A short monthly piece to show what's happening in the editor-in-chief's brain...and in his office. Besides reading. Lots of reading.
At the moment social media feeds are full of vitriol. Quite rightly, the presidential race fills people with passion, both because posts are powerful and also because it seems we’ve begun to look at everything like a game. Blue vs. red? Does anyone remember Color Wars from summer camp?
There is a similarity in literature. In novels, the story often requires an antagonist, a character who thwarts the hero and heroine and is generally opposed to all they desire. It is easiest as a writer to attribute these actions to the characters being “crazy” or “evil,” but it is more satisfying for a reader to see the living, breathing person behind the dark decisions, and perhaps even to imagine they too might be redeemed.
It is true that there is joy in simply seeing the bad guy defeated and the “good guys” win, and there certainly are those in this world who are past reclamation, but the best books remember that everyone is the hero of his or her own story. The richness of the world—and the enrichment of it—comes from seeing as many people as possible finding their happy endings.
P.S. Apart from the election, one of the reasons for this topic’s relevance to me is that I recently saw what I thought was a wonderful handling of an antagonist who in many other books would have been much less engaging. Curious? Check out A Hero to Hold by Sheri Humphreys.