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I’m trying to write some chapters in my w.i.p. from the point of view of my “villain,” for lack of a better word. My bad guy. The antagonist who makes my hero’s life one series of hellish events after another.
Owen’s a bad dude. Or at least he was in my first draft. Then I tried a little exercise with him. I thought of five words I’d use to describe Owen as he existed on my pages: angry, cruel, selfish, jealous, bitter. Then I took five opposite descriptors: happy, kind, generous, understanding, content. How could I make Owen exhibit some of those characteristics?
It forced me to rethink my bad guy. I can’t say he shows all of those opposites, but I’m looking for ways to inject traces of it into his actions. It also led me to a deeper examination of his motives, which in turn led to a major change in the conclusion of the book (assuming I ever get there. I will! I will!).
Who are some of your favorite bad guys? I look back over some of my favorite series (where the “bad guys” often either change from book to book, or are different members of the same “bad guy” organization), and think one of my favorite ongoing bad guys is Trent Kalamack in Kim Harrison’s Hallows series. Trent is truly a 3D bad guy. He can be unexpectedly kind, then turn and be viciously cruel. One day he has Rachel Morgan (who’s transformed herself into a mink) entered in a rat-fight; the next he’s rescuing her.
I love a 3D bad guy. Who are some others? Maybe Eric Northman in the Sookie Stackhouse series (and I’m a dedicated member of Team Eric), or Alcide Herveaux?
What about cardboard, two-dimensional villains–do any of them work for you?