Saturday, 29 September 2012

The Devil of it is...

"Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man."

In the Manichean struggle the Devil is the ultimate villain. No small wonder then that many supernatural stories feature this deity as a consummate character. Whether you believe in the existence of a god or his opposite, most people are fascinated by the idea of a being who has all the most undesirable characteristics of human frailty. In many cultures that being is the Devil.
The Devil (or Satan), in Christian culture is always supposedly the fallen angel, Lucifer. But according to the bible the devil has many names (including Amadeus and Mephistopheles) and all associated with much evil doing. “What is thy name? My name is Legion, for we are many.” Mark 5:9
‘The Satan’ first appears in the bible as a messenger sent by God. He was used as a catalyst in the story of Job where he acted as a tempter and accuser. In the story of Adam and Eve he is described as a ‘powerful wicked angel’ who led the plot against humankind by tempting Eve. For this act God threw him and his henchmen out of heaven and thus he became known as 'the Devil who rules the kingdom of darkness and subsumes all evil powers'. He tempts people to evil doings and is also known as ‘The Great Deceptor’ for appearing disguised as an angel of light.
 Despite the murky origins of this so-called fallen angel we do also find the devil appearing in other religions too (in Islam he is known as Shaitan). Whatever the truth (or your own beliefs), everyone understands the significance of good versus evil and the Devil (Satan or whatever) has come to be known as the personification of evil in this world.
So, what a fabulous plot device to use in a story? The ultimate antagonist. And because none of the origins or the stories around the entity can be verified you can use him howsoever you wish! Such brilliant fodder for creating conflict and suspense… And a great adversary for the hero/heroine of a supernatural thriller story…
Have you used the Devil in your stories? Do you think it is still acceptable in this day and age of technology to use an ancient deity?



  1. Use old ones or make up your own - evil is good! Oops that sounds wrong, but you know what I mean :-) x

  2. I love using the devil idea in my stories. He was a cat in one of my stories, appearing and disappearing on a five storey high window ledge and taunting the poor girl inside.

  3. I don't use the devil as a character because he wouldn't fit into my stories, but I do still like to have a bad guy or two to liven things up.

  4. I don't use the devil as a character in my writings because there's no room for it. But I'll continue on with my villains.

  5. He would fit perfectly in the right story. But I haven't written a story yet that went in that direction.

  6. I use the devil.

    Thanks for this informative post.

  7. Hi Pat! I just discovered your blog through the Insecure Writer's Group and I'm glad I did. I love to both read and write thrillers! Really interesting post, I've never used the devil in a story but I can imagine it could make for a fascinating story.

    Great to meet you!

  8. I know writers who use the devil/evil vs. god/good to great effect, but it's not something that works well with my belief system.

    What I find more interesting is the concept of an evil character being "turned;" Mercedes Lackey does it beautifully in her "Magic" Valdemar trilogy. In the beginning novel, you have a frail, gay-leaning character being bullied by both his father and his father's armsmaster, and you despise both men. But in the last book of the series, you find that both bullies actually care deeply - they have been doing the best they can (however badly) to "toughen up" this fey boy, lest he be overrun by their greedy neighbors. You also have a character in the first book who starts good but through grief and pain turns bad and vengeful.

    Throughout history, we find people DOING great evil in the name of good/god, whether that's the Inquisition, or Hitler, or the guys who shoot abortion doctors. This is what I prefer to explore, in my own writing, but I've got friends writing the angels/demons kinds of thrillers, and those CAN also be awesome.