Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Where’s the Love?

A week ago Friday (that’d be April 11 for anyone who might be calendar-challenged, *cough* Maven Erica *cough*), Mr. Burke and I drove to Seattle (we live in the Portland-area) to see His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama at Seeds of Compassion. We bought tickets to see Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds in an acoustic concert and were excited the event included a “dialogue” between His Holiness and Dave (and moderated by a local newsperson, Margaret Larson). They spoke about using the media to promote compassion. My favorite part is when they talked about the power of women in leadership. Think about your mom and how important she is in your family unit, how her power feeds into the power of everyone in that unit. They talked about how the world is truly ripe for women leaders. How woman are innately more compassionate than men. Interesting stuff (and no, this was not a veiled endorsement for Hillary – I’m fairly certain Dave’s an Obama guy and I don’t know about His Holiness).

His Holiness also spoke about having compassion for our enemies and that this is what could bring us together in a global sense. This got me thinking about villains. I think most people agree that writing a villain is challenging and can often be as time consuming as writing a protagonist even though they may have less screen time. Really good villains have some sort of identifiable trait – identifiable to the reader and to the protag. Really? Do protags consciously identify with their nemeses? I’m not sure they have to, but a protag who finds compassion for their enemy? Wow, the possibilities there! Got me thinking about projects I’m working on. By showing our villains a little love we might just shine a light into the dark husk that was once their heart - and just might be again. Ah, the layers we can pull from the things we experience and learn in our daily lives. Thank you, Dalai Lama.

What’s your stance on villains? Misunderstood? All of them should suffer? Been to a neat event lately? Show us the love!

5 comments:

Amy Addison said...

Great post Darcy! And what a wonderful opportunity...Dave Matthews AND His Holiness? Wow.

As far as villains: my biggest pet peeve as a reader is cardboard villains. Make the villain was well-rounded and uncaricaturish as you can and I will understand his motivations and why it is so important for him to win (and why he will never quit)....and why the hero has to fight so hard against him (and why he can never quit). THAT is the stuff of great storytelling.

Erica Ridley said...

Sounds like an awesome time!!!

Really good villains have some sort of identifiable trait – identifiable to the reader and to the protag. Really? Do protags consciously identify with their nemeses?

Wow, I really like this way of putting it. I agree, I think a villain is all the more scary to a protagonist if they understand where he's coming from (and even scarier if it's a "there but for the grace of God go I" type of situation, where they could totally see themselves in that same position, had things turned out differently in the past).

lacey kaye said...

even scarier if it's a "there but for the grace of God go I" type of situation, where they could totally see themselves in that same position, had things turned out differently in the past

You girls are giving me too much food for thought! Must.write.this.book...

Darcy Burke said...

Hmmm, just realized I didn't put my TV picture up today! I blame my eleventy billionth cold since last fall. That, and who can compete with His Holiness?

Maven Lacey: You. Must. Write. That. Book.

Jackie Barbosa said...

I like villains so much, I write them and then redeem them just enough so they can get their own books :).

And, er, like Lacey: Must. Write. That. Book.

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