Besides reading books, I like to fill my driving time with audiobooks. Right now, I’m finishing up The House of Secrets by Brad Metzler and Tod Goldberg. I love the narration by Scott Brick and January LaVoy. But the best part is the dive into early American history, the complex relationship between George Washington and Benedict Arnold, and the suggestion that we Americans have not been taught all the truth that lays there between the pages of history.
It’s possible that General Arnold slipped over to the side of the British army in order to be a spy for his good friend George. Could you imagine using a Bible to send messages secretly? When so few could read, it wouldn’t raise many concerns that this was a bad thing.
In The House of Secrets, Metzler and Goldberg present Arnold as a family man, an inspired and inspiring military strategist, and clever enough to have pulled off being a spy. Thus, history gives us a wonderful Villain’s Arc, an example of how a “bad guy” can actually not be so bad. Really, the hero in his or her own story.
I’m seeing this more and more as I watch movies and read books. In the movie, Interstellar, there are so many “bad guys” that your head could actually spin. Yet, each one is doing what they are doing for the very best reasons in their own minds. To prevent despair and panic, to continue having a chance at life, and to actually step out in the belief that someone will come to rescue us, the humans who have totally borked the planet Earth.
In my new favorite of all times Romantic Movie, The Shape of Water, steps are taken to show the evil man as having a family he cares for, if offhandedly, a career he sees moving him to the top, and a usually suppressed feeling of superiority that makes him impulsive and susceptible to flattery. He actually remains pretty bad, but we are shown his reasons for his actions.
My Crazy series falls into the romantic thriller category so I have to have someone in each story who does the evil that takes the main characters into the scary and desperate world of life or death actions. In Crazy for Trying, a jealous coworker sees an opportunity to set up Adam on embezzlement charges and reaps the benefits of less competition at work. In Crazy for Lying, the captain of the cruise ship has been under a black cloud due to an event he had no control over on a previous cruise. He feels he has no loyalty to the cruise line and only wants to make his impending retirement comfortable.
I’m hoping I can portray these men as being human, being ready to do what they see is the only way improve their lives, and being that touch of evil past normal. I want to make them the hero of their own stories. If I can’t do that, I need to read more books and watch more movies so I can learn how to do it.
Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Sunday.