Finding Joy While Writing an Inherently Evil Protagonist
by Jennifer-Lynn Keniston
I’m here to tell you that as an author, there is joy found in writing an inherently evil protagonist. I will even go as far as to proclaim that, perhaps, there is more joy gained from writing an evil major protagonist than in writing the leading sympathetic protagonist everyone will cheer for. I know, I am just as shocked! I will tell you that the first taste of joy comes from the success in doing something you feared you might not, or could not do, such as struggling to connect with the coldness and chipped pieces inside an evil character. After all, it is someone you create and who is formed from within yourself, from outside experiences with people and your imagination, that is often fueled from media outlets, books, and, yes, from living life itself. Emotional triggers ignite and you work to put flesh on this character, and then eventually once you finish the book, you obtain a pure sense of joy: “a feeling of great happiness.” Throughout the process, you are aware that a reader doesn’t want to have the leading character(s) smoothly make his or her way through a story without conflict. You are, after all, a reader yourself. I was stunned to discover that with the completion of Afta-U, my favorite characters are my two inherently evil supporting protagonists: Damian and Michael.
Let’s jump back to those emotional triggers. Personally, I embody the cliché of emotional triggered eating. Looking back on the day I initially went to write my first inherently evil protagonist in Afta-U, I was conflicted and commiserated with a tub of rocky road ice cream. I confess, it is a fleshly sin of mine.
Speaking of flesh: for this blog, I looked up the definition of flesh. “It is the soft substance consisting of muscle and fat… found between the skin and bones...” and then I looked up the Biblical definition: defining “flesh” as “sinful nature.”
When writing, the bones for the character are assembled first. Then, as already acknowledged, you need to put the flesh on this character. My approach you ask? Well, I feed it Rocky Road ice cream. I embrace the freezing coldness, the slippery feel, the chipped dark pieces that crumble, and the fluff that helps to build a 3-D profile. And I think of all the other fleshly sins out there in the world, while I take a spoonful at a time enjoying the guilty pleasure I’m finding along the path of my figurative rocky road that I’m surprisingly enjoying my walk along. The joy only ends when the bowl, tub, or final spoonful is empty and the final page is written.
But perhaps my greatest joy since finishing the novel, came from being told by a reader, that the day after finishing the novel, she is still very angry at Michael as if he were a real person. Now it is time to jump on that treadmill before opening that freezer door again.
Thank you Renee Roberson, Blog Tour Manager, at WOW -Women on Writing for providing this stop of Jennifer-Lynn Keniston's tour. For more dates and stops along this blog tour, click here!
About Jennifer-Lynn Keniston :
Raised in Hanson, Massachusetts, the author earned a Master of Arts degree in English, from Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English, with a concentration in writing and a minor in philosophy, from Plymouth State College in New Hampshire. Jennifer-Lynn currently works as a project manager for a company that provides cloud software products for call centers at small, medium, and enterprise companies. In April 2014, she started her own business, Ansel Resume Resolution Services LLC, writing resumes and cover letters. She now lives and writes in Concord, New Hampshire, and enjoys teaching Spinning classes in her free time.
Sometimes decisions made in an instant can echo throughout a lifetime.
In the pages of her new novel, Afta-U, Author Jennifer-Lynn Keniston, takes us into the heart of Jean Cartwright Rhodes, a woman who is struggling to come to grips with the heartbreaking and senseless death of her childhood best friend, Hope. Twenty-nine years after the fact, Jean fights for her very sanity as she confronts the dark web of relationships and intrigue that appear to have been set in motion by a split-second decision she made in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Afta-U is an adult mystery/suspense novel for ages 17 and older. The book is complex and sometimes dark, and filled with Christian messages.