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Our October Author Interviews--10/4 Wendy Tyson, 10/11 Marilyn Levinson, 10/18 Earl Javorski, 10/25 Linda Lovely. Please join us in welcoming these authors to WWK.
October Saturday Guest Bloggers: 10/7 Mark Bacon, 10/14 Elaine Orr, 10/21 WWK's Margaret S. Hamilton, 10/28 Kait Carson, and E. B. Davis 10/31 to fill out our fifth Tuesday.
WWK’s Carla Damron was one of three finalist for her novel, The Stone Necklace. Go to Carladamron.com for more information. Congratulations, Carla! Look for Carla's blog this month to find out the winner.
Congratulations to our writers for the following publications:
Warren Bull's new Lincoln mystery, Abraham Lincoln In Court & Campaign has been released. Look for the Kindle version on February 3.
Shari Randall's "Pets" will be included in Chesapeake Crimes: Fur, Feathers, and Felonies anthology, which will be published in 2018. In the same anthology "Rasputin," KM Rockwood's short story, will also be published. Her short story "Goldie" will be published in the Busted anthology, which will be released by Level Best Books on April 25th.
In addition, our prolific KM will have the following shorts published as well: "Sight Unseen" in Fish Out of Water, Guppie (SinC) anthology, just released, and "Making Tracks" in Passport to Murder, Bouchercon anthology, October 2017.
Margaret S. Hamilton's short story, "Baby Killer" will appear in the 2017 solar eclipse anthology Day of the Dark to be published this summer prior to the eclipse in August.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Most writers have heard the advice to make the villain a smart opponent so the protagonist pulls off a worthwhile victory. This advice makes more sense for a novel-length work where the villain has to plot and manipulate others to achieve his goal.
In short stories, villains can more easily correspond with the majority of bad guys. In her book, WHAT COPS KNOW, Connie Fletcher reports that officers and detectives working the streets often see offenders as not too bright. They kill relatives or friends and they are sometimes still holding the knife or gun when the police arrive. They might cut off a man’s head to make identification difficult and then leave the man’s business card in his jacket pocket. That could never happen for a fictional sleuth. Where’s the conflict and challenge? In real life, a victim might need brains and knowledge of how people think to escape harm. A man with a gun on a dark, lonely street doesn’t have to be a genius to shoot you. You have to think real fast to escape that bullet.
There are the rapists, killers, sexual predators, and stalkers who get away with repeated crimes because they don’t know their victims and they leave the scene before the law arrives. Real FBI profilers have written about these characters. John Douglas and Mark Olshaker wrote MINDHUNTER and OBSESSION. Stephen G. Michaud and Roy Hazelwood wrote THE EVIL THAT MEN DO. Sometimes, even people who live in low crime areas and wouldn’t usually spend time reading crime reports are fascinated by the psychologically disturbed criminals described in these books. What makes these criminals give up their tickets to the human race and perform acts that show their total lack of empathy? When a psychologically disturbed person is portrayed in a novel pursuing a victim or victims with whom the reader identifies, the writer can create a compelling and disturbing story. The reader can’t wait to have the criminal imprisoned or dead.
Hannibal Lecter is one of my all time favorite villains. Cannibalism is primitive behavior, or at least I think so. Yet Lecter has brains, an ethical code, and charm. Contrasts in a personality make it interesting.
I like to explore good guys turned inside out—the doctor who performs inhumane experiments on people, the angel of death who kills her helpless patients, the mother who destroys her child, the father who loves his daughter so much that he rapes her. What makes a policeman join the crooks? What makes a woman hate her own sex and seek to harm other women? What makes a priest prey on the innocent? What makes me dwell on these questions!
I see plenty of villainous characters waiting in the wings to step into my WIP. I just need to shine the light into the right patch of darkness.
Do you have favorite villains you love to hate?