Saturday, July 17, 2010

Be Aware of the Great Battles

Today I want to focus on kindness. What is kindness to me? It's tenderhearted concern, to be sympathetic and understanding. I've been thinking about a Philo of Alexandria quote again: Be kind, for most everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. I think about this almost daily. It's important terms of story telling. I've learned to see that all my characters, the good (of course) and the bad (not as intuitive), are fighting great battles. As I turn my mind's eye toward concern and sympathy, my characters grow and expand. The cardboard cutouts disappear and multi-faceted jewels replace them.

This isn't the hero talk. Generally heroes are likable. Bad guys, not so much. I do think that the bad guys need the most kindness. If you don't try to understand what is motivating them, if you don't try to see the mosaic of good within their evil-slanted psyche, then they end up seeming fake, one note. It will weaken your story. So today, think about an antagonist in your story, what mercy could come his or her way? Why is the character bent on harm? What thorn is in his or her side to cause such pain? What good things do he or she want? Yes, the darker the character, the more difficult it is for the audience to understand. Cut in strands of light to make your darkest characters more human.

Hope this thought helps you as you move forward with creative works. Seize the day, folks.

I call this doodle, "Fire".

A quote for the week:

The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.
Albert Camus


holly cupala said...

Exactly! You said it perfectly, Molly. It's exactly what I had to figure out about Miranda's mother. It's also why Avatar completely stunk (humble opinion). ;)

MollyMom103 said...

Thank you, Holly. Very kind. I'm working my deepest magic ever right now.

Avatar, that was one epic tragedy and not in a good way. That James Cameron should have given us a call, 'cause we could have looked at that script and might have helped with that ... for a fee of course.:)

Richard Jesse Watson said...

Powerful truths Molly. Kindness is strong; I always think of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mojandas Gandhi when I am face with the pull of revenge. This sounds corny as I write it, but those guys prevented monstrous blood shed and chaos by using kindness to unlock their enemies motivation.

Vijaya said...

Ah, the best advice I ever got when I got married was: be kind to each other even when you don't feel like it.

As to villains -- they have their own journey. I'm often fascinated by the dark side. Given the same set of difficulties, one person will strive towards goodness and another towards badness.

Susan Keyes said...

I'm in pre-writing stage for my next masterpiece (ha ha), so your thought today is timely for me as I 'brainstorm' characters. Thanks for the good blog.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Richard, the idea of using kindness to unlock the motivation of your enemies is so powerful. I don't think your words are corny at all.

I agree with you, these men suffered the loss of everything we know and belive is dear for the greater good of all, and they have made the world a better place for it.

Vijaya: I think exploring the "villan's" journey is important.

Hi, Susan, glad to help you along on your pre-writing journey.