Get with the wicked!
Advice comes today from my Goodreads friend and fellow author, DD Chant. DD is awfully modest about her writing skills and singing talents, and prefers to show off her fingernails on Facebook. Do not be confused – the girl can write and here she has some tips on Baddies for us all.
How To… Write A Villain
(Also Known As: Channelling Your Inner Despot)
Creating a villain is actually a similar process to writing a hero…
There; I’ve shocked you!!!
It’s true though; just as you don’t want too ‘perfect’ a hero, a villain that is relentlessly evil starts to lose some of his creepiness.
Let me explain…
We’ve all read about that hero/heroine who is fantastic at everything, even things they’ve never tried before. When I read those characters I lose some interest in them and they normally become annoying by chapter 6. A hero/heroine by definition is someone courageous, filled with noble desires and pushed to outstanding achievements. Interest comes, not from the achievements themselves, but from the battle the hero/heroine must go through to succeed.
So it’s the hero/heroines failings, their weaknesses and foibles that endear them to us as a reader. It’s the dilemmas that their nature forces them to face is makes them seem real.
The same goes for villains, they are more threatening when you can admire something about them. The saying goes that no one is completely evil, they can have good qualities and still be total jerks. To me it’s scarier, creeper, to think that a character who is capable of terrible cruelty is also a gifted pianist, or loves animals, or any number of other things that you would admire in a hero. In another character you would see these attributes as pointing to a gentle and caring nature.
Although I’m proud of all of my baddies, my favourites are in my third series: The Chronicles of Discord. In my Broken City and Lady Quill Chronicles series the baddies remain in the back ground for most of the book. In The Chronicles of Discord the villains take centre stage along side the heroes and heroines.
Writing the baddies was one of my favourite things about writing the first book, Fracture. There are three main villains:
Councillor Corbani Va Dic Ladron: He is the creepiest, very civilised and seemingly reasonable, but an absolute nutter. He is rarely angry, always in complete control and disregards everyone else with the supreme arrogance of a man that believes himself superior to every other person on the planet. Everyone is expendable to him.
Councillor Sendle: Sendle is a snake, a smooth talking wide boy who will do anything for power. He approaches one of the heroes under a guise of a friend and the depth of his duplicity is only revealed as the book progresses.
Headman Kim Uel Ne Chopra: Kim really does believe that if he was in charge it would be better for everyone, he’s delusional and power hungry. I think that he is perhaps the hardest to hate, purely because of his one weakness. That weakness is his estranged son, who fights against Kim, siding with his enemies. Yet Kim cannot help but love his wayward child even though he has betrayed him.
I also love writing the characters that fall somewhere in between. They are by no means heroes, but at the same time they have boundaries that they will not cross. I like them because they’re interesting; they face dilemmas that a hero wouldn’t because they are driven by different emotions. Hate, greed, selfishness, all emotions that a hero would discount as beneath him. Yet at the same time they are more aware of how unacceptable their behaviour is than a villain. A villain has no concept of his own evil, but these in between characters are conflicted by the choices they make.
I think it’s these grey area characters that make for the most interesting reading, you can get behind them, hope for them to redeem themselves and make better decisions. Even if they disappoint, you have still become invested in their story.
So there is my method, mad though it might seem.
To finish I have a question: who’s your favourite villain???
Oh, go on!!! We all have villains we love to hate… or just plain love!!!
Links to DD’s books are:
Romance, Adventure & Random Moments
When I threatened her with the moderator of the Goodreads group we belong to, she finally let me have this bio:
My name is Dee Dee, I’m twenty six and I live in a beautiful part of Devon, England with my family. I have a younger sister, Amy who is a brilliant guitar player, some chickens, duck, geese, pheasants, a cat (that adopted us when we moved in!!!) and some Koi.
Broken City is actually my second novel. My first, as my Aunt so delicately put it, was crazy but in my defence I was only sixteen at the time. On the plus side I learnt a lot (or so I hope) and two years later ‘Broken City’ was finished. I’ve just released the next book in the Broken City series, Broken Truce.
I have two other series, ‘The Promise’, which is set in Saxon England it’s the beginning of The Lady Quill Chronicles and ‘Fracture’ the first book in The Chronicles of Discord which is set in the distant future.
I really hope you enjoy reading my books as much as I enjoy writing them.
I love reading and have a kindle: I read almost anything with adventure and romance in it! I also like to cook and wear impractical high heels!!! And as you might have noticed I have a horrible addiction to exclamation marks!!!
And to get THIS I had to behave like a stalker across the internet. She’s even more shy than I am.