Wednesday, February 08, 2012
One of my favorite parts of having a cold (yes, I have favorite parts of having a cold; quit looking at me like that or I'll breathe on you) is the ability to envelop myself in a big fluffy blankey and tackle the TBR bookcase without interruption. Only problem with that is that this particular cold seems to think that under a blankey = sleep. I beg to differ. Sure, sleep is good for the healing process, but so is reading. Plus I'm contrary.
I'm used to that label. I can't count the number of times I've been the only X in a room full of Ys. Fill in the gaps as you will. I love going to RWA chapter meetings because I need to breathe romance writer air. I've been in multigenre groups in the past and they don't have the same feel. I can tell when there are other romance writers in the room. Similarly, I've found I can tell when it's going to be a scouting trip to the bookstore rather than a buying one, and no, it's not always dictated by what's in the wallet.
On a recent bookstore jaunt, I came away with RT Book Reviews but no books. I'm okay with that. My TBR shelves are full, and there are several titles in my ereader that I have not yet devoured, and a light purchasing month is indeed easy on the expendable income, which Patient Zero appreciates. Not every writer -or publisher- can please every reader all of the time, and yes, there was at least one current release that I would have purchased if it had been on the shelves. Maybe it was snug in a box in the back room, and we'll find each other another time.
When CORW had a blind three page read at our most recent reading, the pages being read aloud without the author's name, there were still members who knew which entry was mine. I am glad that the reader, Zita Christian, did mention that this was from the prologue to a historical romance, because, well, it takes place in an orphanage in 1691 London, with a very shady business transaction. "Atmospheric" would be an accurate term to apply to this piece (quoting feedback here) and our young hero in the making is about to set off on a rather ah, arduous course...but things get better.
The villain of this particular book creeps me out, and I find that an essential facet in any villains I write. They are, after all, the heroes of their stories. I'm not talking about redeeming them and making them the hero in another book, but about their perspective on the world of the story. They don't think they're doing anything bad. They think they're the good guys, and it's that pesky hero and/or heroine who keeps interfering when they're trying to do what they have to do. Look through the bigbad's goggles for a minute, and it's the hero and/or heroine who's the villain.
I love getting inside the head of my bad guy (or girl) and, while I don't agree with their perspective, I do want to understand it. Who cares if they were the offspring of their father's mistress instead of his lawful wife? They were born first. The rebel leaders have it all wrong; Great Leader is going to keep everything under control, and there have to be some neccessary losses along the way. Even if they're an out and out sociopath (and those are some of my favorites to write) their view of the world has to make sense to them. Otherwise, it won't make sense to me as the writer, and it won't make sense to the reader.
Either that, or I'm a sicko in more ways than one. So what about you, faithful readers? What do you like best about writing your villains? Who was the most compelling villain you've ever read or written?