I Told You So
For many, it feels great to see somebody fail and say, “I told you so.” Call it what you will; revenge, vengeance, comeuppance, karma, spite or the universe balancing good and evil. A fundamental part of us needs to see the other person, “get what is coming to them.” This drive is an integral part of the unpleasant aspect of our being. Even the nicest person loves seeing a bad driver get a ticket.
Why is the desire to get even so deeply ingrained into our lives? Why does seeing another person’s pain make us feel better? Can we turn it off? These are all profound questions that are far beyond this blog.
My teenage years had a few revenge moments that I now see as being unnecessary. Since then, I mellowed out and do not have the same deep drive to see people who wronged me feel pain. Yet, I based a few negative characters on real people.
For example, several jobs ago, I had a bad coworker. To be fair, he had many problems in his life and a difficult job. By going out of his way to make me look bad, I guess he filled some need. I based a fictional character on this real person. Is this my revenge?
I believe my choice to use him as a template helped me deal with some negative feelings. I suppose this is my form of therapy, which in actuality, is revenge on some level. Do I enjoy it when this character fails? Truth. Yes. Do I make a big deal about it? No, that would be petty.
In high school, I had an almost girlfriend and an actual girlfriend who broke up with me. In an upcoming book, I combined the two experiences into a fictionalized description. I suppose using this description is an attempt to get over a relationship and, in some ways, is healthy. I Being an author has some advantages.
Did I use their names or make an angry fictionalized description? Of course not. I do not want to be a spiteful person. However, I now understand that I did make a mistake. Stories generally read better when they are distanced from deeply personal real-life events.
What about my plots? While revenge certainly makes a great plot, I do not think they are enjoyable to create. Person A messes with person B. Person B does X to person A. Creating a book takes at least a year, and the author would have to have an angry mindset for the entire time. Not something I am looking forward to.
As a writer, I am not too fond of revenge plots. To me, it is too basic. Something bad happens to the good guy, and then for the rest of the book, the reader learns how he acts badly in return. I like more complexity. My goal to leave the reader (and the author) a better place by the end of the story.
For me, books are supposed to be fun. After all, there is an old Klingon proverb. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

You’re the best -Bill
June 10, 2020

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