Monthly Archives: January 2016

Knowledge of Good and Evil

The serpent was the shrewdest of all the wild animals the Lord God had made. One day he asked the woman, “Did God really say you must not eat the fruit from any of the trees in the garden?”

“Of course we may eat fruit from the trees in the garden,” the woman replied. “It’s only the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden that we are not allowed to eat. God said, ‘You must not eat it, or even touch it; if you do you will die.'”

“You won’t die!” The serpent replied to the woman. “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

The woman was convince. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it. Then she gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it, too. At that moment their eyes were opened, and they suddenly felt shame at their nakedness. So they sewed fig leaves together to cover themselves.

Genesis 3:1-7 (NLT)

The most difficult part of writing a novel is getting into the head of the antagonist and write about his or hers terrible actions. No character should be flat, a Svengali entirely devoid of goodness; to be evil for evil’s sake and no other reason. Their evil actions should have an understandable if not sympathetic motivation.

It should always be a matter of choice, thereby making them responsible for their actions. As such, when they’re forced to accept the consequences, the reader cheers.

The antagonist of my current novel is about to do something so evil, so stomach-churning, I admit to difficulty writing it out. My characters may not be living, breathing humans on this earth, but they are real in my mind. I don’t want to see them harmed. But then I would have a very boring book if the bad guys didn’t do horrible things to the good guys.

Goodness shines much brighter in the shadow than in the light. The success of good against evil in fiction gives the reader hope that goodness can win against the darkest of evils in the real world.

In that sense, as a writer (and only as a writer, mind you. Like most other people, I hate seeing people suffer because of the evil acts of others), I’m a little bit glad Adam and Eve ate the fruit.

If my own eyes weren’t open and I didn’t have the knowledge of good and evil, my stories would be boring indeed.

Even as my conscience squirms.

Repeat Retweet

One of the first things my mom learned from Alcoholics Anonymous is that once a person gives up on their addiction, it’s not over. They often choose a different addiction — hopefully one less destructive.

Giving up on Facebook was difficult. I felt a little bit like an addict itching for a fix. That I would still get notifications didn’t help.

Now, after one month I don’t miss it so much, even with the occasional notification. I am spending a bit more time on Twitter, though. Not like Facebook, mind you. Maybe once every couple of days, and I usually don’t spend more than five minutes at a time. With Twitter it’s quicker to catch up with people than Facebook, because of the 140 character limitations.

A few days ago, Dave and I watched and episode of Criminal Minds where popular people on social media were being murdered. A suspect met one of those famous people he followed and said, “I’ve been following you for a long time. You even retweeted one of my tweets, and because of that I gained six more followers!” He was so proud. Most people would find it pathetic, that a person would take so much pride in a retweet. I was one of them. For about a half a second.

Two days prior I had commented on an actor’s feed pertaining to abortion. I didn’t think much of it, because I’ve done it before. And with someone who has tens-of-thousands of followers, I didn’t expect any kind of response, except for a few likes from said actor’s followers. A few minutes later, I received a notification that he both quoted and responded to my tweet. Within 24 hours I received over 20 likes and 20 retweets. I even gained a few new followers. I also discovered that my tweet made a site called Twitchy who scours Twitter for news and opinion, usually pertaining to politics. The writers comment on those tweets with a decidedly conservative bent, and with a lot of snark.

Part of me wanted to brag about it, but after watching Criminal Minds, I was glad I didn’t. After all, who wants to look as pathetic as a man whose only highlight in his life was to be retweeted by someone famous?

Once the Criminal Minds episode ended, I told Dave about my own brush with social media notoriety. Sure, I could have kept my mouth shut, but I also know my husband wouldn’t think less of me, any more than I know you will.

I said once a person should do three things each day:

  1. Learn something new.
  2. Do at least one good deed.
  3. Do something silly and make sure other people know about it.

Three is important, because I think we take ourselves too seriously. We need to laugh at ourselves at times, because it keeps us humble. This is one such moment for me, so go ahead and laugh. I need the humility.

Hopefully I won’t allow this entire episode (no pun intended) to encourage me to spend even more time on Twitter in the vain hope I can do a repeat retweet from a famous person (Oi. Try and say that seven times fast!).

I need to spend that time working on my current novel. Not to brag or anything (yeah, that’s a lie), but I took a week’s vacation between Christmas and New Years. I set a goal of writing 20,000 words for those 10 days (including weekends). Believe it or not, but I managed to write over 30,000. Go me!