"An excellent man, like a precious metal, is in every way invariable. A villain, like the beams of a balance, is always varying, upwards and downwards." John Locke
Over the weekend, I attended a fabulous all day workshop (at the monthly OVRWA chapter meeting) presented by authors Laura Baker and Robin L. Perini. Discovering Story Magic explored the integral relationship between character, conflict, plot, realization and turning points in producing salable fiction.
The information I received is much too plentiful to put into a blog post, but I do want to share an exercise Ms. Perini suggested in creating a villain.
Pick an "inciting incident" from your own life and spend three minutes writing about it in first person, present tense. An inciting incident is a change that affected you in a bad or sad way.
Then take that same inciting incident and pick one of the following villains: Hannibal Lector, the Wicked Witch of the West, or Lex Luthor. Now, write about it in first person present tense from the point of view of the villain you chose (be sure to stick with that same villain).
Perhaps the sadness of a grandmother's death to you, could bring happiness to the Wicked Witch, since your loving grandmother was an obstacle to her power. Maybe the sadness you felt after a friend moved would be joyful to Lex Luthor, who wanted him out of the way, since Lex's parents always compared the friend unfavorably to little Lex. Or how about a decision to drop out of medical school? Disappointing, although the right choice for you, but Hannibal Lector regrets it and vows to go back.
So--you are your own villain! Think you'll give this exercise a try?
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