Friday, March 25, 2011

Evil (Is Going On)

If you make it to your house,
Knock on your front door,
Run round to the back;
You'll catch him before he goes.
That's evil, evil is going on.
I am warning you brother,
You better watch your happy home.

Oh the lessons a writer can learn from a simple blues song. The first thing that comes to mind when listening to Howlin Wolf is conflict, conflict, conflict. In a few short verses we have all the trappings of so many stories. Bluesman comes home from a gig to find his wife in bed with another man. Domestic violence occurs, but the offending adulterer gets away. A week later, the bluesman is arrested for murder. Did he do it or was he framed? Wolf's song, written by Willie Dixon, doesn't have a murder in it, but what I am getting at is that the tune has all the makings of becoming a good book. 

Without conflict nobody would read books or go to the movies. Seriously. If Anakin Skywalker just forgave everyone of anything that happened to him we wouldn't have Darth Vader or the Star Wars films. Vader's ability to hold a grudge presented us with conflict for how many movies? Chew on that awhile.

Storytellers and authors, do you have any Evil (Is Going On) in your stories, novels, etc.? If not you are probably going to lose some of your readers, for Evil is the source of conflict.

Yes, I realize you might be writing a memoir about overcoming your debilitating disease and there is no inherent "evil" in the cancer eating away at your body. However, the cancer is a source of conflict, which will give you what you need for a touching story.

Speaking of evil, it seems that recently I've had many conversations with people who don't believe in good vs. evil, or the concept of evil at all. I'm not here to preach at people about my beliefs. Really I just want to point out a few ideas sparked by a cool blues tune. Having said that; if you don't believe in good or evil, remember that our world is full of opposing forces that will provide you with conflict. And forgive me if I believe in good vs. evil. It's led me to create some heinous characters.

Genre writers--keep giving us the battles between good vs. evil. Literary fiction writers--whether or not there is evil in many literary tales can be debated, and everyone loves to debate if there is evil in literary fiction. Yet, there is conflict, and the reader can decide for themselves if a character of conflict is evil.

However, if I come home late at night and find evil is going on . . . those involved may find me remunerating their actions in full.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome post :) Thank goodness evil can make good things shine that much brighter.