We are very happy to have author Sherry Ficklin here today. Foresight, book 1 in her Gods of Fate Triology was released in July and she is here today to talk about “Characters we love to hate“. Be sure to stay tuned till the end and discover your chance to win a wonderful prize-pack offered by Sherry. Please give her a warm welcome.
As writers we tend to spend our time focusing on our main character, or hero/heroine. They are what the story is about, they are often the ones telling it or at least in some way, we are seeing the world through their eyes. So we labor over every minute character detail. Our MC is brave, honest, smart, but also scared, clumsy, or challenged. We know them better than we know ourselves. We know their dreams and desires, and in the end, we want the reader to know them that well too.
I have notebooks FULL of random info about my MCs.
But all too often we writers forget about an equally important character in our story, the villain. In the old silent movies villains could be identified by the black cape and the twirling of the mustache, but for a reader, that will not due. Sure, your villain can be ugly, warty, with a hump in his back and crazy eyes, but isn’t it better when a villain is handsome, charming, even kind to some degree?
Let’s look at a few archetypal villains. I’m going to Star Wars (please don’t sue me Mr. Lucas) for just a second. Let’s examine Darth Vader. In movies 4 and 5 Vader was a class one villain, mean and nasty through and through. He even had the black cape. But we never connected with him, at least not in those movies. He was simply evil. Someone to hate. And that’s fine. Sort of. As a reader, I look for more depth in my villains than that. A really good villain can tell you the world is purple and you kind of believe them. They aren’t all bad, often they have some really good qualities, but back to that later. In movies 1-3 and 6 we get to see Vader/Anakin in a whole new light. He was a good guy with legitimate complaints who was lured into making all the wrong choices, both by external and internal influences. But we see him struggle with those choices later in life, and ultimately, we see him redeemed.
In the hit new show Glee we meet Sue Sylvester. Mean, nasty, and totally hilarious. Soon, we see that she has a sister with Down Syndrome who she loves dearly and who makes her (try to be) a better person. This is a great way to make a villain memorable. Give them something good and pure to love. Yeah, maybe your crazy scientist is out collecting brains, but it’s only to try to save his brain damaged wife who is living in a vegetative state. It begs the question, how far will a good person go? Your villain is just a person who will go one step too far.
Another classic villain is Lord Voldemort. Voldy is a bad seed, through and through. He has no redeeming qualities and is another bad guy you love to hate. To me, however, voldy wasn’t really the villain of the HP books. It was always Snape. From the word go we suspected the big nosed, greasy haired potions teacher who took every opportunity to demean and ridicule our hero. But wait, and the end of the FIRST book, we learn that he was actually trying to save poor Harry? Why? And that brings the point home. Voldy was a silent movie villain, while Snape was the one we cared about, the one who amassed so much fan loyalty. If you can make people root FOR your villain, you know you’ve done your job as a writer.
There’s also villains like Hannibal Lector. He’s creepy. He’s crazy. He’s 100% evil. So why are we intrigued by him? Another great villain is the justified villain. He sees the world from a skewed perspective. But whatever he’s done has been for a reason. A good reason, according to him. You don’t agree, but you can sort of see where he’s coming from.
And my VERY favorite type of villain, the sneak attack villain. I’m not going to name names here for anyone who might currently be reading a book with a sneak attack villain, but I will say, wow. The set up is simple. Your hero has a brother/friend/girlfriend who you trust. You love. Only to discover, at the end, that they have betrayed your MC. They are the bad guy, have been all along, but your MC didn’t see it, so neither did you. Snape killed Dumbledore. We forgave him for that because he came through for us in the end. But what if he hadn’t? What if Dumbledore had been wrong about him and he’d been evil all along? What if you’d trusted him, and he’d turned around and killed our beloved Harry? It would have been the ultimate betrayal.
A good villain can make or break a book. If your villain is evil because they need to be evil so your hero has someone to fight against, than you haven’t done your job. Your villain should have dreams and desires just like the hero. Only you know, evil.
So you tell me, who are your favorite literary villains?
About the Author:
herry is a full time writer from Colorado where she lives with her husband, four kids, two dogs, and a fluctuating number of chickens and house guests. A former military brat, she loves to travel and meet new people. She can often be found browsing her local bookstore with a large white hot chocolate in one hand and a towering stack of books in the other.
About the Book:
All Grace Archer wants is to graduate from high school and get on with her life. But the Gods of Fate have other ideas. Attacked at graduation by a mysterious woman with gruesome henchmen, Grace is lucky to escape with her life. Rescued by a Fae warrior named Chris and her Aunt Phoenix, Grace learns that her mother was the Greek Goddess Pandora. Now Grace must protect her mother’s urn from the crazed demi-goddess Lilith, who is determined to unleash its horrors on an unsuspecting Earth. As if her blood legacy is not bizarre enough, Grace begins to develop frightening powers that threaten to destroy her from the inside out. Can Grace find the strength to defeat Lilith? Can she learn to control her powers before she loses her mind?
Thanks to Sherry we have a wonderful prize pack to give away.
You can win:
– a book tote
– a bunch of book swag
– and an ebook copy of Foresight
All you have to do is answer Sherry’s Question at the end of the Guestpost. .
Please leave us a way to contact you
(email in blogger profile or twitter name is okay- no way of contact – no way to win).
This giveaway is International!
Giveaway ends on Saturday, September 18th and we will announce the winner on Sunday.
Good Luck everyone!