Monday, September 27, 2010

Characters, the Villain:

Progress Report: I did manage to get some of my editing done but not as much as I would have liked. This week I am working on a short story that I will post over the weekend. It’s part of the 'Bad News' blogfest hosted by Francine at Romancing the Blog. I struggle with short stories, so I thought this would be a good exercise for me.

Characters, the Villain:

Since I have mentioned 45 Master Characters by Victoria Lynn Schmidt recently and in Friday’s post, 9/24/10, I thought I would give some examples directly from her book. (A link to the book can be found at the bottom of that same post).

There are 8 female and 8 male heroes and villains listed. I am not going to list them all here; otherwise, my post would have to go all week. I will list two. Sorry guys, since my WIP has a male villain and also the novella which I am currently developing is a male villain, I will go masculine.

As I stated, to really get a deep character it is a good idea to layer two archetypes. One will dominate the other.

In my novella I have a druid outcast named Erim, he is obsessed with creating a son with more magical powers than his own and will stop at nothing to achieve his goals. He is an outcast because he is antisocial and unwilling to limit his magic to the good of the people. Which archetype is he?

His main archetype is Hades: The Recluse and the Warlock, the recluse being the hero and the warlock is the villain.

The Warlock is:
Out for his own gain.
Doesn’t care how his actions affect the world.
May experiment with the occult to gain power.
Is afraid of rejection.
Has no intimate relationships.
Can’t feel or express real love without dominating the other person.
Thinks society is a joke and that he doesn’t have to live under its rules.
Wants to be in control.
Likes to intimidate others.

The layered archetype that will enhance this character can be any of the ones listed in the book. But for my villain it is:

Poseidon: The Artist and the Abuser, the artist is the hero and the abuser is the villain.

The Abuser:
Beats his wife and then brings her flowers to apologize.
Plays head games with people.
Is irritable and unpredictable.
Is a ticking time bomb.
Disregards the safety of himself and of others.
Can’t control his emotions and flies off the handle.
Is driven to revenge and will hold a grudge for years.
Doesn’t understand the word “no” because he always gets his way.
Is reckless and full of rage.

Do you see how you can pull a few traits from the Abuser to enhance the Warlock? And vice versa if you wanted the Abuser to be the dominant character. As we interweave these character traits we come out with a man who will stop at nothing to justify his actions.

My character, Erim, traps a phoenix to use for his own twisted purpose. He manipulates the occult side of the druid religion. Diverts the significance of the worship of a lunar eclipse and believes that the phoenix can enhance his powers during this time to create a human male child who will eventually dominate the world through Erim. What can I say, the guys a nut job. I have about 2,000 words written and plan to write about 18,000 more words. I expect I’ll finish sometime after the first of the year.

For this post I only pulled part of the description for each of these two character types. Victoria gives examples and more detail on each aspect of each archetype. It’s worth the price of submission.

What do you think? Leave a comment and make me smile.


Simon Kewin said...

That already sounds like it's going to be a great novella to me!

Thanks for a really interesting example of how to go about defining characters too. I've always done it informally in the past, I suppose, but I can really see the sense in taking this approach.

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Simon, glad you stopped by for a peak.

Jules said...

What an education :) Who needs college, I just blog. Great lesson NR.
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Clarissa Draper said...

I think that book is worth checking out. It's seems really good.


N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Jules, I see you figured out that in my past lives (just kidding here folks) I was a teacher.

It is worth the investment Clarissa.

Thank you both for stopping by.

VR Barkowski said...

I use Jungian/tarot archetypes for my core characters, but 45 Master Characters sounds fascinating. I like the idea of layering. Need to look into this further.

Sandra Ulbrich Almazan said...

These archetypes sound interesting! I like that there are good/bad versions of each one. Thanks for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the great tip about using two archetypes to create a complex character. I'll have to check out 45 Master Characters.

N. R. Williams said...

I have never used Jungian VR. Something to check into.

Yes Sandra, and not only are the main characters listed but secondary too.

I hope you do check into it MT.

Thank you all for commenting.

Lynda Young said...

The charaacters sound...dare I use the word...compelling. But it's true. They have a nice mix of complexity

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Lynda.

Carolyn V. said...

Oh it sounds so awesome! =)

N. R. Williams said...

Thank you Carolyn...I'll share more another time.