M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: Creating a Villain 01/21/15

Today’s writing session was all about the villain.

All too often, especially in the urban fantasy pulp novella I’m working on, the villain drives the story line. If all the villains in New York City decided to take a week off, Spider Man wouldn’t have anything to do (and he would probably enjoy it). Batman exists specifically because the villains were managing mischief first. In order for me to get this story line together, I need to get to know my villain a bit better. (No the first guy wasn’t the real villain. He was just the front for the villain. It’s one of my stories, so you know there’s more beyond what I give you at first. Besides, I already killed him off. )

Today, I finished up a conversation between my heroes about said villain, and I really sat down and started thinking through a few things. Without giving away too many spoilers…

  • I had to refer to a specific Grimm’s fairy tale–a lot.
  • I also had to analyze the magical powers of a certain item in said fairy tale.
  • I had to figure out the basic personality type of the villain in the tale based on the limited information given. I’m seeing 1) a lust for power and 2) vanity. The main problem I’m still working through deals with the vanity. Was said vanity simply a knowledge that beauty brings power and actually part of the quest for power, or was it an actual vanity problem? This becomes extremely important because vanity is a weaknesses that can be exploited, and my hero isn’t allowed to use magic when he hunts and fights these witches. He needs all the help he can get.
  • Based on the personality type and on the fact this person is a witch from fairy tales who has been around for quite a while, I had to figure out what on earth she is doing in modern-day New Orleans and what her goals are. At first, I thought I would go with the power idea, so I researched “the world’s most powerful women.” Basically all of them were CEOs, which sounds like far too much work for this character, so I had to figure out something different. She doesn’t want to work; she’s not used to it. I kind of turned it around when I realized she would be like the devil–really evil and manipulative. I thought of Al Pacino in The Devil’s Advocate, and that definitely got things rolling in a better direction. This lady gathers secrets about people for use later. She feeds off the weak. She gives people what they want or need and earns their loyalty. She won’t waste her time becoming a CEO because they are coming to her. I’m not quite sure of her outward face, but I’m sure she’s behind a false charity of some sort.

Now, I’ve got to figure out her next plan of action. That, and she probably needs a name, but that can wait. I don’t know her country of origin yet. I think she was actually around a while before the fairy tales were developed, so that might require research.

:::looking around:::  Muse? Oh muse?

:::shaking my head::: Where is she when you need her? (And she’d better show up because I need to get about 13,000 words done in 9 days and I need a more concrete story line.)

How about you. How much time do you spend on your villain?


About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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2 Responses to M. B. Weston’s Writing Diary: Creating a Villain 01/21/15

  1. Adam Black says:

    Star Wars taught me that a hero is only as good as his or her villain. Luke Skywalker is just a country boy with a laser sword without Darth Vader breathing down his neck. So I spend a lot of time on my villains.

    And, like your witch, my villains play their cards close to their chests. I often don’t learn about their most important facets until right before I need to put them down on paper forever.


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