Dear Members of the Evil Author Society,
Most of you are probably here by choice, but I'm sure a few of you don't actually consider yourselves evil authors. Sit back down; if you've been labeled as an Evil Author then I'm sure you did something to deserve it, and denying it only makes you look like you did it accidentally and, trust me on this, you don't want to be known as the author who does things accidentally. Always accept credit, even if you didn't know what you were doing at the time.
Even those of you who are here by choice sometimes struggle with the title of “evil author.” You worry that being cruel isn't something you want to be known for. You don't exactly relish the screams of tormented readers, or you feel guilty for cherishing them. You cringe when you put your characters through torment, and wonder if this is really the best way. People tell you that you're heartless, cold, and merciless. You don't even want to know what your characters would do if they ever got a chance to speak to you.
But here's what they don't tell you. This is why you should pride yourself on your membership in this society, and strive to deserve your title even more. What they don't tell you is the best things only come through suffering.
They don't tell you that the cold, distant, glittering light of stars strung out in seeming perfection across the night sky were formed in the heart of a burning furnace an eternity ago in the creation of the universe.
They don't tell you that learning to dance requires hundreds of hours of pain, exhaustion, sweat, disappointment, strained tendons, bruised toes and twisted ankles before you reach your moment of glory.
They don't tell you that true love only happens after a thousand heartbreaks, tears, worries, doubts, questions, and sleepless nights wondering if it's going to be worth it all.
They don't tell you that it's always darkest just before the dawn.
They don't tell you that those who suffer the most will receive the greatest reward.
They don't tell you that they want to read about suffering and pain and torment because anyone who lives in a happy, peaceful bubble where the worst thing that happens is a papercut lives a boring, stale and lifeless existence, and they'll lose interest and walk away.
They don't tell you that there is beauty in pain beyond human comprehension. They don't tell you tat the reason we as readers keep coming back for more is that we secretly desire we could experience it too.
Dear Evil Authors—Spare the rod and spoil the child.
“Did you realize that she was begging for an assurance of your love? Did you know that what she needed was to know that her life hadn’t been a lie, an illusion of peace and happiness? Did you know that she wanted to suffer, because suffering proves that we are alive?”
--Katie Lynn Daniels, The Justice Project (WIP)
From a mother's first soft lullaby
We sing and we weep and we know not why
We are sons of the Earth from our first cry
We weep to show we are alive.
--Michael Card, He'll Wipe Away Your Tears
“You said you wanted to live without fear. I wish there was another way, but there wasn't.”
--V for Vendetta
So, dear Evil Authors, when your readers ask you: “Why are you so evil?” Just answer them that beauty comes from pain. And when your characters visit in their dreams ask them honestly if they would have had it any other way. And when you feel guilty over your death count remember these words:
“None of us are mad at being dead. Death happens. It happens to everyone. It’s going to happen to you. What we’re mad about is that our deaths are so completely pointless.” --John Scalzi, Redshirts
Go forth, write meaningful deaths, and be proud of your membership in the Evil Author Society.
Katie Lynn Daniels