Redeeming Evil Characters

When it comes to lovable evil characters, Hannibal Lector is one I’d like to give one big ‘ol squeeze.

You can’t help but fall in love with the good Doctor’s wit, intellect and sense of propriety. If it weren’t for the odd liver and fava-bean request, you’d be happy to have him over for dinner, to charm and entertain, right?

Writing evil into any narrative comes with certain perils. Some discerning readers can’t abide free-flowing, mindless slashing and burning without an opposing force of goodness to balance it out. To restore sanity, authors give their evil a redeeming quality.

Pure Evil and Kindness

Hannibal Lector is a good example. He has just enough niceness to keep most lovers of dark fiction in-the-room. There’s a despicable element, but it’s offset by bags of amiability. It’s just not right for a character to be bad from sun up to sun down. No one can be that sinister and not have a lovable side tucked away somewhere.

A creative writer adds something extra for their character — the villain commits murder but visits animal shelters to care for orphaned kittens. Suddenly our fiend is likeable, accessible. There’s hope for them after all.

Mitchell Felding has redeeming traits of his own.

No one dies unless there’s an extremely good reason for them to do so. In fact, when he’s not ending a life, he’s helping someone remain alive. In one instance, he rescues a family from a rampaging thunderstorm that annihilates their entire home.

Mitchell’s second redeeming trait is closer to his heart. He adores his wife Samantha. He’ll do anything for her. He’s especially mindful of Samantha’s religious beliefs. Furthermore, he was the one who remained celibate for her while they dated. It wasn’t an easy time, but he kept his promise just as he said he would.

‘Not until I’m married,’ she told him between kisses.

Seven years was too long, but Mitchell loved Samantha. It just so happens that a dark element was seeded into their relationship — and the abstinence continued long after their nuptials were exchanged. The darkness continued to grow with it.

Mitchell has tried everything to chip at the ice, but nothing works. Sam and Mitchell are like oil and water. And now Sam has told her best friend that she and Mitchell are trying for a baby. A child? How can conception occur without intimacy? How can a couple remain best friends when they should be lovers?

The lies to maintain order are just too to much to bear. Something in Mitchell snaps.

I'm going slightly mad!

At first, Mitchell cheats on Sam for immediate gratification. Bored women from emotionally stifling marriages fulfil a basic need. Secretive, curious wives make the best candidates of all. The women, eager to take a break their humdrum’s routine, are attracted to his sense of adventure and candidness. Each agree to trying out his kink.

But sex only begins the process. Mitchell’s darker side wants a different kind of action. The seethed that feeds it runs deep. Rain washes away the intention, and the evidence. That’s convenient — for a serial killer who hides in plain sight.

SEETHINGS is dark, sensual fiction with a few twists along the way. The last one is explosive.

Michael

Five Random Victims
Summer Thunderstorms
Charm Bracelet
Author: M.Forman
Avail: Kindle, Kobo, Etc

“Forman’s writing style is artful, with the protagonist Mitchell’s warped thought processes masterfully exposed. The author has a powerful and vivid command of language, and his word pictures are stark and disturbingly real.”

– Linda J Bettenay, author of ‘Secrets Mothers Keep’ and ‘Wishes For Starlight’.

2 Comments

  1. I love when authors can make me feel empathy for the villain. Joyce Carol Oates wrote a brilliant novella called “Zombie.” How she developed empathy for a serial killer astounded me.

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