Help! I’m Afraid of my Villain!

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I’m really close to finishing my first book!

Well, sort of.

I have run into a bout of writer’s block and I finally realized what the problem is. I don’t want to make my bad guy bad.

I’ve been reading all sorts of blogs and books and I know this is a common rookie mistake. My first pass at this book had the antagonist simply being another good guy who had conflicting interests with my hero. Specifically, he wanted my heroin too.

Oh, and his mission was to destroy my hero’s trade.

But still, my Mr. Bad was actually another Mister Good. He decided he had to wed the heroine, against her will, to protect her reputation, even though he didn’t actually love her. He was a stuck up, stiff character akin to Daniel Day Lewis’ role as the fiance of Helena Bonham Carter in A Room With A View. He was honorable and a decorated naval officer. He was the farthest thing from bad that an antagonist could get.

But I know how to learn from other people’s mistakes and I’ve read the warning enough times to know my Mr. Not So Right will not do. So I had to go back and re-work the entire book to create a proper bad guy. A bad guy who we will all want to hate. Oh sure, he’ll have some redeeming qualities, but I now know I can’t make him so good that it becomes confusing who the hero of the story actually is.

And so, I’ve set the tone. I’ve modified the plot to prepare for his incorporation. I know what he’s going to do and how he’ll do it. I’m ready to write the chapter where he meets the heroine. She was supposed to meet him in the previous chapter, but I chickened out and ended the sequence with her on her way to meet him.

It’s been two weeks.

Why won’t it come? Why can’t I simply type out on the computer this man who will attempt to destroy the livelihood and happiness of my beloved heroes?

Last night lying in bed it, hit me. I can’t create unlovable characters. No, I suppose I can. I am just loathe to release villainy into the atmosphere. I want to adore anything I make. I need fairy tale happy endings and I hate conflict. So the bad guys just won’t come.

Anyone got any ideas on how to get inspired to create the blackness of evil?

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In The Beginning, I try to write

Sunrise in Nepal

Welcome to my blog.

Before this moment, my life was full of unique adventures. I traveled the world on a thirteen month honeymoon and lived abroad for two years. I’ve rubbed elbows with movie stars and been places that only an all-access ticket from Hollywood could create. Maybe some day I’ll talk about those experiences. They probably sound very romantic.

But it is now, in my 41st year that I am trying to claim the romance of my life. Perhaps I should explain what I mean by this.  While the previous years involved some amazing encounters, with the exception of my honeymoon, my heart wasn’t in them. I wasn’t living the life I wanted to lead and I didn’t have to courage to admit what it was I really wanted.

Have always wanted.

Ever since the fourth grade and Mrs. Lundgren suggested my parents get me a thesaurus for Christmas (the best prezzie ever), I have wanted to be a writer. Occasionally I would mention this fact to my mother or sister, but for the most part I suppressed this seemingly insurmountable dream. Instead I accepted that I would need to choose a real-world job. Never mind that I studied theater in college and accidentally became an accountant in Hollywood. My common sense only goes so far.

But I am finally ready to admit that I want to write books for a living. More specifically romance novels.

I love them. I consume them voraciously, provided they are written well. There is a misconception that romance novels are for the weak of mind and that they are not necessarily the highest quality of composition. To those possessing this assumption, I suggest a quick delve into a Susan Elizabeth Phillips book. Try to put down Natural Born Charmer after the first ten pages – my guess is you won’t be able to. And you’ll laugh out loud.

I have joined the Romance Writers of America and specifically the San Diego chapter to help me pursue my new dream. I am learning so much about my genre that I never knew before. The amount of time we spend debating character, plot, and story arc is overwhelming. My new associates blog frequently about the importance of a good antagonist, the needs of the hero and the infamous GMC (goal, motivation and conflict).  My mentors spend a great deal of time on their craft. We are all trying not to just write a book that has a happy ending and a little heat, but a book that is written well. Books we are proud to put our name on.

Where did my love for this genre come from?

I blame Dumbo.

This is the first memory I have of a heart-breaking moment that I wished with all my heart I could change. Why couldn’t we prevent Dumbo’s mother from being jailed and deprived of caring for her son, the greatest joy of her life?

For that matter, why couldn’t we keep Bambi’s mother safe or somehow stomp out the great forest fire. Why did Sophie have to make such an awful choice? Why couldn’t Romeo wait just one more minute for Juliette to wake up.

The world is full of painful events that could have been prevented. Tragedies are nearly unbearable for me. So I turned to romance novels – a world where love conquers all and the ending is always happy. Who doesn’t want that kind of escape from the real world from time to time?

I want to create those stories and help people get that moment of reprieve from the harsh reality of life.

So wish me luck in my quest to create a new life filled with romance and possibilities.

I’ll be blogging from time to time on anything and everything.

Also, feel free to check out my alterego, Luscious, a snarky commentator of hit tv shows on the famous recap site TVgasm.com. Here’s a link to some of my reviews.

Follow me on twitter at  LusciousLLLL.