Tuesday, April 19, 2011
That Age Old Battle...
That's right, folks. Good versus Evil. So what of it?
We all know it is out there. We all use it in our writing no matter what we write. We all make a conscious decision every single moment of every single day: Am I good or am I evil?
Personally Evil is just plain, freakin' lazy. That's right. L. A. Z. Y. I can't spell it out any simpler than that. Don't want to work? Sell drugs, rob a bank, mug someone. Don't want to be a nice guy? Lash out, beat the wife and kids and drink yourself senseless rather than doing something productive to earn a good night's sleep. Want your kingdom to obey you? Rule with an iron fist and have a legion of people do the killing for you when someone disobeys or disagrees.
To be good... now that is the challenge! That is where you are a Rebel, baby. You don't turn a blind eye to someone in distress, you take the risk of being hurt emotionally or physically by offering a hand. You smile, you help an old lady carry her groceries to her third floor apartment. You WORK at being good. Plain and simple. And when it comes time to lay your head upon your pillow, you sleep well knowing you did a good job and tomorrow is yet another day.
I was going to sit here and outline the old school Dungeons and Dragons Alignments. You know, Lawful Good, Chaotic and Neutral Evil.... there are nine total options, but in the end it breaks down to this:
If you are good, you are good. Lawful Good means you feel responsible for the safety and well being of all those in your care. Neutral Good means means taking a risk to save the lives of the few and the many and Chaotic Good means that you will save only who you deem pure.
Neutral is pretty much that. You are free, you fight for the underdog. You fight for the rights of those who cannot fight themselves. You don't care either way if you live or die.
Evil, well Evil is just all about control. You are either controlled and manipulated by a higher source, you do their bidding. Or you are willing to do just about anything as long as you get what you want in the end. Which is usually death.
Lots of people tend to confuse Evil with Chaotic. A truly Chaotic alignment/personality is someone who is not good or evil, not even neutral. They don't do anything for anyone unless it somehow will benefit them greatly in the end. This is something it took me a while to learn.
So what does all this mean? Does this mean I want to meet every Saturday afternoon and spend hours rolling dice, eating chips and drinking Mountain Dew with you? No. I just find these things useful when writing fantasy. It is also something I like to keep at the forefront of my mind as I am creating a character and developing the personality type. Their structure is absolutely crucial to their role in my story. But this doesn't just describe personality types for fantasy, it can be used for development for any genre.