Dramaquill's All Things Writing

October 25, 2011

Win a FREE download of my suspense novel

 
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Since I write in the suspense genre, and really enjoy scary villains, I’ve decided to host a Hallowe’en contest.
The rules are simple…
1. Create a villain
2. Describe him/her in 100 words or less.
3. Make me cringe
4. Type villain’s description into comment section of
this post along with you first name and your email

I will choose my favorite villain by midnight on Oct. 31st and the winner will receive a free download of my suspense novel, When Love Won’t Die.

Also, if your villain really inspires me, I will use him/her in one of my future suspense novels (with your permission).

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October 5, 2008

Can you really make me feel for the villain?

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As I continue to work on my final revisions for my adult suspense novel, I vaguely remember an article I read in one of the many ezines to which I subscribe.  The article addressed the villain character in novels, plays, movies etc.

What does the writer have to do to make the villain more than just a horrible, frightening individual?

Well for one, this article stated that the reader had to be able to find something “human” about the villain.  We have to remember that no one, not even our worst villain, is 100% bad. 

So, that’s had me thinking a lot about Mel, my villain, this week.  Basically, Mel is a controlling, abusive, obsessive guy who has killed the women who tried to leave him.  My heroine, Eleanor, ends up in a relationship with Mel, but finds out before long that Mel’s idea of a relationship means she will have to surrender to him in every way or be punished.

After almost a year and a half of verbal, emotional and physical abuse, Eleanor leaves Mel and changes her identity so he can’t find her. 

Now, as a reader, I don’t think you’re too crazy about Mel right now, are you?

But everyone has a story.  Mel was left in a dumpster by his biological mother when he was just a few months old.  He was a sickly little fellow with extremely bad asthma and spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals.  He moved from one foster home to another until his eighteenth birthday, never being allowed to  establish himself in a loving, family environment. 

We still cringe at the things Mel has done, and continues to do, but at least we have some insight into “why” he behaves as he does. 

Mel has a vulnerable side and longs to be loved unconditionally.  Unfortunately, because he does not know how to elicit love from the people who come into his life, every relationship ends in disaster.

I still cringe when I read the pages I’ve written detailing Mel’s horrific actions.  I still feel my heartbeat pounding in my chest when I watch my heroine try to escape.  I don’t like Mel one bit!

But, I do feel for him at times.

How does your villain stack up as a character?  What will your readers think of your villain?

Here are some good articles/blogs about creating villains:

http://blog.worderella.com/2008/06/developing-villainous-characters-part-1/

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/CU0711/S00197.htm

http://www.theromanceclub.com/writers/articles/article0042.htm

http://www.ehow.com/how_2222257_avoid-creating-weak-villain-creative.html

http://www.stellacameron.com/contrib/villains.html

http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Credible-Villain-in-Fiction

July 4, 2008

Why don’t you like me?

Revising my novel has become part of my daily routine.  Even when I’m not re-writing scenes or slicing chapters, I’m constantly thinking about Eleanor, my heroine, and Mel, my villain.  They’re inside my head and they won’t be silenced, each vying for my attention.

I don’t like Mel – that’s a given.  He’s controlling, abusive, deranged and unpredictable.  Now, considering he’s the villain in my suspense novel, I guess those are good qualities.

But the revelation I had while working on a chapter the other day was that I’m not sure I really like Eleanor, either.  My critique group has eluded to this once or twice saying things like:

  • Eleanor seems to cry too much
  • Although someone might actually react like this, it doesn’t seem to draw me into her (Eleanor) as the heroine of a book
  • Eleanor often lets someone else help her instead of facing things herself

And the more I re-write and revise, the more I’m beginning to see Eleanor as less than the strong woman I first envisioned her to be. 

So what do I do now?

How can I write passionately about someone I’m not sure I like?

Eleanor can’t help that she was a victim of serious verbal, physical and sexual abuse.  Eleanor can’t help that she’s terrified of Mel.  But, Eleanor can help herself.  She did it once before.  She got away from him.  She has to do it again, not only for herself, but for her readers.

So Eleanor, you’ve challeneged me to review what I’ve revised.  If I don’t like you, how will my readers?

The revision process is a long and complicated one but on the other side of all this hard work a better novel will emerge!

January 14, 2008

Paying attention to your characters

Every writer has their own methods of developing their stories.  For some, they plot and plan everything out on paper before tackling the writing.  For others, they write freely and worry about making it all fit together once they begin their rewrite.

For me, it’s as simple as listening to my characters.

What does my heroine fear most?  What does she want?  What is she willing to do to get it? 

Why is my villain acting and reacting as he does?  How is his life intertwined with my heroine?  What drives him?

I spent a lot of time developing the characters for my suspense novel.  I researched the type of crime I felt inclined to write about and I poured over information about victims of such crimes.  I spoke to counselors and the authorities.  I interviewed someone who’s life situation had similar circumstances to what I had planned for my heroine.

Then, I listened.  As I wrote each chapter, distinct voices emerged.  My heroine shared her innermost fears and desires with me and her story began to take shape in a whole new light.  My villain, who still scares me, took on a dimension of a human person, rather than a stereotypical “bad guy”.  I still really don’t like him, but I’m beginning to understand why he does some of the things he does. 

My characters have been instrumental in helping me create a much stronger manuscript in this final revision.  I feel like I could meet these people on the street and I would instantly know them.  I can see their worlds so visually clear inside my head.  I hear their voices as if we’ve already met.  They aren’t just characters inside my head – they are real.

So what are your characters trying to say to you?  Are you paying attention?

January 11, 2008

Something fun to try

Blogs are a great way for a writer, published or unpublished, to create a web presence.  Some are very pointed and specific while others run carefree. 

 I recently read somewhere (I know, as a writer I should have written down so I could cite it properly for all my readers) that some authors use blogs to allow their characters to speak out.

And I thought – HEY, what a cool idea!

When I first started this blog, I talked a lot about my adult suspense novel.  I’m still hot and heavy into the final (yeah, right) revision and I wondered if my heroine, and my villain, might have some things to get off their minds.

So, don’t be surprised if they start making an appearance here shortly.

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