which evil characters have you enjoyed writing the most?

A5. The last one, whoever it might of being, there is a strange joy in writing characters who can broadly be classified as evil, as they can say and do things you would never do. It a good relief after a day of toying the line at work in putting a villain in a similar situation in space and let them doing ‘evil’.

Q6. Which evil character, created by another author, have you enjoyed reading the most?

A6. The Chilo. SLWalker had a genius idea and all the writers of Ad Astra over the two multiverse round robins have taken them from unbelievable monsters to a great villain with strange powers, ideas and strategies to achieve their objectives.

Q7. Which canon evil character do you enjoy watching or reading the most?

A7. Q, if he still counts as an evil character and not a strange and scary teacher in your mind. For he is to me the old saying ultimate powers corrupts ultimately personified. He has seemingly ultimate power and is yet so self serving and self justifying in his actions but his chasing Kathryn Janeway and mating with Lady Q, have put him in a different context, so I’m not 100% convinced calling him an evil cannon character is still fair now as it was during the TNG Era. Perhaps that just a sign, that the show writers making the comic trickster more sympatric as they found such joy to have him on the screen and in text of books.

 

Well those are my answer to this prompt, please comment, but apologises if I don’t seem to answer, for some strange reasons, I can’t see my Blog comments other than in the disquis summary, Must be doing something wrong but that just me, a real D’oh with technology.

 

Now if you wonder what started this topic, might I refer you to Jespah excellent story ‘Paving stones from good intentions’ which can be read here: –

http://www.adastrafanfic.com/viewstory.php?sid=1223&chapter=1

 

And the forum comments on that story, which I believe were the driver for this blog prompt.

http://forums.adastrafanfic.com/index.php?/topic/2069-boldly-reading-book-club-1-discussion-thread/

 

Well that me done for now, I hope you enjoy this or at least found something to philosophise over later in your own blog or stories.

Thou one question for you other Trek Bloggers, is that everybody else seems to be able to source great Trek pictures to liven their blog’s up, what is the secret source of these pictures?

Well bye for now. Thanks as always for reading.

5 thoughts on “3-4-All Blog Prompt #6 (Evil Characters)

  1. janetgershensiegel

    W00t! Thanks for answering!

    I crib my pictures from Trekcore usually (you need to save ’em and then upload them to the blog, as Trekcore does not allow hotlinking). Some images are from Memory Alpha, too.

    A British evil genius!! Dang, you could probably recite a grocery list, insert an evil laugh, and I’d be all over that. Minions! Bring me my sandwich cookies and dishwasher soap!

    Sorry, was just channeling evil grocery lists for a second there.

    So – I agree – the motivation is the key. I think a lot of people write evil for the sake of evil, and then you end up with the kinds of villains that Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers films more or less parodies. I mean, who blows up the world, or whatever, without some reason?

    Hell, even psychopaths have reasons!

    Thanks for responding again. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Profile photo of falsebillfalsebill Post author

      Thank you for commenting,

      “A evil grocery list, it why I stole the ship Captain!” sound like a reason or at least a very different story to me 😉

      Thanks for the Prompt again.

      Reply
  2. mirandafave

    Interesting response FalseBill. I like how you balance it with both heroes and villains FalseBill. And great quotes to boot.

    Reply
  3. Pingback: Blog Roundup: Week of August 4, 2013 - Ad Astra Journal CommunityAd Astra Journal Community

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