Sunday, October 5, 2014
October Theme by Deborah Lytton: Finding a Villain's Heart
Our October theme is all things creepy and strange. And I can't say that my writing features a lot of creepy or strange characters. But I do have villains in my stories. And sometimes they can be scary and creepy. Writing a villain is more difficult than writing a hero or a sidekick. Because to make a villain real, they need to have a heart. I learned this lesson in acting class many years ago. My favorite acting coach taught me that when playing an evil character, the actor cannot step into the role by judging and disliking the character. Because the character might not dislike herself. Rather the actor has to find the heart of the character. Because it is in that fragment of humanity that lies the truth of the performance. I have applied this same lesson to my writing. Every story needs a villain, but that villain cannot be merely negative. The villain must have dimension and back story--and sometimes even a heart. Recently, my girls and I have been watching episodes of ABC's "Once Upon a Time." This show is a wonderful example of the back story and dimensions of a villain. Even the Evil Queen can have a heart, sometimes. So when writing villains, try to imagine something they love, even if what they love is creepy or scary. It will make the character more fully dimensional and maybe even more frightening. Good luck!