The current project I am working on deals with a person that does some really bad things. This person recognizes they are bad but does them to prove a point and to start something that is not readily apparent to the reader until towards the end of the story.
I am attempting to have the reader understand what the character is doing, not necessarily agree with him, but understand it. One of the greatest things a story can accomplish is to have the consumer question something that they believed they already knew the answer to. This story would be a success if I could get the reader to question or at the very least re-examine their morals.
My inspiration for this story has to do with a question I read in a short story, “What would you do in order to save someone you loved?”. That is very interesting to me. How far would you go? What would you sacrifice? For my story the character isn’t trying to save a individual person he is trying to save something that is not entirely tangible, innocence.
The concept of innocence will probably end up being a completely separate blog post in the future, but it also interests me. Everyone loses their “innocence” at some point growing up. This can be as simple as learning there is no Santa Claus, learning your parents are fallible, to something much darker like physical/sexual abuse, losing a loved one, etc. Now some people believe that physical/sexual abuse is passed from one generation to the next. A person that was abused is more likely to abuse someone in their lifetime. So someone who has their innocence stolen from them is more likely to do the same to someone else.
So a question my character may ask would be, would you be willing to end the life of one person in order to save a dozen? If no, would you be willing to take this same person’s life in order to save your family? And if the question is yes to the 2nd question what does that say about yourself? You would kill to save someone you loved but not a stranger who also has people that care for them. If you think that it is only justifiable if you love the person you are trying to save what if your beliefs cause you to have the same affinity for groups of people and not just a single individual?
My struggle is to enter the mind of someone who would think in these shades of grey and not make him out to be a monster. Sometimes I enjoy it other times it is truly a struggle. Yet the reason I love to write and tell stories is the ability to step into another’s shoes and see the world as they see it. So if it disturbs me at times then hopefully it will do the same for the reader, and the ability to elicit emotion is one of writers greatest tools!