Before I start this article, I should point out that I will only be talking about how to use storytelling as a form of “revenge” in very general and stylised terms – like in a cheesy comedy movie from the 80s called “Revenge Of The Nerds“.
[EDIT: I’ve also just added a couple of extra clarifications just in case anyone misinterprets anything I’m saying in this article ( I’ve also made a few other changes too). Sorry that I’ve ended up editing this article so many times after I originally posted it. It’s unprofessional and I apologise. ]
I do NOT – and I cannot emphasise this enough – advocate using storytelling as a form of “revenge” against specific individuals that you don’t like (unless they’re very well-disguised in your story) because this will almost certainly cause more problems than it solves. So, don’t do it.
Plus, although it should already be obvious to every decent person on the planet, storytelling as a form of “revenge” should also only be used against political groups, organisations, social cliques etc… that people can choose whether or not to join.
Anyway, disclaimers aside, I was watching an episode of “Stargate SG-1” on DVD recently where one of the main characters (who is a “tough guy” American special forces soldier called O’Neill) mysteriously regresses in age and becomes a teenager again.
Of course, the first surprising thing about this episode was that the younger version of O’Neill was pretty much exactly the same age as I would have been when the episode was originally broadcast.
But, the other surprising part of the episode is when the younger version of O’Neill points out that he didn’t really like high school that much. I mean, it’s about the last thing you’d expect him to say.
This suddenly made me think about all of the other main characters and I realised that – with the possible exception of Teal’c (a rebel alien who joins the humans in the first episode) – they were almost all “nerds” when they were younger.
Yet, in the show – they’re the badass team of heroes who save the world on a weekly basis. And they use their brains and academic degrees just as often as they use their guns. They’re nerds – and they save the world regularly.
It took me quite a while to realise this but this show is actually a “revenge of the nerds” kind of show cunningly concealed inside something that looks like an action/sci-fi/thriller show. And this is brilliant!
It also made me think about the whole subject of fiction and revenge too.
You see, one of the great things about storytelling is that you basically get to decide who the “good guys” and the “bad guys” are in your story and/or comic.
You can get symbolic revenge against any political group, organisation and/or social clique (eg: celebrities etc..) who annoy you either by casting them as the villains or by casting people like yourself as the heroes.
Personally, I’d recommend only doing the latter of these two things because not only is it easier for people like yourself to spot, but it’s harder for people who annoy you to spot – so, you’re a lot less likely to cause controversy or trouble. And, if they still complain about it – it makes them look like assholes rather than you.
Again, in case it isn’t obvious, just make sure to only use this technique for social groups that people can decide whether or not to join. Demonising a group of people just for who they are makes you the asshole.
Yes, this all sounds really petty and cynical, but it can be a surprisingly powerful driving force for creativity in general – especially if you’re someone who feels a bit like an “outsider” or an “outcast” in general.
A classic example of this, as I implied earlier, can be seen in many sci-fi stories and TV shows where the “good guys” are exactly the kinds of “nerds” and “geeks” who probably got bullied by the “popular” kids for being sci-fi fans when they were younger.
Another great example of can be seen in George R. R. Martin’s “Song Of Ice And Fire” novels, where almost all of the best characters are all “outcasts” in one way or another (eg: Daenerys Targaryen, Jon Snow, Tyrion Lannister etc…).
I guess what I’m trying to say here is that, you get to choose who the “good guys” in your stories are – so use this to your advantage.
Anyway, I hope that this was interesting 🙂