When Bad Guys Are Just
Too Damn Fun
Post By Author Erin Kellison
First of all, thank you so much to Rex Robot for hosting me here today. Yesterday, the third book in my Shadow series, Shadowman, released, and since I’m celebrating, one lucky commenter will get all three books in the series: Shadow Bound, Shadow Fall, and Shadowman. Just answer the question at the end.
I’ve got lots of villains in my books, but one that figures prominently in Shadowman is an escapee from Hell named Rose Anne Petty. She’s a devil , not The Devil, but a devil, in the same way that good people who go to Heaven are angels. She’s serving an eternal sentence for a string of murders and is opportunistic enough to shimmy out a big, iron gate, cracked only for a second, and so gets back into the world.
She looks nice, sweet, safe, the proverbial girl-next-door, until she starts to do bad things, which initiates a slow transformation into something ugly. Along the way, she discovers that she has special powers that assist her in her mayhem.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about Rose (to me) is that she was so easy to write. I typically let myself write a little bit of a character, going by the seat of my pants, and then think about what I’ve got. Revise. Develop. Rename. Delete entirely. Start again. Until I’ve got a character that I understand and that I can use to tell a story.
Not so with Rose. When she dragged herself out of the Hudson River, shaking with cold, naked and scared, and then dispatched her first victim, I knew I had her. My critique partner, reading these early pages, wrote, “Holy Dark, Batman!” at the bottom of the page. Usually I get a line of introspection about where I’m at in the character development, etc. I might stop for some personal introspection about why Rose the psychopath was so easy to write, but I will refrain. I don’t think I’ll like the answers, and besides, I only kill people in books.
I will say that there was no scene featuring Rose that required revision (with the exception of typos, etc). Rose was alive from the first word dedicated to her on the page. Here is a mini excerpt of Rose in action:
“Rose turned into a strip mall parking lot and made for the Starbucks. She dived into the bathroom first thing, locked the door, and stripped off her shirt. She’d had it all of half an hour—a modest turtle- neck, fall flowers embroidered in a pretty turn over the breast—and it was already stained with red splatters. The sticky red was on her hands too, but she had to make do with just water as the soap pump was out.
The smell in the room was a little strong. How people could be so lazy about their work, she didn’t know. She had half a mind to— Well, there was no time now. She used her nails to scratch and scrape at the black line under her cuticles. Evidence was such a trial. One hand was a little worse for wear. At first she thought the knuckles were just swollen from the fight, but the bones seemed different, too. Longer. The muscles were corded and sinewy, the fingernails coarser. Didn’t look right. That hand, her bad hand, she’d have to keep carefully hidden, or else people would stare.
Reasonably clean, she drew on another of her new shirts, a lovely pale yellow, like her sunny nature.
When she emerged, a coffee was waiting for her at the pick-up counter. As she walked out the door a customer yelled behind her, “Hey that’s mine!” but Rose paid him no mind. She made a point not to respond to uncouth behavior like shouting. His mother should have taught him better. If he persisted, Rose would.”
And here’s my question for today: who is your favorite villain and why?
WINNER: Karina - From the UK
WINNER: Karina - From the UK
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