I read around a lot. In this specific instance, I often read the various ramblings at Chuck Wendig’s blog, Terribleminds. (I suggest you do too: it’s more interesting, and it updates more frequently!)
Today’s guest author was talking about fight scenes, and suggested that we all want revenge on someone, one way or another, so we quite like our vicarious vengeance. And that got me thinking, do we?
I nearly said I don’t remember ever wanting vengeance for anything, but that’s actually not true: I do (having reached back into the depths of my memory) recall the odd desire to hunt down and not-actually-slowly-kill someone (but make them think I was going to). Possibly fortunately for everyone involved, I not only never knew a single one of my imaginary “victims”, it was such a ridiculous, all-but-impossible sequence of events that I ended up rather swiftly growing out of it.
Apart from that brief incident years later with overreacting to someone making a poor-taste joke about a character, and maybe something else that happened around the same time, I think that’s the grand extent of my dreams of revenge: that when I was probably around five or six years old I really, really wished I could train a pack of giant dogs and go hunting people who hunted foxes. (Do not challenge me on this. The dogs will find you. The terrifying imaginary dogs.) Maybe my life is just insanely tranquil, although I’m not. Maybe… who knows?
It’s a rather interesting philosophical question, albeit one I’ve raised with myself before and one that has nothing to do with writing (the supposed purpose of my presence here) as such. What, if any, is the value or point of revenge? It seems to me, at least, that the only thing one can do with it is to drag oneself down: vengeance for a wrong requires one to do a similar wrong, after all. An eye for an eye, and all that, and we probably shouldn’t be running around scooping each others’ eyeballs out. Increasing the amount of pain in the world is a horribly sad idea. I can’t help but think how awful it would be for someone else, even someone I really dislike, to be sad, and alone, and in pain, for the rest of their life. I just can’t want that, not even if they did lasting damage to me.
The other, less philosophical question, though, is this: does this affect how I write? It’s bound to affect what I choose to write, every aspect of my personality does that — but is it affecting my characterisations without my knowledge? I can’t tell that, for fairly obvious reasons, so I wonder.
Now, part of the reason I maintain so many characters at all times is to explore metaphorical strange new worlds, and see life through a variety of other people’s eyes. I’ve certainly been impressively successful (as judged by the comments of everyone who’s so far read the work in question) with other things I’m a lot less familiar with. One would think I could get this right… but how do I know? I guess I don’t, really.
So, hey, let’s canvas the audience! Those rare few of you who keep coming back despite the months-long absences and all the nonsense I generally post, anyway! Is vengeance important to you? Do you think it should be important to you? Is it a fundamental component of being human? (Am I a robot?) Is it a bad idea, a primitive mode? Or what?