Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Motivation of Evil

Several years ago, when I was first outlining Eternal Knight, my friend, Christian Cameron, sat down with me and let me “pitch” the novel to him. In my pitch I described an epic struggle of good versus evil, all revolving around three ancient artifacts of great power.

As I described the evil warlord leading his hosts in a vicious war of conquest, Christian stopped me.

“What’s his motivation?” Christian asked.


“The bad guy. Why’s he trying to conquer the world?”

“Uhhh,” I started. And then, “Hmmmm.” I thought about it for a bit. “Because he’s, well, bad.”

Christian just gave me a pathetic look. “He’s got to have a reason he wants to do this.”

“He’s evil. Like Sauron.”

“You’re not Tolkien. Tolkien could get away with it.”  And then Christian said something to me that hit me like a truck. “You know what Hitler saw when he looked in the mirror? He saw a hero.” I don’t know if Christian is the first person to make that statement, but it set me back for a moment.

Hitler saw himself as a hero. The bad guy thinks he’s a good guy.  What if my bad guy thinks he’s a good guy?

“He thinks he’s saving the world,” I said.

“From what?”

Ahhhh…from what?

And so the Wasting was born. A dreaded disease of magical origin threatening all life in the world. A disease that everyone wanted to cure.

The good guys want to cure it as well. Wait a sec…. 

What if my bad guy is really the good guy? What if my protagonist discovers she is on the wrong side?

Wait a sec… what if there are no good guys? All the major powers are self-interested and use the Wasting as an excuse to improve their situation.

And so Eternal Knight was born. A protagonist who has grown up in a world dominated by war and the Wasting leaves home to seek aid from greater powers. In her journey she discovers that good isn’t always good and evil isn’t always what it appears to be.

Thanks, Christian.

1 comment:

  1. Well, you've just sold it to me...Good luck with the publishing. When you make it, let me know. I'd love a copy and a read...

    (Hmmm...`Hitler sees a hero...` Maybe I should work that around my character a bit more...thanks)