Friday, April 20, 2012

R is for Revenge

Ghosts of Innocence is a story of revenge. My original working title was An Eye For an Eye.

Yeah, OK, that had to go. But it did make the nature of Shayla's intent a lot clearer: you burned my planet, I'll burn yours.

So the driver for the story is a personal quest for revenge. But if you look for something a bit deeper, it's more about the dangerous spiral that results, what such a quest can turn you into, and most especially about the dangers of misplaced actions.

Shayla's quest is intensely personal, and childishly selfish. She lost her home, everything that she had ever known, and it wasn't an accident. Someone had made a choice. That someone would pay. Like for like.

The trouble is, all the millions of other people who had also lost everything never featured in Shayla's thinking. As a child, everything was about her. They weren't important, and nor were the lives she was about to take.

In my mind's eye, I picture all those lost innocents, casualties of Eloon, watching from the sidelines and praying for Shayla not to make the same mistake. Not to commit the same crime as her aggressor all those years ago.

These ghostly hordes are echoed through the story, in the eyes of a young girl on board a starship that Shayla crashes, in the mother and children shackled in a town square for public punishment, in the young cadets swarming across the parade ground as the Emperor's own ships launch their assault on his homeworld.

These are the ghosts of innocence that haunt Shayla, and which ultimately pull her back from the brink.


  1. Revenge is such a hit-or-miss motivation. If done well it can be really gripping. If done poorly, then it comes off as shallow.

    As long as the deep emotions of hatred, hurt, and the sense of "I'm doing the right thing" are there (which it definitely sounds like.) I think you're going to do well.

  2. That's pretty deep. I'm looking forward to seeing how you play out hre emotional state as she comes back from that brink. That should be some good reading.


  3. Revenge stories are so compelling. They bring up so many great emotions and complexities.

  4. Delores: Two billion people on Magentis are thankful too :)

    Kimberlee: I hope I managed to work the right things into the story.

    J: That emotional state at the pivotal moment is the key. I need to let it rest for a bit then have another read through to see if it still makes sense.

    Johanna: They certainly can, though, as Kimberlee points out, it can all too easily come across as shallow. It's a dangerous game...

  5. Such complexity. I love that she is so damaged by her loss--how deeply flawed it has made her character. Self-absorbed and unable to see (or to feel) beyond her own agenda ... Good post, Botanist :-)


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