Authors Answer 59 – Characters of the Dark Side

I’m late again, you say? Well sue me. I had Christmas presents to wrap, and then I couldn’t be bothered to do anything else that requires effort. Have I mentioned that I’m lazy? I’m sure I have.

Which reminds me: there will be no post next week. Not on Boxing Day. I’m not going to do it a day late either, because that’s my birthday. I’ll catch up at some point, I’m sure.

Over to this week’s question, which is more interesting than my answer is going to be, unfortunately.

Have you ever written a character so offensive that you hated or strongly disliked them?

The short answer is no. The slightly less short answer is no, not really. The truth is that my characters are pretty flat and black and white, certainly my villains. The important parts of my book are the romance, and I’ll readily admit that the depth of my villains therefore wasn’t top of my priorities list. Because of that, I can’t say that I hate them. They serve as a focal point for my protagonists to hate.

I should add that with my books being written in first person view, it makes it harder to add depth to your baddies. I can either let my protagonists speculate on what makes them do what they do, or have them meet and let the baddies explain their plans and reasons in true Bond-villain fashion. There is a bit of that happening in my books, but I’ve never thought up really deep and complex motivations.

Have others ever written such a character? Hell yes. Regal in Robin Hobb’s Assassin books is pretty loathsome, but the absolute worst has to be General Rackmar in my friend Hillary’s books. I do not believe any other character makes me froth with rage as much as he does. He has this lethal combination of disdain for others, a superiority complex and (worst of all) a religious zeal that rubs me up in all the wrong ways. I have spent many an hour raging at Hillary about how much I hate him and how I want him to die the most painful death ever devised. Knowing her, I may not get my wish.

Hillary is very, very good at writing bad guys.

See what other authors have said in the original post on Jay Dee’s blog.


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