Saturday, May 2, 2009

Zeroing in on "the bad guy"

I'm very much enjoying the Malice Domestic convention here in Washington D.C. One of the things I love about this convention and others is that I always pick up writing tidbits and "food for thought." Today's tidbit has to do with writing/creating villians, i.e., the antagonists or "bad guys" in mysteries ... a tidbit that I'm going to share with you.

Author Anne Perry, who is receiving the Malice Domestic Award for Lifetime Achievement, had this bit of advice about getting to know the bad guy in your story:

"Write your story from the antagonist's point of view."

What a great way to see if the actions and the motivations of the "villain of the piece" make sense and ring true.

Something I'm going to try in the future!


N A Sharpe said...

Oh, lucky you! Enjoy the convention! Looking forward to reading more of what you are learning from the presenters there!

NA Sharpe

Lynnette Labelle said...

Sounds like a fun convention. Please share the wisdom!

Lynnette Labelle

Dani said...

Okay, you're forgiven for forgetting the camera, but hopefully someone there will post some photos on their blog!


Ann Parker said...

Hello Nancy and Lynnette --
My goal is to continue to add tidbits over the next few days, so stay tuned. :-)

Ann Parker said...

Hi Dani!
I do believe that photos will be a-poppin' up hither and yon. I'll link to them as I find them. :-)

Patricia Stoltey said...

I found that very good advice, Ann. In my WIP I have a very bad guy with a lousy temper and a tendency to use vile language. When I'm writing the scenes and dialogue for this guy from his point of view, I feel my expressions and my mood change. Downright creepy.

Helen Ginger said...

Have fun at the convention.

That's good advice. Even if none or only some of it goes in the book, it can help to see things through his or her eyes.


Dr.Mani said...

I learned fiction writing from Dr.Randy Ingermanson of - and on his blog there's an example of this style of writing that you refer to.

He outlined the Star Wars story - from the perspective of Hans Solo, who naturally downplays the role of Luke Skywalker and others, and makes HIMSELF the hero of the narrative!

Thanks for sharing that tid-bit from the convention. Hopefully many more will follow? :-)

All success
Author: "Think, Write & RETIRE!"

Galen Kindley said...

This is an interesting perspective. I find that I character-hop, that is, the character speaking in my head is the one through whom I'm seeing the story. However, that's kind of micro. I think what you're talking about here is a more macro approach. I'll have to try it.
Best Regards,

Karen Walker said...

Sounds like fun. Although mystery writing is not my genre, I do love to read them. Writing from the point of view of the antagonist is such a cool idea. Looking forward to learning more.
Karen Walker

Julie Lomoe said...

Glad you're enjoying Malice Domestic. I had a good time there when I went last year. I hope you'll post more about some of the highlights.

Ann Parker said...

Hello all,
Yes, this little comment from Anne Perry really got me thinking about how I work through what motivates the bad guys/gals in my stories. I don't usually do this in a very focused manner (more intuitive approach). But I think I'm going to try it for the next book in the Silver Rush series.

Also, I'm planning on adding little tidbits throughout the week, so stay tuned!