One of the best science fiction movies of the 50’s is arguably Forbidden Planet. Many of the 50’s movies were cheesy with visible strings, plastic rockets, cheesier costumes, and poor acting. Forbidden Planet stands out by a mile with state of the art technology for the time. Any good science fiction work will accomplish one thing: make us look introspectively at ourselves.
The storyline of Forbidden Planet, for those not familiar is an adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare. This is one of my all time favorite movies!
So what do monsters from the ID have to do with the connection in my brain? Hang on we’ll get there. Enjoy the scenery along the way.
I was watching – sort of – Burn Notice on tv while I was writing. I was having a continued flash of my “rockin’ it” writing that I blogged about yesterday, and only occasionally glanced at the tv. Anyone else need background noise? Michael Weston always comes out on top in each episode, yet the bigger fight of discovering who burned him has continued to elude him. That got my little brain in high gear, as my villain is hell-bent on his path of destruction. He is so focused on destroying his nemesis – my hero – that he fails to see the bigger picture. Suddenly I was engrossed in the show and well, the actor is attractive anyway. My gears are turning, I”m taking mental notes as Michael does what he does best, all the while explaining to the viewers what he’s doing. I nudged my cantankerous villain to pay attention here, maybe things won’t have to end poorly for him.
He hissed at me and went back to his plans of destruction. He really should have paid attention, it would have helped him in the end.
OK, hang on because we’re jumping tracks for a moment. My daughter had a friend over, and the discussion came up about writing. My ears of course perked right up. The younger daughter prepared a snack – toast with Nutella on it. I couldn’t resist.
I asked the girl ” Did my daughter tell you what happened to Kyle when I gave him hazelnuts?” (For those who don’t know Nutella is made of hazelnuts and cocoa) This led into the conversation about how Kyle (my hero from first WIP – FAERE GUARDIAN) had a severe allergic reaction to nuts and ended up in ICU from anaphylaxis. He also received blunt trauma to the head, but that’s a different matter.
She looked at the snack and set it back on her plate. My daughter explained that Kyle was a character in my book. A few minutes later, she asked me what some of my hobbies were. “Devising take over the world plots and the demise of my perceived enemies.” OK, in my defense I was deep in the zone of my villain’s motives and frame of mind.
I hope I didn’t scare her too badly. I think the awkward laugh after my statement might have been over the top. Later when I took her home, I had a chance to talk with the girl’s mother. We hit it off pretty well. We talked about our geekiness and about the sci-fi things we liked; the Doctor Who marathons, the Red Dwarf series, and Star Trek conventions. I explained to her mother that I was a writer and I maybe might have scared her daughter earlier. As I explained it to the mother, I think she understood but I’m not convinced that my daughter’s friend will be returning to my home.
OK, back on original track now. The conversation with this teenage girl came to my mind as I’m watching Michael Weston get out of yet another impossible situation, and glanced internally at the villain I had created in my ID. He had a long way to go to be truly scary. I thought about the exchange with my daughter’s friend, and laughed. Pretty sad when a midwest housewife was scarier than a villainous dragon.
It was time to go to my think spot. He had to be more. Had to go deeper, darker, scarier to get a villain that was not just fun house scary, but your worst nightmare come to life scary. I have had some intense nightmares, so I started looking there. What is it that makes something scary? What characteristics make a really bad villain? What motive would my villain have to have to psychologically terrorize my reader? Don’t worry, I don’t unleash his specific brand of madness on the readers, but I want them to get a glimpse of his potential.
Master of the macabre, Stephen King made his name by employing the psychological terror in his work. The monsters from the ID are truly the most terrifying things we can imagine. Hmmm, I had to take a break from my writing. It was time to probe the other 90% of my brain and breathe some truly frightening ideas into my character. He really should have paid attention earlier.
Victims of abuse or torture become immune to the fear after a while. A victim can be turned to an abuser when a line is crossed. Such is the case with my villain. Erik’s mother was a bit of a sociopathic dragon you see. She inflicted her specific poison upon Erik for years contributing to his psychopathic tendencies. Of course madness is genetically inherited in some instances as well. There’s a certain amount of sympathy you can’t help but feel for the child that was Erik, the formative years of a young dragon being tormented and poisoned by an insane mother. It was all very sad, it turned him into a true monster.
For the good of all humanity whether it be in the dragon realm or human realm, monster’s simply can’t be allowed to terrorize and destroy the harmonic balance of the universe.
No power in the ‘verse can stop me now that I’ve unleashed my monster from the ID. MWAHAHAHA!