Pronunciation Guide

Monday, January 26, 2015

“G” is for gray

So, I’m officially dumb. I’ve procrastinated for days because I couldn’t think of something for “G.”

It just hit me: my characters are gray.

If you aren’t familiar with my world, it is a Medieval dystopia ruled by a totalitarian regime (Huls, H-guys). They are the police and military; they exist to protect their people from the despised (and gray-skinned) creature race. I once had it that all my Huls were bad, they were all going to die, and everything was going to be happy. Several years later, I love every single one of my Huls and hate killing them.

I never wanted this story to be white vs. black, but gray vs. gray. None of my characters are perfectly good or completely evil. The “big bad” for book one is misguided; he does some terrible things, but his heart is good. He loves his people, wants to protect them. If not for the moral lines he crosses, he’d actually be a great guy. There’s a time and place for dark lords, sociopaths, psychopaths, serial killers, and people who want to watch the world burn. I just don’t write like that.

I also don’t like writing stereotypical “white knight” heroes. My good guys are just as gray – sometimes grayer – than my bad guys. They have pasts, some darker than others. They make bad choices; they do bad things. There are no easy paths for them. It is often “kill or be killed.”

So when nearly everyone has to kill, lie, and manipulate to survive, what makes my good guys good and my bad guys bad?

What I’m trying to show is that there are no good guys or bad guys. In their own eyes, all of my characters are good and doing the right thing. I believe in absolute good and absolute evil. But I don’t believe a person can be one or the other; we have the capacity for both inside of us. It is about the choices we make, the paths we choose to walk to reach our goals.

To be honest, Siserah (“big bad”), is chillingly similar to Sorek (rebel leader). Both seek to protect their loved ones and are willing to do whatever that takes. Both are manipulative, brutal, and focused. Yet since the story is partially told from the POV of someone close to Sorek, he’s ultimately the good guy, and Sis is an antagonist. If the story were told from the POV of Sis’s wife or children, he’d be the hero.

Oh, and funnily enough, Sorek has gray eyes. :P That wasn’t even planned!

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