This is a discussion on "Evil for no reason but NOT cliche?" in the Writing Questions forum.
"With age came wisdom. Sometimes wisdom came with an ass kicking, too. And nothing could kick ass like the whole world." -The character "Horn" ruminating on his circumstances. The Decaying Mansions of Memory, by Jay Lake.
You, too, can get a copy of Lorelei and the Lost and Found Monster from Amazon.com.
True that. But some people choose an overwhelmingly evil race without considering the reasons for it. I never said it was impossible, and I certainly would encourage anyone who felt up for it to challenge themselves, but it seems like sometimes people just think, "Okay so I wrote about this people and that culture... now I better put in an evil race for balance and plot direction." and that can come off as a little lazy. Not everything needs something "evil" driving it, sometimes people just have different motivations.
I agree with most of what anihow has said here. In fact, I suppose with all of it. And the reason why is mainly because it backs up what I was saying earlier about how a truly evil culture is a degenerative and self-destructive culture, like what is portrayed in Lord of the Flies where there are no babies, no milkmaids, no production of any kind.
If a creature acts out of its own natural impulses then its acts can't be called evil. Is an Orc that hunts and kills any different from a mountain lion that does the same? To be evil, one has to have also the choice to be good. The Orcs, despite having intelligence and language, don't seem to have that choice. They were created as they are, and are controlled by their masters. They are monsters, plain and simple, and so are relegated to a more animal domain. They are more dangerous than animals, but no more evil than a pack of wolves. Is it possible to rehabilitate them? Maybe Merry and Pippin could open up a Center for Orc Recovery somewhere in the Shire.
Realistically, I think that the only real possibility for an evil race and culture is if the people were heavily influenced by propaganda, indoctrinated both by State and Church, so that they could all believe that whatever atrocities they committed would be justifiable. Which is an interesting place to begin storytelling. There' a lot of potential there. Of course, they wouldn't see their actions as evil, I suppose, much like fanatical religious terrorists.
Personally, I like to write and read stories that have no evil characters, like The Telling by Ursula LeGuin. There is a lot of what could be called evil acts, such as the destruction of an entire culture, with book-burning and everything - but none of the characters are true villains, even if they have some weaknesses that drive them to do less-than-noble things. I've given this a lot of thought actually and have dispensed with the idea of evil entirely in my writing. I think the conflicts that naturally arise in a person's life through human relationships, broken hearts, thwarted ambitions, health crises, and the need for spiritual fulfillment in those who hunger for the truth are more than enough fodder for truly literary endeavors - in fact, the Fantasy Genre sorely needs more of that, in my opinion!
How about lepper Milkmaids? Not a drink I'd look forward too.
I was surprised, there is no band by that name(Evil milkmaids) There is a band Milkmaids.
I have considered making my orcs, more society oriented, a lower inteligent marauding viking like group of humanoids. Rather then the typical evil bloodthirsty group most think of. They will still be enemies to elves.
Last edited by SeverinR; 3-27-12 at 3:25 PM.
The only thing I remember bout grammar is she baked me cookies.