By R.J. Harlick
Which character is more fun to write, villain or hero (in the classic sense of the word)?
Meredith has done such a good job of answering this question, I’m not sure if I can add more. I agree that while a writer can have a lot of fun creating an over-the-top, particularly nasty villain with a myriad of psychosis, it is far more interesting creating a villain who isn’t obviously one, a person like you or me who because of extraordinary circumstances is forced to kill and a villain, whose villainy is gradually revealed through nuances of character.
But as intriguing as it can be to create the subtle villain with layers of complexity, I enjoy creating the hero more, particularly the main character of a series like my Meg Harris series. I enjoy giving Meg a life, having her grow from book to book and take on new challenges. I like to place her in different threatening situations and see how she handles them. I give her a history with events that weren’t always pleasant and see how they affect her as she gets on with her life. I give her a love life, which doesn’t always go the way she wants it to. And of course, I give her a victim, an unjust situation that she must dig within herself to resolve and make right.
With a hero of a series, a writer has a much greater scope in creating a multi-facetted character that becomes a real person in the reader’s mind and lives on from book to book. The villain on the other hand, as intriguing as he or she might be, has a short life and rarely exists beyond the one book.