Thursday, August 22, 2013
What about the Villain?
It had been a blissful Wednesday on the boat that day. We had played on the beach and swam a little, then were herded back onto the boat because of the clouds.
The clouds looked dark and foreboding. I watched them as we boated back home, thinking, Now those are storm clouds!
Then I had a thought. I lifted up my sunglasses and the clouds were a pearly white. Yes, it was dark right behind the white, a sure sign of a storm, but...
Would you guess villains are like this? On the first impression, they are dark and foreboding. But wait, you take a closer look at their life and see that they aren't so bad on the inside after all. Something made them bad, it wasn't just them.
Develop your villain.
The story may be interesting--villain kidnaps damsel, hero saves the day. (or heroine saves guy)
But what about the villain?
Normally, we learn of what happened in the damsel's life, how she gets kidnapped. We learn of the hero's story, how he met said damsel, and how he's going to rescue his love.
But in lots of instances (such as a few of my dreadful stories), all we know of the villain/antagonist is that he's a badguy and he kidnapped the damsel.
That's not always going to satisfy the readers. This is also something I need to work on; I normally get to know my heroine/hero well enough to know their backstory, what led up to meeting their love, blah blah blah.
But what if I'm the one reading it? What would I like to see?
I want to know what the villain's past life has been, what caused the storm in his life to come and make him the badguy. Maybe he was raised in a badguy territory, and that's all he's known. Maybe something happened such as his family died and he remained angry for the rest of the life. Maybe he's an Anakin Skywalker and he turned to the Dark Side, but for different reasons.
I want to know more than just a kidnapping, I want to know why he did the kidnapping.
Of course, there are instances when the story's perspective comes from the villain themselves. A few stories I've read comes from the villain's perspective and it's really quite neat, but see...they have a story. The author had to develop the story.
This is something new I've yet to try, but I'm going to take the villain from my book and start a separate story--even a short story will do--all about the villain. His family, his raising, the people in his life--and then I'm going to take this and work it into the story. Not necessarily the entire short story, but enough that the reader gets why he's so evil. The story is to help you understand your own villain so you can help the reader understand.
Gillian Adams is an author who writes funny and helpful posts about writing, too. I recommend reading her Villainy 101 to help you (and it's hilarious, so why not?)
-Le fael, Hannah/Eruanna! I thought the names were funny. I'm going to keep searching for a bit longer before I give a definite decision, though, and I was thinking something with 'Writer' in it somewhere. 'Whimsical Writer'?