Wednesday, March 28, 2018
VILLAINS AND TREACHERY--BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!--by Cheryl Pierson #blogabookscene #prairierosepub
What makes a good villain? Well, in my opinion, first and foremost he can’t be one-dimensional. I know in our “real world” there are those people that seem to be evil just for the sake of it and some of them probably are. But in our reading/writing, we want to know WHY. What made this person turn out like he did—a diabolical, cunning, demonic person that will stop at nothing to accomplish what he’s set out to do?
This leads to the question, is there anything at all that would stop him from carrying out his evil plans? Would a memory stop him, or trigger him? Would any one person be able to reason with him? Would a “new plan” divert him from carrying out the blueprint for disaster for the hero/heroine that he’s already come up with?
But there are other things that have to be reckoned with. Those things that might have happened to him in his past to create and mold him into the kind of person who would be so bold and determined to use anything—no matter how it hurts others—to his own advantage are important. But what are the factors that drive him presently? A circumstance of opportunity? A long-seated need for revenge and the path to that revenge being presented? Greed? Burning jealousy? Maybe even the death of a loved one that he may not have wanted to embarrass by his actions while they were still living—now that they’re gone, all bets are off!
I’ve had so many villains I’ve created in my writing that were motivated by different things. My first one, Andrew Fallon, appeared in FIRE EYES. He was just pure evil. He didn’t care about anything or anyone—even his family, as his brother found out when he came looking for him.
In TIME PLAINS DRIFTER, the villain is paranormal—a demon who can shape-shift. How in the world will the innocents he’s after survive? They have a reluctant angel or two on their side, but the demon is powerful. Can they overcome his strength?
Greed comes in to play in BEYOND THE FIRE, when undercover DEA agent Jackson Taylor’s cover is blown and a drug lord comes after him, trying to use Jack’s undercover partner against him. But there is a secret that even Jack hasn’t known about his partner—and the woman he’s falling in love with. Is it enough to defeat the powerful drug cartel and keep Jackson, Kendi, and his partner safe?
Treachery comes in all forms and it’s most often quite a surprise. No matter how vigilant our heroes are, they come up against some very foreboding, sharp cunning from the villains—after all, they have to have a worthy opponent, right?
One of my favorite recent stories is SABRINA, one of four novels that appears in the boxed set MAIL ORDER BRIDES FOR SALE: THE REMINGTON SISTERS. Four sisters are at the mercy of their stepfather who plans to sell them to the highest bidder now that their mother is dead. But these girls have other plans. Can they manage to get away? Will they be able to keep themselves safe from Josiah Bloodworth no matter how far away they go? This is a very fun set of four full length novels, each sister’s story penned by a different author. Livia Washburn Reasoner—Lizzy; Jacquie Rogers—Belle; Celia Yeary—Lola; and Cheryl Pierson—Sabrina.
Here's an excerpt of Sabrina facing down the villain, her stepfather, in the dressmaker's shop. Cam is listening to it all from the back, waiting for his chance to save her, his sister, and the proprietor of the shop. Here's what happens:
“So you see, dear Sabrina, you have no true choice about what you do—and neither do your sisters.” Bloodworth spread his hands as he spoke. “You will, indeed, come home to Pennsylvania from this godforsaken place and do exactly as you are told. You will marry a man—a proper gentleman—of my choosing.” He took a step closer to her.
She faced him unflinchingly, her head held high. “I will no more return to Philadelphia with you than fly to the moon. You would do well to carry your pompous, maggot-ridden self away from here and get as far east as you can go posthaste—before my husband returns for us—and sends you straight to hell.” She spoke as regally as a queen to the lowliest dregs of society, without a trace of fear.
A thin smile touched Bloodworth’s lips, but the calm iciness in his pale eyes was what put Cam on alert. This man was determined, and he believed no one could stop him.
His muscle-bound cohort stood near the door, keeping watch so that Bloodworth didn’t need to worry about any distractions—from the two other women, or from any of the townspeople.
“My dear Sabrina, you are most definitely going to do exactly as I tell you. Or else.”
“Else what? You’ll drag me back by my hair like the brute that you truly are?”
Bloodworth chuckled. “Well, well. Our little Sabrina has come into her own, hasn’t she?” He stroked his chin. “Actually, I don’t believe I shall have to drag you back. I think you most likely will do anything I say once I lay my hands on that half-breed husband of yours…even if I tell you to climb up on this counter and spread your legs like the whore you are…just like your mother was—”
The slap Sabrina gave Bloodworth echoed through the room, and brought a spot of blood to the corner of his mouth. Unruffled, he took out his handkerchief and dabbed at it.
“I’m going to kill your husband, Sabrina Rose. It will be a long…slow…and very, very painful death. And you will have only yourself to blame."
So many wonderful reasons for becoming a villain! The motivations are just endless, aren’t they? It’s a fine line to walk, making them evil, yet sympathetic in some instances, and letting our readers see a glimpse of their humanity—if they have any left.
Do you have a favorite villain you’ve written or read? What about your favorite film villain?
PRAIRIE ROSE PUBLICATIONS WEBSITE: https://www.prairierosepublications.com
CHERYL'S AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:https://www.amazon.com/Cheryl-Pierson/e/B002JV8GUE/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1520475061&sr=8-2-ent
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Interesting article and I like your villains-- well, not actually. I also love to write villains, try to keep them feeling like they have a goal beyond being one. Psychopaths, of course, don't have goals most of us can understand and their ruthlessness makes them perfect. I read once that the villain must be impressive to make the hero impressive when he or she overcomes him/her.ReplyDelete
Hi Rain--I believe that last sentence is very true. And maybe that's why my villains are always so darn evil. LOL Thinking about it, I usually have always given my villains a personal vendetta of some sort, as well, against the hero or someone close to him. In Sweet Danger, by chance, the hero was in a coffee shop when one of the guys he'd sent to prison breaks in with is "gang" and takes over after having escaped from prison. But there is such a twist later on, because the heroine had almost begun to see the villain as human...and she just did not understand how perfectly evil he was.Delete
Glad you "like" my villains! LOL I guess I'm doing them right. They are fun to write, aren't they? Thanks so much for stopping by today!
I do have a villain who was acting against his will and helped the heroine save the hero in BRIDE'S ADVENTURE. I like strong villains who bring out the strength in the hero and heroine. You have some great villains.ReplyDelete
Oh, Caroline! I must read that one--that sounds really interesting--and hard to do! Gotta see how you made it work. I love when it seems like there is no way out for the hero, but of course, there IS. LOL Thanks for your kind words, Caroline!Delete
Cheryl, some folks believe that Prairie Rose publishes western romance only. You have shown that that isn't the case at all. You write bad guys real good.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Jerry! I think sometimes I take too much pleasure in writing those villains... BWAHAHAHAHAAAA! LOLDelete
Glad you stopped by!