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Sunday, October 14, 2018

Cover sneak peek and two halves of a villain

cj Sez:
I am honored to have a short story in the soon-to-be-released Christmas charity anthology, “Hometown Heroes,” compiled by Bienvenue Press and benefiting the Cajun Navy.

Sneak peek at the preliminary cover.

   In case you don’t know who they are, the Cajun Navy is an amazing group of civilian volunteers who travel the country trailering their boats to help rescue victims of storm (read “hurricane”) flooding. Most recently, they rescued many Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael victims. Members are awesome in their volunteerism and generosity. I’ll post the final cover reveal soon and info on when/where to purchase. I hope you’ll help support them as well.
   Let’s talk about how to write a “real” villain. The antagonist, like the protagonist, needs a yen and a yang to be a whole person—i.e., a personality where” seemingly opposite or contrary forces may be complementary . . . where two halves together complete a whole.” Both protagonist and antagonist need a flaw; the villain’s flaw is perhaps that s/he is not thoroughly evil, but has some spark of “good” in him/her. Maybe s/he sends
money to an animal rescue shelter because of a childhood pet. Or supports an invalid mother with some of the money earned from doing evil deeds.  

   The antagonist needs motivation, a goal, and some psychological reason for that motivation. A perfect villain is the same thing as a perfect hero, a cartoon of a character. You have to ask the same question of the antagonist that you do of the protagonist; the question that leads to the plot and theme: What does s/he want, then ask why, and what will s/he do to reach the goal?

   Maybe s/he wants to do something as benign as cause a little family ruckus. Or maybe s/he wants to kill someone. But why? The answer to that is what helps give the character dimension as s/he pushes toward the goal. 

   I write little bios for all my characters, including the villain. When I've created their background worlds, I know what makes them tick, how they will react, and what they will say in the situation I create. Their backgrounds are never inserted as an info dump; rather pieces and bits may surface during their dialogues. Knowing my characters inside and out also helps me develop deep point of view scenes. 

   How do you get to know your characters? 
   Sisters-in-Crime is an international writers’ organization founded thirty-one years ago by Sara Paretsky, the American author of detective/mystery fiction perhaps best known for her novels focused on the female protagonist V.I. Warshawski. SinC’s mission is to “promote the ongoing advancement, recognition, and professional development of women crime writers.”  SinC president Sherry Harris is quick to add that the organization does have male members as well. Ms. Harris was interviewed by “spawn” (small publishers, artists, and writers network) and you can read more about Sisters in Crime and all that the organization does for writers, bookstores, and libraries here:

That’s the post for today. Hope you found something interesting. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.


For fast exciting reads, stop by Amazon and pick up copies of DEADLY STAR and CHOOSING CARTER. Great for Christmas gifts that keep on giving. (A hint in case, like me, you have only two more paydays until Christmas.)
Send me an eMail that you’ve left a new review for me to read (Goodreads, Amazon, wherever and good, bad, or simply “I read it.”) and I’ll put your name in the raffle hat. The random name I draw on December 6 will receive a nice gift bag of goodies. I’ll post it on my Facebook page, so be sure to stop by.

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