There’s one thing every writer agrees on: child abuse is great!

Not real child abuse, of course. Real child abuse is tragic, and people who don’t love all its victims unconditionally are hideous monsters and probably pederasts themselves. This makes it very easy to find abusers in real life. Haven’t you ever asked your friends whether they’d spank their kids? Trick question! Good writers have no friends.

The thing that makes child abuse great in fiction, though, is that it’s worth infinity points on the badness-goodness scale. Is your hero not sympathetic enough? Do your readers say she’s “selfish” or “disturbingly violent” or “clearly you with your name spelled differently?” Reveal a history of abuse to explain everything forever! Or maybe you have an antagonist who just isn’t sufficiently evil–“I don’t think Wicca is that bad,” your readers might say, or “you psychopath, stop reading this garbage and let me go.” But make your villain a pedophile and watch their eyes glimmer with hate!

Aren’t you glad we’ve discovered this technique together? It’s like our own special secret! Just remember not to let anyone else know about it.

Today’s Hack in a Nutshell: Black and white is one color too many!