Hi guys. So a really exciting post for today. As you know I read and loved Alice by Christina Henry and I reviewed it a few posts back. So when I was asked by the publisher to be a part of the blog tour I could not refuse. Anyway to the exciting Part Christina Henry had written a guest post for you guys to enjoy!! I hope you enjoy reading her post as much as I did.
Guest Post By Christina Henry
“He Only Does It to Annoy….” – On Writing Villains, or Characters You Otherwise Hate by Christina Henry
You know that guy – that character that you hate. It might be a villain – the character that stands directly in your hero’s way – or it might be a secondary character in a story that just annoys you so much. These characters are vital, because if everyone thinks your protagonist is wonderful and perfect then there isn’t much of a story, is there? A story without conflict and change wouldn’t be very interesting to read.
The challenge in creating these kinds of characters is to make them real people and never simply two-dimensional obstacles to your main character’s happiness. Of course you look for three-dimensionality in all of your characters, but it can be tricky to find it in the bad guy.
One way to create a great villain is understanding who they are. By that I mean that you, as the writer, should understand their backstory, their motivations and their goals. This doesn’t necessarily mean all of that information makes it on the page – I personally am leery of giving villains too much on-page sympathy, myself – but you should know it. If you are aware of this information when you’re writing it helps inform the whole character even when you never actually reveal it to the reader.
That said, I’ve always enjoyed stories that flip the script and let villains have their say – Gregory Maguire’s WICKED immediately comes to mind. In that story we see the Wicked Witch of the West entirely from her point of view – and she doesn’t think of herself as a villain at all. When the inevitable end comes – Dorothy tossing water on the witch – we feel pity for her, because we’ve seen the world from her side.
Tom Hiddleston, the actor who plays Loki in the Thor and Avengers films, once said, “Every villain is a hero in his own mind.” Villains think that they are right, that what they’re doing is the best thing. As readers we know the author is presenting a certain point of view – the point of view of the protagonist, the hero, the person who should ultimately “win” the conflict and the story. But as authors we do consider the point of view of the other side, even if that’s not the side we show you.
There you have it guys. This is one of the greatest moments on my blog so far and I am so glad I could share it with you. Please feel free to comment in the comment section and let me know your thoughts.