Good and Evil

Good and Evil

Good and Evil |Every work of fiction by any author deals with good and evil on some level. Put simply, protagonists (main characters) are good. Antagonists (the bad guys) are evil. There are shades of gray on both sides. Not all main characters are squeaky clean, without sin, or perfect in any way. Just the same, not all bad guys are completely bad or even always guys.

The main characters are the ones we root for, the ones we want to win out in the end. In the process, they face adversaries and their own frailties, weaknesses, or imperfections. Through this, they change, learn, grow as characters.

This applies to fiction in any genre, be it science fiction, romance, fantasy, mystery, horror, or thriller. And it doesn’t matter if it’s Christian or secular. These are the stories we want to read.

Imagine trying to get behind a purely evil protagonist as a main character who is out to wreak revenge, death, and destruction across the fictional world. Well, I suppose you could if you were a fan of H. P. Lovecraft and Cthulu. Still, most characters that resonate with readers are good, and/or strive to do right.

The Good

When we create a main character (MC), there are usually flaws or issues that make that character not perfect. True, the MC is the good in the story and will attempt to do the good or right thing. But, what is the good? Usually, the MC has to step outside of his or her self and do something for someone else, for the community, the country, or humanity. Sometimes, that involves battling against incredible odds, an overwhelmingly powerful opponent, city hall, or solving a particularly difficult murder case.

The MC struggles through adversity, resistance, and often directly against an antagonist to accomplish the goal. But, the effort is to do the right thing. Defeat the bad influence, antagonist, and put the world right.

The Evil

The antagonist works against the MC. There is the ethically challenged city manager trying to skim from the city coffers. Then there is the competing love interest that uses nefarious methods to thwart the romantic efforts of the MC. Or, how about a dark evil being lurking in the abandoned metro tunnels, sending it’s minions out to thwart the efforts of the MC?

It boils down to the antagonist’s core motives of self: selfish, self-serving, self-aggrandizing. Not all the bad guys in fiction are purely evil. They may perform some acts of kindness out of a fractured attempt at redemption, but usually those fail. Unless, the point of the story is to bring the antagonist to some kind of redemption.

Life is full of examples on both sides of this duality. Most aren’t quite so well defined and obvious, but you can see them.

Keep writing.

 

 

Error

Error

Error | Guy L. PaceEvery book you ever read had an error. Some typo, misspelling, missing word, misuse of there, they’re, or their.

It happens.

I know Sudden Mission and Nasty Leftovers have some errors. I stumble across a couple when I do a reading. It is unavoidable. Carolina Dawn very probably has a few errors that got past my editor and myself.

Fortunately, before I pushed up the final version of the e-book, I found a couple of errors. I intended for a specific passage as a block quote. And, there was a name change missed on one page. I was able to make those corrections, recompile the e-book and print documents, and got them pushed back up to Amazon and Ingram in plenty of time.

Tools

I use Scrivener for all my writing. Yes, the new version is great and once I sorted out how to edit format templates, things went well and complies were reasonably quick. To get the e-book format up to Amazon, you need to create a .kpf file and for that you need Kindle Create (on the Mac). That link may or may not work, depending on if you have a KDP account or not.

So, Scrivener was working great, then I got into Kindle Create (KC). It imported the e-book document just fine, and I worked through the formatting. But, then KC caused a hard crash on my Mac. No warning. Just BOOM!

After I got everything back in order on the Mac, sent off the error report and log files to Amazon’s KDP support folks, I got back to work. I saved frequently, and got out of the app every hour or so. It all worked out and I uploaded the .kpf file.

I seem to remember a similar crash on an earlier version of the Kindle tool that created the .mobi file (no longer supported). Oh, well. We move along.

Thanks for listening. Thanks for all the support, likes on Facebook, and retweets on Twitter.

Keep writing.

I will, too.

 

Just the Messenger

I’m just the messenger

In my novel, Sudden Mission, I have the angel Gabriel show up to bring a message to the main character, Paul. His job is to get Paul to listen to the message and do what is asked. He doesn’t tell Paul how to do his task, what tools to use, or even make suggestions.

Sudden Mission Cover“I’m just the messenger,” he tells Paul. Gabriel’s task is to deliver the message. His statement almost seems like a cop out, but it isn’t and it is an important point to consider. This story is not about Gabriel. Gabriel’s role, as an angel, is to glorify God. In this case he is doing an assigned task, God’s bidding.

In some ways, the story isn’t even about Paul. The story is about faith. It’s about trust in and obedience to God. Gabriel does his part, delivering the message. Paul does his part by being the protagonist and living through the things that happen on his quest. But the story is also about God’s love and redemption.

So, where does that leave me, the author? I’m the one who hammered out the pages, word after word. Then I rewrote, edited, corrected. Editors worked on it and I again rewrote, corrected and edited. Our proofreader went over it. Again I corrected and fixed. The story is polished and powerful. I should be proud. My story, right?

No.

As the writer, author, I need to remember that the story isn’t about me, either. I have to put my ego aside and listen to God. He is the one telling the story. God gifted me with the skills and talents, the imagination and the words, and He’s using that in me to tell the story. He gifted my publishing team, my editor and proofreader, too. It is through these gifts that this story came to be.

As Jesus said, “… apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5 (NIV)

His story.

I stand in the wings now, seeing the fruit of God’s story.

I’m just the messenger.

 

—–

Note: A slightly different version of this first appeared on the Vox Dei Publishing blog on August 18, 2015: http://www.voxdeipublishing.com/blog/messenger