I’m just thrilled to welcome author Valerie Parv to Romance University today! Her book, The Art of Romance Writing, was the first craft book I purchased. Welcome Valerie!
When you’re writing, it’s easy to fall in love with your hero and heroine. They’re the people we wish we could be – braver, smarter, thinner (!), more attractive. Part of the fun of writing is being able to make the world exactly the way we’d like it to be.
While we’re doing that, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the bad guys. They test the heroes to their limits, showing us what they’re made of.
A police officer of 30 years’ experience told me that criminals don’t see themselves as bad. They think they’re clever, streetwise people who take advantage of opportunities we stupidly provide for them. It’s all in the point of view.
To bring your villains to life, they need three things:
1. A believable history
Who are they as people? When and how did they start to go bad? In Birthright, disgraced astronaut, Burton Hackett, came from a megarich oil family. He grew up with such a strong sense of entitlement that he felt ordinary rules didn’t apply to him, up to and including murder.
2. An everyday life
Too often writers only bring the villain on stage long enough to cross swords with the hero and heroine. While your good guys are saving the world, what are the baddies up to? As well as scheming and plotting, they’re living day to day just like everybody else. Which brings me to the last need…
3. Their own goals and dreams
Just like your hero or heroine, bad guys have needs and wants. Let them strive for something for a reason, not for the writer’s convenience. Burton Hackett sense of entitlement leads him to use people without a second thought. In my book, he hides a gay lifestyle with a man he uses as much as he loves. Hackett desperately wants to prove that he really saw aliens heading for earth, and to make those who laughed him out of the astronaut corps eat their words.
Give your villains all three elements and watch them become worthy opponents for the good guys in your story.
One comment will win a download of Birthright for Kindle or Nook, with a personalized “authorgraph” to make it special.
Former police officer turned deputy governor, Shana Akers, is used to handling high-stakes situations. But after learning that a space shuttle mission about to be launched from her island home may have a shocking secret agenda, she must turn for answers to the man who has challenged her mind and emotions for years.
Scientific genius and space center director, Adam Desai, is a truly self-made man. Found adrift at sea as a baby, he knows nothing about his origins until two VIPs attending the launch force him to confront the truth about his past, changing everything Adam has ever believed about himself.
Faced with a danger that threatens the entire world, can Adam and Shana find the strength to trust not only each other, but the mysterious VIPs whose unusual abilities defy logical thinking? Especially when it becomes clear that they’ll need all of their combined resources to reclaim humanity’s BIRTHRIGHT.
Published by Corvallis Press USA 2012.
Who is your favorite villain from fiction or film? Why do you think they work so well?
Join us on Wednesday for RU’s newest contributor – free lance Editor Heather Webb – When is it Time to Hire an Editor?
Bio: Valerie Parv is one of Australia’s most successful writers with more than 29 million books sold in 26 languages. She is the only Australian author honored with a Pioneer of Romance award from RT Book Reviews, New York. With a lifelong interest in space exploration, she counts meeting Neil Armstrong as a personal high point. So it’s no wonder she’s taking romance to the stars and beyond In Birthright, her most ambitious novel yet. She loves connecting with readers via her website http://valerieparv.com, blog valerieparv.wordpress.com, @ValerieParv on Twitter and on Facebook.
- Weekly Lecture Schedule: February 25 – March 1, 2013
- Breaking Heroines to Break Heroes with Sarah M. Anderson
- The Unrepentant Character with Mae Clair
- Creating Your Hero’s Fatal Flaw
- How Fatal Should Flaws Be? Laurie Schnebly Campbell