The official blog of Jane Domagala

GOOD vs. EVIL – Blurring the lines

There has to be evil so that good can prove its purity above it. Buddha

The battle between Good and Evil is never ending, and it's one concept I love to explore. But how does one know who is good and who is evil? In real life we base our decision on our own values. If you believe killing is bad then all people who kill are bad. That's a very basic tool you can use for writing, but is it enough? What if a person killed defending their family? Or, in the case of a character like Dexter, what if a person kills to rid the world of other bad people?

Blurring the line between the good and evil traits within your characters will make them more rounded. Give them something to anguish over. Your protagonist wants to be good and do the right thing, but to reach their goals they have to perform a despicable act. What will they choose to do? Have they made mistakes where they didn't do the right thing? Do they have regrets? How do they get over the guilt? Can they redeem themselves?

The same applies to your villains/antagonist. One thing I constantly remind myself of when I write is that no one believes they are bad. People will justify acts of evil to obtain their goals. They may not see the acts as evil at all if they believe it is for the greater good. And villains are capable of doing good things. But will they choose to do good things? What are their motivations for doing the things that others see as evil?

How dark you make your characters and far you push the boundaries of what they're capable of is up to you. Just have fun and continue blurring the lines.
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