Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bad Boys We Love To Hate...

Well, perhaps that should be Bad Boys We Love To Love as well. I mean really. Writing the ultimate "bad guy" is quite entertaining and OH so much FUN!

Well, for me it is. I guess the one thing my writing helps me with the most is my dark side. Yep. If you haven't guessed at the evil things lurking below the surface of this shiny exterior... you'd be very surprised.

No, I'm not a closet homicidal maniac. I just know everyone has a good side and a bad side. Choosing which side you show to the world is difficult for those of us who want to be good, who want to force that dark side into the closet and lock it. Then place a steel door with combination lock over the closet door. Then brick a wall up over the steel door...
You get the idea.
But bad guys are so fun to manipulate and mold and make just for the sole purpose for everyone to hate. Its so. Much. Fun! ::Watches as her followers drop quickly...::

There are a few bad characters I love to hate. And love just simply because I think some of them are misunderstood. I mean, look at Severus Snape. Pardon while I drool over Alan Rickman for just a moment. ::Coughs:: Okay! So poor Severus. Wanting to fit in, desiring to be better than those who tortured him through his angst-filled teenage years. Following Voldemort just because he truly didn't know any better. Killing Dumbledore, even though he was loyal... He was twisted up inside, I'm sure. You can't play "Double Agent" and not be all twisted up inside. Guilt at having to portray a dark side to the good guys, being hated by said good guys simply because they've already passed judgment and praying to God that the bad guys don't figure out what you're playing at.

Then there is Voldemort himself. We love to hate Voldy. We live to hate Voldy as he's just a two year old throwing a tantrum inside a grown man's body.
Is it easier to write the bad guy? Is it easier to let your dark side through to show the world, fearing that if they knew just how dark you were deep down, that they would turn away from you... revolted, disgusted?

Is it easier to always portray the good guy? Look at poor Harry (I know...so many Harry Potter references) just smacked down by life and one thing after another as if the universe was just waiting for him to be happy, fly swatter at the ready for that moment to come. Laughing maniacally when the swatter drops to flatten him out once more.
I don't know how many of you watch kids cartoons on Nickelodeon. Avatar: The Last Airbender happens to be one of my favorite shows. Ang (Dunno if I spelled that right...) is the Avatar, chased by Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation. Prince Zuko has a constant reminder of just how evil his father is in the form of a burn scar on his face. In an effort to regain his Honor, Zuko (who has been banished from the Fire Nation) sets out to find the Avatar and destroy him. In the end, Zuko ends up helping the Avatar as being bad is just not for him. But as you watch the episodes, Zuko isn't defined by Zuko. He's defined by his kingdom and everything his father and his ancestors have done. No one looks beneath the surface to figure out what kind of guy Zuko is. I find myself watching and every so often going, "Aww...poor Zuko."

I'm limiting my references here. This post is going to get super long. Because just as I've given you these examples, I want to give you some snippets from Crowning Absolution. My Li'endrin bloodline is absolutely and completely corrupted. All save one. Alabassin is like Zuko. Everyone judges him for his family and their history, yet he's the only Li'endrin in hundreds of years to break the mold, to move past the curse of their bloodline. He realized his mistake and fights so hard to go against it, but every so often feels as if he gets sucked back in.

Alabassin's father, Mandorak (Man door ack)... well... he's just plain vile. I don't know how else to describe him. He makes the majority of the bad guys out there look like momma's boys. I'll share with you what I shared with B. Miller earlier today, which got me on the topic of this post. This is a scene with Mandorak Li'endrin, not even at his worst. By the way, the woman we start with is Senweis, eldest daughter of the king Mandorak has been fighting against his whole life...:

“I wish to reinstate the original contract.” Her voice could barely be heard, she spoke so low.

“I beg your pardon? Reinstate what contract?”

“The marriage arrangement between myself and Alabassin.” Senweis put her knife and fork down on the table and turned to look at Mandorak. He could see it now, in her eyes. Her longing and desire for his only son. He saw something else as well, something that were he to look in a mirror, he would see it there in his reflection.

“The contract had not been made between you and my son. That arrangement had been drawn up to include Alabassin and your sister, Kayta.” He watched Senweis to see if his words would have any impact, incite a reaction, but it did not. “You already knew this.”


“And still you came to me. Why?”

Senweis could not control her emotions, she never had a need to bottle them up. The woman wore her heart on her sleeve and Mandorak actually felt sad that she would not become the ruling force of Paridzule. It would have made his life much simpler, he could have manipulated her very easily.

“My father promised me to Alabassin, not my sister. He was mine first.” Her words cracked like a whip and sounded childish even to her own ears, yet she could not refrain herself. “Have I not shown you loyalty? Have I not earned your favor with my actions?”

“What are you talking about?” Mandorak dropped the calm demeanor, exhausted with the energy it took to maintain a composed face for the sake of politics. The look he directed at Senweis clearly told her he felt nothing but disgust and contempt at her being here.

“I am speaking of my parents,” she hissed. She pushed herself away from the table and rose. “Did you not receive the message I sent? It could not have been more obvious than if it had bitten you on your arrogant ass.”

“I received no missive from you in regards to your parents.”

“You fool.” She shook her head and leaned heavily on her hands. “The accident. The message was the accident itself. How else could I prove that I would be loyal to the Relavian king? I renounced the throne and gave my loyalty to you. I had my parents killed so that you could march in and take over and I would then be queen of the largest kingdom in all of Eir du'Brusai.”

Mandorak took a moment to digest this information. His heart quickened as his temper flared and he placed his own eating utensils onto the table and stood, knocking his chair over. He stood next to Senweis suddenly, grabbing her arm and jerking her around to face him.

“You stupid girl. What in all hells makes you think you are good enough to even lick the crap from my boots? You are not worthy to sit a Relavian throne!”

Senweis gasped as his hand closed tighter around her arm. She tried to pull free, but he pulled her closer, the raw hatred on his face made her cringe and she fought to turn away.

“You killed your parents,” Mandorak paused, the information finally sinking in. Here before him stood a young woman who had accomplished something it had taken him Ages to do. Senweis had succeeded where he had failed.

“You killed your parents,” he hissed again, picking up the knife from where she had set it near her plate. “You took the one thing away from me that I have longed to do myself. Not only do I despise you and everything your kingdom stands for, but I retch at the thought of my only son producing an heir from your poisoned loins.”

Senweis had seen him reach for the knife, saw it now as he raised it slightly, the light glinting off of the steel. Her eyes went wide and she opened her mouth, trying to scream, but no sound came out.

“You should never have come here,” he whispered into her ear as he pulled her closer and plunged the knife into her chest. Her body jerked as she fought to pull away. “You have just handed me your kingdom. If you thought I would not pass up this opportunity that you dangled before me, then I am glad to relieve you of your addled senses.”

I'll have to continue with this train of thought at a later time as this post is getting long. But before I leave, I want to know... how do you feel when you write your bad guy? What elements of your dark side do you instill in the character? Is writing the bad guy more fun than the good guy or do you hate when you have to write about him as much as I hate writing the romantic stuff? Hehe! We'll work on more of this later, but I'd like to see what you all think.



Most interesting and enjoyable to read,I couldname quite a few bad boys I love to hate but I think I'll keep my mouth shut.


Donna Hosie said...

I love diving into a discussion about bad boys - especially one like Severus Snape.

I think the great thing about his character was that after six mighty books, the reader was still clueless as to his real intentions. That took some masterful writing by J.K. Rowling. I certainly loved to hate him - never pitied him, just purely detested him, but heck, he was a fabulous character. The page just came alive when his name entered it.

Emily White said...

Villains are the most fun to write because they don't have internal conflict. There's no little angel sitting on their shoulders, telling them they shouldn't be evil. Instead, they just push forward and do what they feel NEEDS to be done.

Hart Johnson said...

Snape is a FABULOUS anti-hero--the truly tortured--he inspires my sympathy, though I never do like him (as a CHARACTER, YES!!!! but enough to think he's a good man? NO)--But MAN how many debates I've been in over exactly that, which means Rowling walked the line PERFECTLY--for part of the world to see it one way and part another, even with the same set of facts... [Voldy, on the other hand, I find a bit flat as a villain--none of the other deatheaters was quite fleshed enough for my taste except maybe the Malfoys]

Your character sounds a little like he is painted like Sirius--good guy bad family.

Yeah... I could talk Harry Potter for days...

Mel Chesley said...

Exactly! She had Severus right where she wanted him, leaving everyone guessing. That, to me, was awesome writing. I didn't care if I knew more about Voldy, but yes, it did tend to make him a little flat. The Malfoys were as fleshed out as the Weasleys and Draco was the only one who played a very important part in the demise of Dumbledore.
Yes, I could talk HP for days as well. I love Rowling's work. For someone to be such a success with her talent! Unlike another successful author whom I don't think is very talented, but will keep my mouth shut for the sake of not wanting to argue about it. XD

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Snape is a good villian because Rickman is a great actor.

I'm not much on the romantic scenes, either.
I don't have any really bad guys in my book, but I realized while writing it that every character had a bad side depending on which other character was viewing him. Guess that's a bit like real life, huh?

Unknown said...

Usually I love my bad guys, but the one I've been avoiding dealing with (Habakkuk) is really awful. I can't even write of him because he freaks me out so bad.

It's weird, because I usually enjoy the bad guys. *is confused*