In my last post, I let on that the novel I am writing has no ‘true’ villain.
In my firs novel my work was in creating characters that were not cut-outs.
Good guys: I had an overly round priest. A barren scientist. A spiteful son-in-law. A reformed thug turned zealot. You get the idea.
Bad guys: An over ambitious male widow. His trusty sidekick.
Are any of these characters interesting on face value? Nah, they have been overkilled. Why did I choose them? I did not, they came together on their own. I had to MAKE them interesting.
The first thing I asked myself was which characters I did not like. My answer led me to the characters which were too one-dimensional. Nobody likes a person who is clear cut. We like complications, secrets, yes, even in our good guys. I worked with my good guys first, I found it easier. My barren scientist ended up with a hardship from early life. The spiteful son-in-law became a struggling son-in-law because his wife was too fragile to face the truth about her father and he had ensure she never found it out. My reformed thug, was well, not so reformed.
As for my bad guy, well I had to fall in love with him. How could I do that? He was causing all this misery and grief and went against everything I believed. So, I made him human. I used his daughter to show his ‘good’ side. And, even though I hated all he stood for, I gave reason to his madness, one that I could empathize with.
Do you sympathize with your bad guys?