Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Do children's books up to and including YA lack enough good villains. We want to like our characters too much as authors, editors and publishers, and the effect of PC is to be nice to everybody, so the forceness of niceness are eliminating a powerful motor for stories - and make books less appealing for children to read. Sometimes the most successful books, especially those that children choose to read themselves, have an old-fashioned non-PC feel to them

Michael Panckridge's The Cursed seems marvellously old-fashioned in the quality of its villains: "The Light Crusaders and their leader Raymond Brampton are surely the most sinister villlains since Voldemort." - James Molony

1 comment:

Georgey said...

Unfortunately, I believe this is so. Which is surprising considering that the precursor to all children's stories - fairy tales, were both dark and disturbing. Here they used the tool of contrast to extol the virtues of being good by placing it up against the bleak backdrop of evil, be it personified or otherwise. In short, if you read Grimm's tales, they all end kinda badly! Somewhere down the line, things have been sanitised, now erasing that contrast, diluting the effect of a book.
After spending 5 years on my first children's manuscript during which time I debated long and hard about trying to make everyone likeable, it soon became apparent that my whole narrative would collapse in on itself if stark distinctions were not made. Hence I'm proud to say that there is a terrible villain in my piece, and he's surrounded by equally mirthless cronies. Hell, there's even death in my story, which is supposedly another big no-no. All I've found is that the book's narrative now beams, and the bright parts are now shinier thanks to the very real and crucially dark moments in this story.
Is this risky? Will I get published? The jury's still out on that one. But that's a whole other blog topic.