By Sarah Reichert
I leave for Las Vegas in two days. The city of sin. Before I go on, let me explain that I’m not particularly fond of Las Vegas itself. I’m not a gambler. I try not to drink excessively (no matter what a certain garden gnome from a certain conference might tell you). I shudder at its unnatural greenness and its electrical bills. I am, however, looking forward to time away with friends and some uninterrupted brainstorming. Las Vegas offers an excellent opportunity to create new characters and plots in one of the most oddly constructed and nature-defiant places in the United States.
The greatest part of Las Vegas, for me, is studying human nature. After all, the city touts anonymity for impulses you may not otherwise act on. You could be anyone. You could stretch your limits. You could wake up next to a ring-tailed lemur in a tutu. People do funny things when they think no one’s judging. Which brings me to my point for today’s post. Sin.
Whether you're trying to count out all of the seven deadliest on your fingers (I know you are) or thinking of the lesser, more forgivable ones, we all think about and occasionally commit sin. Sin and writing are essential partners. Not that we, as writers, should sin unreasonably, but that our characters benefit from a taste of the forbidden. After all, what makes a character more interesting than the presence of a little darkness?
Sin and how humans deal with it drives character development. Sin can form the foundations of plot lines and themes. Sometimes an entire book’s premise is dependent upon the things we know we shouldn’t do. A character must overcome their particular sin, undergoing an often painful metamorphosis, in order to drive a story on and reach a satisfying conclusion. Sin sells. People love to read about others’ sin. It makes us feel more at home in our own skin. It makes us feel better about that chocolate birthday cake binge or helps us feel normal when we crinkle our noses at the new Mercedes down the street.
So, with more self control than I had in my twenties, I look forward to this trip into the fantastic.
What’s one of your favorite sins to write about?
Bonus Question: How did the lemur get into a tutu, and in your bed for that matter?