Aug 14

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Child Molesters = Lazy Writing?

Hmmm.    I thought about this a few days ago in relation to another post that I wrote but haven’t published yet.  In the aftermath of that, I counted six of my stories (two shorts, four novels) wherein child molesters meet unsavory ends.  Especially in “The Bus.”  I cringe myself when I think about that one!  But that’s six out of something over 50, or about 10%.  Maybe it’s the keyboard equivalent of road rage.  I mean, I have kids after all.

I remember season 19, episode 7 of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, “Fault.”  The description in IMDB say, “A serial paedophile murders members of a family and kidnaps the two younger children.”  Yeah, I remember that.  I also remember that he later killed the little boy and hid the little girl in an abandoned factory where no one could find her.  But what really pissed me off was that in the end, he was taken out by a sniper pulling off a precisely aimed head shot.

Damn!  The bastard didn’t even get to know he had lost, that he was about to die.  He didn’t get to fall into a vat of acid and pass on in exquisite agony.  The grandparents didn’t get to sodomize him with a cheese grater.  Oh, I thought of all kinds of more suitable ends than just blam! you’re dead without even knowing you were dying.

Well, it’s easy to hate child molesters.  Check into the lives of registered sex offenders.  If you want one dead, it’s easy to get volunteers.  But I got to wondering, maybe it’s too easy to hate them.

Man and Little GirlIf a writer wants his readers to hate a character, all he has to do is make him a child molester.  Consider the image to the left.  Given the topic of this post, don’t you just hate the guy?  Doesn’t he make your skin crawl?  Don’t you wonder what he’s up to?  As a writer, you don’t have to develop a personality that curls your toes, you don’t have to carefully craft any sociopathic tendencies, you don’t have to squeeze wrath out of your words.  Just make him a child molester.  It’s so easy!

With that unsettling thought in mind, I reconsidered those stories I mentioned.  The one in a Hierarchy of Gods is a minor character, and his interest in little boys does add a theme to the plot.  Nemesis?  Heck, that’s what it’s about.  Ah, “The Memory of the Beast.”  He’s a despicable rapist, but he doesn’t really have to be a child rapist too.  You’ll hate him enough anyway.

I can drop that factor out of The Beast, but as for the others it’s already pretty well ingrained in — or downright essential to — the plot.  However, in the future I’m going to be asking myself the question, “Does he really have to be this universally abhorred excuse for humanity, or am I just trying to whip up the reader’s hatred the easy way?”  Maybe he should be a volunteer for Doctors Without Borders.  Can I make everyone hate him then?

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