Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Villains for a change

I wrote a book about Superman. I’ve got another in the works about Batman. But I’m not only about superheroes—or even good guys in general. A story—and, by extension, a writer—is only as good as its/his villains.

In a story I wrote for READ, the Weekly Reader literary magazine for teens, the focus was villainy. That is clear from its title alone: “” Earlier this year, I posted the opening of the story.

Now I’ve been given permission to post “” in its entirety. Enjoy but (as you know) please don’t reuse in any way unless you first get your own helping of permission.

In my original version, the ending was morally ambiguous. Brett agrees to go with Travis to document Travis’s imminent crime—though he also says he plans to turn Travis in afterward.

My editor accepted it at first but another editor there felt that Brett needed to be more explicitly good. I found a way to make that work without compromising who I thought my characters were, but I still like the first ending because in it, both Brett and Travis showed sides of both good and not-so-good.

And doesn’t that sound more like you and me and the rest of us?

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