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Writing Books/Is there a softer side to Satan?


Mr. Wales,
   I understand the importance of showing that an evil character has redeeming qualities that can allow the reader to understand, relate, and even to hate the villain even more  (Who doesn't hate himself at on time or another?)  In this story that I am working on, however, the villain is Satan.  How do you accomplish this duality of the character when he is literally the embodiment of evil?  Will the attraction that the reader has for doing those things which we morally cannot be enough for the reader to find that connection?  Thank you very much for your time.


I'd need more information before I can answer your question.  You see, it really depends on the kind of story you're telling, and how you're presenting the characters in general.

What I mean is, if you're intending to present Satan as (as you put it) "literally the embodiment of evil," then you're really in a bad position.  Because such a character would, frankly, be boring as hell to read.  Pardon the pun.  Likewise, if you were making a character of the common conception of the Judeo-Christian deity (i.e., as literally the embodiment of goodness), he/she/it, too, would be dull as a doorknob.  Why?  Because these are Absolutes.  And Absolutes are no fun.

You state that you understand the importance of not having a character be an Absolute.  If so, then your Satan character really should NOT be "literally the embodiment of evil."  Not if you want him/her/it to be interesting, anyway.

But maybe this isn't what you have in mind.  Maybe your story could lend itself to a different sort of Satan, so to speak.  It's certainly been done before.  

So tell me what you've got in mind for the story, and maybe I can offer some suggestions.

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Vincent M. Wales


I am a speculative fiction novelist (fantasy, science fiction, and so on). While I may be able to answer questions on non-fiction, my specialty is fiction. Please keep that in mind when asking questions.


For four years, I taught a series of fiction writing classes in Sacramento, CA.

BA in fiction writing.

Awards and Honors
My 2004 novel, ONE NATION UNDER GOD, won BEST FICTION in Fresh Voices 2006, BEST FICTION and BEST YA FICTION in the NCPA Book Awards, and placed as a finalist in BEST BOOKS 2005. In 2002, my novel WISH YOU WERE HERE won awards for Best Fantasy and Best Fiction/Drama in the 8th Annual SPA Awards. My latest work is a trilogy titled THE MANY DEATHS OF DYNAMISTRESS (a superhero memoir). The first book, RECKONING, was released in 2013 and won the SF category in the 2014 San Francisco Book Festival, took second place in the 2013 Royal Dragonfly Book Awards for the SF/Fantasy/Paranormal category, second place in the SF category of the 2013 Reader Views Reviewers Choice Awards, and was finalist in Foreword's 2013 Book of the Year Awards, Fantasy category. The second book, REDEMPTION, will be released in early 2015 and the final book, RENAISSANCE, is scheduled for release in late 2016.

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