by Patricia Bradley
Hello, ya’ll from the deep South where the temperature as I write this is a balmy 28 degrees. That’s about 38 degrees warmer than Minnesota where Michelle is. However, it is 52 degrees colder than South Florida where my daughters live.
What is this mama doing in the frozen north while my children scuba dive and snorkel? Under deadline, that’s what or she’d be warmer.
With the deadline in mind, I decided to write this blog about something that I love to create. Villains. Hmmm. Something I love to create. I wonder if that’s why I always give the same answer to people when they ask what I write? My stock answer is, I kill people. Oops, a little rabbit trail into psychology.
Or maybe not a rabbit trail. Psychology plays an important part in creating villains. I dig deep into my character’s mind, trying to discover why he or she got off track. Often I look at why real people become villains. Here are a few things I’ve learned:
- A large percentage of our prisons are populated with men and women who grew up without a father or were disconnected from the father.
- Most people act in their own self-interest and commit crimes after weighing the consequences. In other words, if what they want is worth the risk, they will go for it. Most people also think they won’t get caught, and that they are smarter than the authorities.
- Addictions drive people to commit crimes.
- Greed and power also drive people to commit crimes.
If a writer uses one, two or even all of the above statements to build a background for their villain, she can create an opponent worthy of the hero or heroine. Remember that villains think they are the heroes–and they are of their own story. It’s just not the story you’re telling. Think about Hannibal Lecter. In his twisted way, he thought he was Clarice’s hero. See The Silence of the Lambs Movie Clip Quid Pro Quo on YouTube.
So, who is your favorite villain? Leave a comment to be entered in our $50 Amazon gift card drawing.