What If? The Enemy’s Life

Exercise: Write a scene bringing to life someone you hate – personally, or on a grand scale. Make the reader hate her.Then, write the scene in 1st person from the POV of the nasty.

He loved what he did, and no one was safe. The charming family in their cozy home, the poor laborer in his communal tent waiting for the next day’s chores, the student, the earnest, the lazy, the bright. All were targets for the scythe of his tongue, and all were mowed down, night after night, simply because this is what he did. And he was well-paid for it, earning over a million dollars every week, simply for making fun of the gentle and belittling the powerless and skewering the upright. He did not care for truth, or for consequences. Only for the line.

I don’t know how it started. I made fun of someone, and I got a laugh, so I made fun of someone else. It felt good, to get a laugh. I felt part of things, for maybe the first time in my life. It was me and my audience, and I gave them what they wanted. I never meant to hurt people, but suddenly I was doing character assassination on a grand scale, saying things even I didn’t believe, because the laugh is a more powerful high than heroin and I simply had to have it, no matter what the cost.

[this is interesting, it’s part of what I call “finding my compassion” – when someone pisses me off, I try to find a way to see their side. Like the cashier who is rude or stupid, how she would like to be stocking shelves but her back went out and she has to take this job to pay the rent and she’s worried about her child who is home sick and she’d like to be with him but can’t because she can’t afford the time off. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it does. I never realized it was a writing technique.]

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