Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Poof, they are gone, but a hero lives on.

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.


Meredith Cole said...

Great answer, Robin! There are a few authors who have a villain that exists over several books (Hannibal Lector, Temple Gault in Patricia Cornwall's books...), but most of the time our time is best spent on the hero... I'm glad you enjoy writing yours!

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