Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A 'Good' Villain is Hard to Write

I'm working on my villains at the moment. A protagonist can make or break a book, and I fear mine have always been somewhat lame. Of course, a novel doesn't necessarily have to have a villain, depending on the genre, many don't. But as my favourite genre to write is fantasy, villains are pretty much de rigour.
My last 'big' villain was easy as I just based her on someone who really screwed my family over.
You know what they say - never upset a novelist or they'll write you into their novel?
Totally true. With fiendish, cackling delight. She didn't get thrown into a volcano (or throw  another villain into the volcano and end up rotting in a third world prison for the rest of her life, my initial thoughts) but she did get turned into a werewolf and banished to a wasteland-beyond-the-world for the rest of her life. *
This time around 'the villain' is based upon a real (well, mythological) character. The terrible one eyed Balor. Whose dreaded single eye kills all it falls upon. Who demands a tithe of firstborns from the lands he conquers. Who, hearing a prophecy that his grandchild will kill him, incarcerates his only daughter from infancy and murders his own descendants. He's a pretty scary guy. And it's fairly easy to just write him up 'straight' and end up with a decent villain.
But... then I saw Andrew Scott's wonderful portrayal of Moriarty in the BBC's Sherlock, and I was completely blown away. His intellect, his playfulness, his randomness, his plotting and scheming and pleasant voice and mobile face were just brilliant. I have to use it.
I'm still wondering if I have to use it in this book. Or if he deserves his own special book. (Dear Lord, no, I have a queue!) Can I have a playful, random, plotting, scheming, pleasant voiced Balor?
Hmm. Tempting. Tempting.

*Ooops. I'm sounding a little villainess-y  here. Maybe I should write myself in as the next villain... author as role model for villain... what do you think? And yes, I'm still working on the forgiveness thing. However, I think the writing was cathartic. I'm pretty much over it now. 

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