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"Doesn't it worry you that you can write such gory villains?"

This is a real conversation I’ve had with someone, and then again with somebody else who has spoken to the first person, who is apparently now worried about me.

So, does it worry me that I can write some deeply evil people?

Confused

No. Of course it doesn’t. Should it?

Yes, I write villains. Yes, sometimes those villains do horrible things, like plan the end of all of humanity, gut some sacrifices to summon the Dark One, or kill a puppy. No, those are not things included in my own five-year plan. Obviously not. Jeez.

And even if I wanted to, I wouldn’t know how to do most of the things my fictional characters are doing. How would I go about summoning Satan? I can’t say I know. I’ve never looked into it. Do tell if you’ve actually managed it!

The person I had this first conversation with is someone I was close to when I was growing up. When I watched something scary on TV, they told me that ‘it wasn’t real – those evil boogie men don’t exist’. So why is me writing so different? My evil characters came from me, true enough, but they are still just fiction – exactly like those boogie men on TV.

demonology research
I took this out for research purposes. For my book, I mean. Not personal ones.

Fiction is fiction. It’s not real. The next time this conversation comes up and someone is worried about my mental well-being I’m planning on patting their back reassuringly, reminding them of this fact.

there there

This concern came from someone who should know me better, and it got me thinking if it’s a common worry which just doesn’t get voiced very often. Then it got me wondering why this person would think like that at all, and then it got me thinking that maybe this is just part of my life now. People assuming that I am all of my characters. I write when I think a lot, and I thought you –  as fellow writers and readers – might appreciate this odd bit of conversation I had. But, to make sure, let me clarify:

I’m a writer. I will write many different characters – some good, some evil. I’m none of them. They’re not part of me, waiting for their chance to take over. (But thank you for thinking I could enslave the whole world if I really put my mind to it – your belief in me means a lot!)

~Sarina

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Published inA Writer's MusingsUncategorized

19 Comments

  1. kay kay

    I totally get this. The same thing has happened to me. Actually, I recently had a conversation over dinner about how my google search history makes me look like a dastardly villain. Also I have a slew of bookmarked websites that have to do with weapons, blood, injuries, and the like. I swear I’m just a writer!

    I think I’ve only had one friend be seriously concerned about me though. Most of the time they just joke. This one friend kinda started avoiding me. It was weird. Sure my villain has this evil plan and I came up with it, but that doesn’t mean I’m evil. (This same friend doesn’t like to read fiction books though, so maybe that’s their own personal problem.)

    • That sounds a lot like my search history. Some of the things I’ve researched are so… ‘uncommon’ (*ahem*) or interesting that I’ve scheduled a blog post about it!

      I’m sorry you’ve lost a friend over it. I don’t know why it’s so hard to understand that our villains don’t define us. It may well be linked to them not reading fiction, but that doesn’t make it right that your friend avoided you because of it. I have found the writing community to be full of wonderful and understanding people, so we get you, Kay 🙂

      • kay kay

        I’m eager for that post! Sounds interesting.
        It’s okay. Like I said, I think they had their own problems to deal with. It’s their loss.
        The writing community is amazing! It’s great to find so many people that understand. Thank you! 🙂

        • Me too! I’ve done some very interesting research. Did you know that the ancient Hawaiians were one brutal people? I’ve really enjoyed my research!
          Their loss exactly! If you ever need to bounce ideas let me know, I’d be happy to 🙂

          • kay kay

            Oh, I didn’t know that. I like learning more about the history of places.
            Thanks! I’m currently doing a read through of my book, so no new stuff to add right now. I might need some idea bouncing after though when I’m filling in the gaps lol. 🙂

          • I do, too, ancient civilisations are fascinating!
            No worries, I’m ready to bounce ideas whenever you like 🙂 Just not next week. I’m taking next week off 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing this post! It did actually get me thinking and now I am wondering, do I really want that pack of Twixes you have mentioned? The answer is yes silly!

    The words and characters we write are not us, even though that some hold a little resemblance to us. Also, they are extensions of people we know and others that we don’t.

    The person who was/is Worried, are artistic or creative? I know this shouldn’t really matter but I have found those who do not have insanely vivid imaginations do not grasp the concept of fiction and the ones that write it. I fear for Stephen King.

    I had a similar worried person when I was young and writing and a family member thought I would grow up to be a murderer or vile individual. Nope, just a writer.

    Thank you for sharing this post and I always fear to be judged by others in such a way.

    • You’re very welcome! I’m glad you could relate to it, although I don’t really understand where this opinion comes from. Yes, we have some odd search histories, bookmarks and characters, but we’ve got a lot of good characters, too. Can’t we be defined by those instead?

      They’re not artistic in any way, and to be honest they’re a bit slow, too (I’ve never met anyone else who doesn’t recognise sarcasm!). When I mentioned that I write by following my characters’ lead – by letting my characters tell me what they do – they even compared it to mental health problems! It’s just a common writer thing, I swear!

      Your comment about Stephen King made me laugh. Goodness, his loved ones must be so worried if mine are anything to go by!

      Don’t be afraid to be judged. You’re one of the glorious writer race, and you should own it with pride!

      • I like your way of thinking with the good characters! They should equally define us and equal things out. That is a common writer thing for sure and for a non writer to grasp it can be quite easy if they can relate. A dancer for instance would recognise it as the flow and momentum that guides them, they don’t control the movements and allow the music to carry them. It’s a shame that some may see this as insane or mental health issues.
        Let’s all be proud!

  3. I’ve had this conversation a few times, actually one of my characters from sims is part of why I was, well let’s say, I took a leave of absence from work.

    I’ve learned that everyone has a dark side and we express that through our writing, it doesn’t make us dark or evil it just means we’ve got an amazing outlet to push all of that darkness into. But it’s the same with the great characters as well. No one person is light or dark but compromised of the two and it’s the great thing about us writers, we can use those two sides to make those kick ass characters that we do.

    I mean, Stephen King hasn’t been locked away yet has he? And look what he writes.

    Either way, the deeds or stories behind our characters doesn’t mean that’s us or what we’re going to do. Our characters may come from us, but just like Harry Potter or any other number of characters, once on the page, they have a tendency of coming to life and having one all of their own.

  4. I made a post sorta about this on FB I think. Nothing big, but I was just rambling that it was much easier for me to get into the head of my ‘evil’ character rather than my ‘good’ guy. I was wondering about my sanity that as I wrote Seth, I never struggled with him, he flowed easily. However, now that I’m working on Malcolm, well he’s been not so easy to understand and write. 🙁 I was seriously thinking I had a problem, and still do to an extent LOL but hey, it’s all fun so I just go with that.

    • I understand, I feel the same way about my evil characters, too. Aeron was such fun to write! I think it’s partly because we’re used to being good, but when we write we can really let loose. Everyone has a dark side, and we can embrace that when we write. It doesn’t make us bad, it just gives us an outlet a lot of people don’t have. Don’t feel bad, you don’t have a problem at all 🙂

  5. Love this post! It resonates so well with me. I love to write characters with questionable moralities. Even when it’s not villains, there are a number of characters that I can conjure who are everything that I am not. At the end of the day, these works of fictions are inspired by a myriad of factors: people we meet, stories we hear, events we witness, etc. They are somewhere inside of us, but it doesn’t mean that we ourselves will ever embody those features and qualities that we have bestowed on our ‘fictitious’ characters.
    Imagination is something that many people seem to have difficulty grappling with. Creativity is not always perceived or presented as something to be lauded. People push for rationality and reason. I know I live in the real world, but I love being able to escape it when I need to, by falling into the worlds swirling around in my mind…. whoops, I think this is turning into a bit of a rant, so I’ll stop before I start sounding insane. 😉
    Thanks again for sharing your insight and thoughts. They are always appreciated!

  6. Evil is usually much more exciting than good. I think Milton must have quickly realized this after writing the first few books of Paradise Lost. Satan is so much more interesting than God. Satan is incredibly interesting, he’s dynamic, makes great speeches…” Tis better to rule in
    Hell, than serve in Heaven.” What a guy!

  7. This is similar to how some people believe actors are like the characters they play. Or that every song a singer sings pertains to the singer who sings it. People who think like this are close minded. If you think about it hundreds of thousands of people play violent video games. It doesn’t mean their violent and are going to harm someone. A lot of times these things such as video games and writing are an outlet for people expressive themselves and/or vent their frustrations rather than bottling it up.

  8. I am with you. I often get accusations due to what I write and the form I use. Well said!

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