So if you are reading this chances are you know that I’m a writer. Good on you. So I wrote this suspense psychological thriller that you can check out here. Yes, it has triggers and stuff so if you can’t deal with that type of thing, I totally get it. But that isn't the point of this post. I have one major issue with this book, and I'm going to post a video for this one to so you can physically see me talk about this, the fact that there is no backstory for my villains. This was intentional and well thought out. And this is why.
It is infinitely hard and sometimes impossible to undo something once it's been implanted into your mind. Just think inception. Once something affects the very core of your thought process it's there for say and in some cases you can't undo it.
The book is told from the perspective of the victim. They whole point of such a novel is that it is told from the emotional well of the mind of the person revealing the story. Anything outside of this realm should only be mentioned if it won’t change your view of the villain from their perspective. If this were an open book where whatever opinion, you made of said villain was totally on you then fine. But the point isn't for you to draw your own conclusion. It's to see why the protagonist of the book drew theirs, how they got where they got, and what permeant or reversible damage they suffered because of it.
If I gave any reasoning for why the villains do what they do in this book it would ruin it. Once you have a solid reasoning for what they did beyond what is tailored specifically for the book. It's over. I can't undo it. The certain amount of empathy that you've created for them or understanding would take so much work to undo the book would become, in part, about them and the reality of the situation is I still wouldn't be able to undo it. You just would not under any circumstances see them the way it is needed for you to see them to feel the emotional turmoil of the victims in the story.
This is a really big problem. For example, I saw a meme that was all upset over the whole Lion king where we get to see it from Timon's and Pumba's perspective. This meme creator wanted to see how Scar and Mufasa got to their bad point of brotherhood. The reality of the situation is this will change your entire view of the first lion king. It seems okay in theory, but what if it was Mufasa's fault. What if Scar should be king. What if he was actually some sort of favourite child and the parents just straight up disrespected scar. Now, even though Mufasa was a super amazing and in fact perfect King and a great father, we now care that Scar got eaten by the hyena's. This totally ruins the story. We aren't supposed to care not one bit that he gets his comeuppance. Besides, he gets the best one-liners and the Sarcasm just oozes out of him, one of the better Disney villains. Why would we want to ruin that with knowledge of he and his brother's past?
What makes fiction work is imagination? When you give people too much what is there left for them to fabricate on their own. To discuss later. To make assumptions for as to why things happened the way they did. There's nothing. Their brain isn't allowed to subconsciously fill on the gaps of the things you don't tell them. Most people have friends, siblings cousins. We can fabricate numerous reasons as to why the brother relationship went south. These are things we can willingly take for granted and not even second guess. Sibling rivalry. Yup we get that. Nothing else is needed. Same with my villain.
See the thing is most people have run into bad people raised in good environments who are just bad. The same as good people raised under horrible conditions that are just good. However, in the literary field when someone is bad there has to be a reason for some reason. Where is the why? Apparently it's perfectly acceptable to just be yes people can be inherently good but nooooo they can’t just be bad. I need back story! I demand it! But again this would totally ruin the book because the permanent thoughts place in your mind I won't ever undo in this lifetime.
People underestimate the power of actually not saying things. In my last book here there are some things I exposition the hell out of. That's because later on when it's important I’m not trying to go through pages and pages of all that show and don't tell nonsense. I just want to actually write the scene knowing I’ve placed the info you need to make it work in your head even if you can't remember a single bit of what I said. Your brain will automatically fill in what I don’t say with the info I gave you regardless of the fact that people are so anti tell and more show. It serves its purposes especially for a writer who prefers as a reader that you just explain shit to me. My brain will do the work for me. I guess I believe in some cases it’s def better not to tell, and in others it’s definitely better to tell, but only if either of these serve the purposes of allowing the reader to subconsciously hypothesise on their own. To create simultaneously while reading.
So as to my book. Well again the character’s breathe through every page though they get the least page time. Only speak when being vicious or pushing their own agenda. So ultimately they occupy your brain the most while having the least dialogue and the lowest amount of page time. And it was intentional and I stand by that.
As I said in the beginning all the things you will feel, think, and draw conclusions for from some sort of back story are exactly the things that will go against the visual you need of them for the book to work. And I very firmly stand by my opinion that if you can believe that people can be inherently good they can also be inherently evil. I see no difference. And I doubt that I ever will.