A long time ago I wrote my first novel. It was horrible. Cliché. It lacked character development and almost any semblance of originality.
Which is hardly surprising. Especially since I started with a single idea, a generic cast of characters and no idea of how to actually write a novel.
I wrote it for NanoWrimo (50,000 words in a month—yes anyone who participates is insane) which means it’s supposed to be craptastic.
A few years later, I finished it. Ish. It was still terrible. A friend asked if she could read it, so I said yes and gave it to her.
I remember clearly her talking about my bad guy. Not the main bad guy, who was a shifty figure who hung out at the fringes of the story sending his minions in to do his bidding, but the guy who got to do all of the mean stuff.
My friend didn’t think he was the bad guy. She was like, “I love that character, because you think he’s a jerk, but he’s pretty cool.”
He was, in my mind, bad. Bad, bad, bad. Evil. Nasty. Willing to kill innocents and torture people he didn’t like. Maybe even kick puppies.
Apparently, in my maiden voyage in writing a novel, I managed to make him not only likeable, but “good.”
Which isn’t okay. He’s supposed to be making the good guys’ life difficult, at the very least.
In the ten years of writing I’ve put in since then, I’m not sure that my villains are much better. At least not in first drafts, and sometimes not in the sixth draft.
So for the next little while, I’m going to be delving into Villains. Bad guys. The ones you love the hate and the ones you hate to love.
Get your mind going, and think about the bad guys you like, hate, sympathize with and wish to destroy. We’ll talk about them all. I hope.