As I prepare for the Bards and Sages eFestival of Words, I have to say that this panel may be my favorite. I’ll be sitting with some other awesome authors to discuss why we sometimes (often for me) root for the antagonist.
What is it about the bad guys we love so much?
I for one always note that bad guys in musicals and Disney movies get the best songs.
Questioning the reason leads to differing philosophies.
For us, the bad guy is the underdog who just had a rough time. Most writers know that telling a story means sticking with certain perspectives; one shift and the antagonist could easily be your protagonist.
It’s a creative decision how the writer lays that out. I myself love creature horror. Even though I’ve had most publishing success with children’s and non-fiction, there is something about breaking away from wrapping everything up into a neat package.
Sometimes I find the gruesome characters hold a repressed charm. They often don’t play by the rules, don’t allow anyone to stop them, and do whatever the hell they want. Sure this fits a lot of great protagonists to a degree, but our heroes usually require some restraint, whereas the “monster” is basically a giant kid who doesn’t put up with having to eat their veggies before dessert.
My story, “Scent of Flesh,” which is to be featured by the Crystal Lake Publishing anthology Fantastic Tales of Terror next month is a perfect example. In it, the vicious Wendigo are monsters who only seek to fulfill their hunger. Every scrap of self-control left them when the made a terrible decision that led to damnation.
Not every story needs a person to be the “bad guy,” but many of us cheer on horrendous endings in horror because they not only teach us something, but they represent those hidden pieces of ourselves that long to escape, rebel, or destroy.
Sunday August 19th at 10am EST you can hop on and read our discussion. Ask some questions. Leave comments. The pages will be up afterwards if you’re not able to log on at the set time, but my colleagues and I will be up and conversing about this awesome topic.