Saturday, October 22, 2011

Skeery Stuff

It's Halloween, I am working in a Haunted Forest, and the villains of my novel are the guilty parties holding up Operation Settle4NovemberFirst. I have evil on the brain. Imagine what my (already notoriously crazy) dreams are like!

Upon the advice of my beloved Crit Group, I have been trying to scary up my bad guys. But there is a distracting inner whisper and I am starting to question how far I really want to push in this direction. 

It is a fantasy novel, but there is a fine line between evil scary and EEEEV-ILL funny. 

Which got me thinking...

What are the necessary elements in a villain cocktail? 

Classic Evil-Tini Recipe
1 Part Bitters to the Core
1 Part Anger Management Issues
Muddle Reality with Twisted Past
Squeeze of Lemon (Directly Into Wound)
 Shake Violently

And just how much can you tinker with the basic recipe before you go from refreshing variation to cough medicine?

Utrøst's Evil-Tini Recipe
1 Part Bitters to the Core
1 Part Positive Thinking
Muddle Fear with Splash of Guilt
Squeeze of Lemon (Directly Into Wound)
Stir Slowly

Something is not working. But what if it's like getting a gin (shudder) martini when you prefer vodka? I will need to do more sampling.

As I poked around for outside inspiration,I found some good lists of classic literary villains. A few of them made me shudder with remembered horror, but mostly I didn't react with fear or disgust. I giggled away, nodding in approval and occasionally applauding as I recognized each name. Mrs. Coulter!  The White Witch! Bill Sykes! Iago! What fun!

And then it dawned on me. The problem is not that I cannot write a scary villain--the problem is that I may be a villain! 

As an actor I always covet the bad guy role. I can't say Voldemort without smiling. The Grinch is my favorite holiday cartoon. If there was a white hat and a black hat and I had to pick one.....well you get the idea.

These are my people. I like them. But maybe I like them too much.
What are the essential ingredients for your Evil-Tini? What will ruin the whole batch?
I'm All Ears!

1 comment:

Jennifer Groepl said...

Thought-provoking post! Something I will be pondering for sure. Definitely requires some thought as to what makes the bad guy a "good bad guy". Like you, I sometimes find the bad guys the most entertaining part. ....still thinking....