Monday, October 5, 2009

Bad Guys are People Too


I started subscribing to David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants last week. I don’t know if I’m the last person to discover this guy, but he offers writing tips and inspiration in your email every day.

The first one I got from him talked about the importance of character growth, not just for your main character, but for your villains, too. How many times have you watched a movie or read a book and seen a bad guy that was such a stereotype he was almost a caricature? You don’t want to create characters like that.

According to Farland, villains should have the opportunity to do the right thing. Their choices, for good or for bad, give them depth and make them more believable. He also suggests giving the villain some redeemable quality: a sense of humor, another character that he cares deeply about. I find that as I’m editing my manuscript, I’m looking for things like this to add richness to the story. These daily tips always give me something to think about.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?

20 comments:

Kelly said...

Thanks for the heads up! I just subscribed for the Kick in the Pants! :)

lotusgirl said...

Yep. I like to think of it in terms of the rule of thirds in photography. The bad guy has to be 1/3 good.

Lazy Writer said...

Thanks for sharing the link. I'll have to subscribe. I need a little daily inspiration.

Kristi Fatih said...

You aren't the last person to discover this link, I didn't know about it either, so thank you for sharing. :) I think we all need inspiration as writers. A lot of my inspirations and encouragement comes from my online friends that share their wisdom, their pain, and their triumphs. I love to see the journey in motion.

Thank you

Karen Denise said...

You are SO not the last person to discover that link. Thanks for sharing I just signed up! And now I've just thought of things to make my antagonist more of a person and less of just the evil in my book. Great post!

Lady Glamis said...

Excellent, Sherrie!

My bad evil guy in Monarch is now combined into one. It was two characters before, and it wasn't working. So now it's one, and he's more in the story, and although he doesn't grow much, he certainly has depth. I love it! It's really strengthened the story, I think

I like Lois's comment about the rule of thirds. :)

Lisa and Laura said...

Ooh, totally subscribing! Thanks Sherrie!

Tess said...

This one hurts a bit because I think I might recognize a problem in my writing here...I often don't create enough dimension in my villans. It's something I'm working on and this was a great reminder to me. thanks :)

The Things We Carried said...

Ah, very good advice for me to consider in my writing.

People inspire me in the most unexpected moments.

Rebecca said...

Thanks for posting this, Sherrie! I'm going to have to take a closer look at my villains now.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Kelly: You're welcome!

Lois: The rule of 3rds is a great idea.

Susan: We can all use some inspiration :)

Kristi: Glad you could use the link. I get SO much inspiration from the blogging community as well!

Karen: You're welcome - glad it helped!

Glam: It sounds like you've done so much work on Monarch. I'm looking forward to reading it again!

LiLa: Enjoy!

Tess: Reading that was a heads up for me, too. One villain had depth already, but the other was just a cartoon. I'm so glad I got the kick in the pants and I'm still working on it :)

Lady Glamis said...

I'll admit, Sherrie, you're one of the readers I've been dying to hand this to again. :)

Solvang Sherrie said...

Meredith and Rebecca: I'm glad you could use the advice too!

Anita said...

I get inspired in traffic...I have little pieces of paper floating around the van with ideas I think are brilliant. If I would just clean my van, I'd probably have the next HARRY POTTER on my hands.

Maggie said...

See how many people you inspired with your post? Inspiration is everywhere if we are open to the possibility.

Solvang Sherrie said...

Glam: I'm looking forward to it!

Anita: I've got tons of scribbled notes in my car, too! Not sure if it's Rowling caliber, tho :)

Maggie: Inspiration IS everywhere. Your writing inspires me!

Hardygirl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hardygirl said...

Sorry. HUGE typo.

I didn't know about this link either! Just what the doctor ordered (uh, does he say to avoid cliche's?).

I'm going to subscribe right now.

sf

dirtywhitecandy said...

Bad guys... the crucial point that makes them stereotypes is that they think they are being bad. But complex, interesting villains think they are doing the right thing.

And as for ideas in the car... I have Post-Its galore in mine, scribbled with little gems that no doubt will be useful if I ever clear them up and take them indoors!

Sande said...

Isn't it true that there are really no bad people .... only people believing lies, who do bad things.

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