Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Villain Crafting 101: Levels of Badness

Every manuscript has to have an antagonist.  The bad guy.  The person(s) determined to destroy your main character's hopes and dreams.  And I happen to think they're especially fun to create.  If you write thrillers, mysteries, or suspense novels, you better be good at building the bad.

That's why I also think it's fun to create levels of villains.  For example, in my latest manuscript, there's the Head Honcho.  He's untouchable, thinks on his feet, and has years of breaking bad to draw from, and is the puppet master to his hired guns.  Of the two corporate hitmen he controls, one is quite formidable-a linguistic expert, cold, calculating, and able to blend into any situation. An all-around bad ass.  But the other guy?  Ummm...he doesn't quite get the job done.  In fact, the Head Honcho even considers whacking the idiot at one point.

So why did I do that?  Easy.


If it did, there would be no universities.  No businesses.  People wouldn't want to become schoolteachers, want to cure cancer, or design rockets to bring humanity to Mars.  Nope.  They'd be packing heat and jacking their next door neighbors for fun.

And if you don't believe me, check out this site that proves my point:  Dumb Criminals.

Here's a little hint:  When I create my villains, I like to have one who does everything right. He's the guy who makes the mc shiver in her stilettos. And then the levels of badness come in, all the way down to the lowest tough guy,  like "Tracksuit" (that's what I named him),  that can't seem to do anything right. And it was great fun throwing obstacles in front of him, and imho makes the read even more evil fun.  Now, I'd love to tell you more, but'll have to wait.  The Evil Little Manuscript (To Die For) is getting closer to it's dream of becoming a published novel, so hang in there a while longer.

In closing friends, when you're writing, don't be afraid to embrace the less-than-perfect criminal mind sometimes.  It can make for fun writing,  reading...or watching!

Let's bring the post home with a little "Bro-Motion" by Key & Peele.  This video says it all.  Throw every kind of obstacle too in front of even the villains, because you never know what the end result will be.

Tell us-Have you ever created a villain that wasn't perfect?  How'd you do it?

Coming soon:  Interviews w/Vicki L. Weaver (author of soon to be released "Crown of Ice") & her agent as they answer the tough questions,  and we'll spend time with Michelle Hauck (author of "Kindar's Cure" & newly agented writer)! We're gonna learn how they landed their agents & got the book deal so we can do the same!