Bad Guys are People Too

I started subscribing to David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants last week. I don’t know if I’m the last person to discover this guy, but he offers writing tips and inspiration in your email every day.

The first one I got from him talked about the importance of character growth, not just for your main character, but for your villains, too. How many times have you watched a movie or read a book and seen a bad guy that was such a stereotype he was almost a caricature? You don’t want to create characters like that.

According to Farland, villains should have the opportunity to do the right thing. Their choices, for good or for bad, give them depth and make them more believable. He also suggests giving the villain some redeemable quality: a sense of humor, another character that he cares deeply about. I find that as I’m editing my manuscript, I’m looking for things like this to add richness to the story. These daily tips always give me something to think about.

Where do you go for writing inspiration?

20 thoughts on “Bad Guys are People Too

  1. You aren't the last person to discover this link, I didn't know about it either, so thank you for sharing. 🙂 I think we all need inspiration as writers. A lot of my inspirations and encouragement comes from my online friends that share their wisdom, their pain, and their triumphs. I love to see the journey in motion.

    Thank you

  2. You are SO not the last person to discover that link. Thanks for sharing I just signed up! And now I've just thought of things to make my antagonist more of a person and less of just the evil in my book. Great post!

  3. Excellent, Sherrie!

    My bad evil guy in Monarch is now combined into one. It was two characters before, and it wasn't working. So now it's one, and he's more in the story, and although he doesn't grow much, he certainly has depth. I love it! It's really strengthened the story, I think

    I like Lois's comment about the rule of thirds. 🙂

  4. This one hurts a bit because I think I might recognize a problem in my writing here…I often don't create enough dimension in my villans. It's something I'm working on and this was a great reminder to me. thanks 🙂

  5. Kelly: You're welcome!

    Lois: The rule of 3rds is a great idea.

    Susan: We can all use some inspiration 🙂

    Kristi: Glad you could use the link. I get SO much inspiration from the blogging community as well!

    Karen: You're welcome – glad it helped!

    Glam: It sounds like you've done so much work on Monarch. I'm looking forward to reading it again!

    LiLa: Enjoy!

    Tess: Reading that was a heads up for me, too. One villain had depth already, but the other was just a cartoon. I'm so glad I got the kick in the pants and I'm still working on it 🙂

  6. I get inspired in traffic…I have little pieces of paper floating around the van with ideas I think are brilliant. If I would just clean my van, I'd probably have the next HARRY POTTER on my hands.

  7. Glam: I'm looking forward to it!

    Anita: I've got tons of scribbled notes in my car, too! Not sure if it's Rowling caliber, tho 🙂

    Maggie: Inspiration IS everywhere. Your writing inspires me!

  8. Sorry. HUGE typo.

    I didn't know about this link either! Just what the doctor ordered (uh, does he say to avoid cliche's?).

    I'm going to subscribe right now.


  9. Bad guys… the crucial point that makes them stereotypes is that they think they are being bad. But complex, interesting villains think they are doing the right thing.

    And as for ideas in the car… I have Post-Its galore in mine, scribbled with little gems that no doubt will be useful if I ever clear them up and take them indoors!

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