So we all know the De’il has the best tunes. Have we wondered why? Why are villains so often the most attractive character on the page or stage and why, oh why, do girls fall for the baddie?
It’s true in every aspect of life. That cake with two inches of frosting is chosen nine times out of ten, but the slice of fruit cake languishing quietly has more depth and intensity of flavour. It just didn’t wear its best clothes to the party.
In sixth year I took what were called sixth year studies in Scotland. As part of the English exam, I had to write a ‘dissertation’: in reality a long essay supporting my chosen theme and including references. I went for the anti-hero. It was a time when Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels were all the rage and boy did they enrage my Head of English.
What can I say? Dr MacQueen was a dedicated teacher whose attention got me into my choice of course at my choice of University. I was a teenager.
Writing that essay began to let me see how the surface story isn’t the whole reveal and people, characters, have light and shade, good and bad. Would the hero necessarily have chosen the ‘right’ path if he’d been dealt the same chances in life as his antagonist?
I have villains in my two published books, Mariah’s Marriage and Bella’s Betrothal. They are crafted from known personality traits. The abuse of privilege is behind Lucas Wellwood but he adds murder, gambling addiction, physical mistreatment and theft along the way. It all sits purposefully in the story and moves it forward. How much did he get away with? You can find the answer in Mariah’s Marriage?
In Bella’s Betrothal there’s a male antagonist for my hero. He’s called Graham Direlton and he is a dissolute personality nursing a deep sense of grievance. This book, however, also hosts two female villains whose behind the scenes behaviour is deeply rooted in the restrictions and constrictions of being female at any time. Intelligent, feisty women get on with making life what they want. There are others who work to bring down their sisters: who cannot, as we say in Scotland, allow anyone to ‘be better nor she should be’. In other words, if I cannot achieve that, I’m not going to let you. It’s a theme I’ve used often in playwriting.
These are a few of my thoughts on my villains. If the subject interests you there are other blog posts up today about it. You can visit any of the following:
Aimee writing as A.J. Maguire at http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Marci Baun http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca
Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman – http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin Courtright – http://rhobinleecourtright.com