clues at the scene

clues at the scene

Monday, March 11, 2013

Left to my own devices...

I know. Hang my head in shame.

There was some leftover taco meat from the weekend and some tortillas and ... nachos. I made a plate of nachos for dinner. I'm so ashamed.

It was however damn tasty. Forbidden food, you know.

I'm unnaturally drawn to things that are bad. Too much opera in my youth? Seeing Katherine Hepburn in The Lion in Winter? Tasting scotch old enough to vote before I was old enough to drive?

If it is bad for me, I want two. We will remove women from consideration in the preceding statement. Reason occasionally has to reassert itself.

This leads me to a problem I have that I didn't know I had until last night. I was tossing in bed thinking about too many things and ... I found a problem I didn't know I had.

I have a novel in mind where my protagonist's actions are indefensible in civil society.

My personal perspective on the human condition is different from yours, gentle reader. You'll have to indulge me when I say that having a protagonist engaging in morally reprehensible behavior didn't immediately register as something dangerous in my fiction.

Now, I have examples. However they are not quite the examples I need.

Jack Reacher kills people but these are bad guys, so it is fine.

Philip Marlow often works for the morally reprehensible, but he leaves them in a worse fate then he found them so that too is fine.

I am going to have to study the twist of "when good things happen to bad characters."

I believe this could be a lovely bit of career.  "We're the very best at being bad." - Bugsy Malone.

2 comments:

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

The more layers there are to a character, the more unforgettable that character becomes. I think the idea of a protagonist with a socially reprehensible facet is an intriguing one. Look at Hannibal Lector. He is a truly loathsome character in some aspects, but he is also intelligent and clever with an appreciation for the finer things in life. Cultured, even. (If you can overlook his teensy little flaw of turning people into a gourmet main course.) One couldn't exactly consider him a protagonist, but I would think what works so well for Lector as the bad guy would also work well for an otherwise good guy.

I don't see it as a problem. I see if as a challenge. Go for it!

And life is too short to only eat the stuff that's "good for us."

j welling said...

Susan -

I came to this idea early this morning and to see it confirmed by your words is just wonderful.

Bad is so much more fun. We love the saint when he sins a little and we love the devil with a perfect smile.

I'm wading forward into the land of the bad protagonist and it may take a couple shots to get it right. It is however "me." It is something I want to write.

Thanks so much for the encouragement. You perspective was just what I needed !