I get the feeling I’m about to find out.
When the invitation came through to join the Evil League of Evil Writers, I was thrilled. I’ve guest blogged on the site, and I agree wholeheartedly with their mission of evil. That won’t surprise a lot of people.
I jumped at the chance, primarily, because the rest of the members all pretty much rock, but also because the very idea of an evil league is pretty damn cool. I watched the League theme song video with a delighted cackle on my lips and, like a mad scientist, began to analyze just why the Dark side was so appealing. Do they have cookies, and if so, are there any white-chocolate, macadamia nut goodies left for me?
Villains are cool. My villains, your villains, anyone’s villains. Personally, I trace the phenomenon to its origin, somewhere between David Bowie’s goblin king and Dragonlance’s evil, wizard twin, Raistlin. I fell for the dark side somewhere between Maleficent and Mad Madam Mim. (Disney really does the evil sorceress best) I’m sure everyone else has their own favorites, but why do so many of us just love that bad guy? It just might be because the dark side actually does have much more to offer…
Points in favor of villainy (the cookies)
Power: The dark side has better magic. It’s true. No matter how many sparkly, swish-and-flick spells the good guys have at their disposal, the other side’s are always bigger, more dramatic and far more powerful.
Spontaneity: You never know what the dark side will do next! The villain can be counted on to shake things up whenever boredom threatens. They are the unpredictable element, the spooky excitement of the unknown.
Underdog value: If good always triumphs, then you can’t find a better underdog than a villain. They try so hard, and yet, you’re pretty sure they’re going to eff it up in the end.
Style: (it’s all about the clothes) The dark side often has better costumes. (Certain superhero franchises aside.) Evil couture is sexier. So are black horses, evil cars, villainous hairstyles, dragons and most evil spaceships. Evil pets are definitely cooler. Case in point:
They will get you...just as soon as they wake up.
Theme songs: The dark side gets the best music nine times out of ten. (I just made that up.)
Infamy: Way harder to earn than fame. Anyone can be famous, but to become infamous takes something really, globally, immensely huge.
Underlings: Minions are terribly useful when moving…or you know, whatever you’re doing.
Truth: The dark side is honest. Seriously. Not in a goofy, heroic, honor and chivalry kind of way. I mean in the straight up, “Hey, that’s not mine, but it’s shiny and I want it,” sort of way. You’ll never know what your good friend is really thinking. They HAVE to act nice. Your evil friend won’t bother with false, goody-goody rubbish. If you have something they want, they’ll simply announce it directly and get on with plotting your demise.
That’s the real gem, if you ask me. Not the demise part, perhaps, but the straight up bit. I want a friend who’ll tell me this dress does make my ass look huge, and then make me go change before we go out in public. Whether you know it or not, so do you.
You want someone to tell you, “Hey, your plot has a galactic hole in it.” You do. It will sting a bit, because no one likes to hear the truth about their ass…or their book. But it’s good to know it, just the same. We need our evil friends to save us from public embarrassment. Thankfully, in this industry, we have critique partners, beta readers, editors and reviewers who will happily lend an honest opinion.
Love them. Embrace the evil. Once the stinging stops, you can probably have a cookie. But hands off the white chocolate chips. They’re for me.