Friday, July 20, 2012

A Villain's Perspective

First of all, yes, I'm alive! I was so busy at the beginning of this summer, and then I just got lazy. But now I'm trying to make it up to you guys (and myself) and focus on my writing again, which also means blogging. I'll do my best to not leave months in between my posts again!

In my current project, I've been writing each scene from a different character's perspective. I'm thinking that in the end, the novel will end up being written in third person, but for now each section is labelled with the character's name who's speaking. When I got to the most recent scene, I was struck with a real dilemma of who's POV to write it from--the angry good-guy, or the calm bad-guy (I also could have written it from the concerned princess's perspective, but I didn't think about that until after the fact :p).

I couldn't bring myself to make a decision, so I waited. And waited. And didn't do anything about it. Finally, my cousin told me to write it from the villain's perspective, so I did.

I think all along I knew that I needed to write it from his point of view, but there was a very large part of me that didn't want to. The first reason is I'm terrified of him. Others might not be as intimidated by this kind of villain (he's the epitome of the plotters I mentioned in my villain's post from forever ago) but he is a creature out of my nightmares. He can get inside your head and twist your thoughts, make you question who you are and what's right and wrong, convince you to do things you would never do, drive you mad.

The second reason was that I had a really hard time relating to him--how could I relate to someone who was that twisted? How could I come to understand his character?

It wasn't until I sat down and talked some thing through with a friend of mine that I was able to find some understanding of how he became who he is. Even then, the idea of putting myself in his mind was uncomfortable for me. I didn't want to do it--I was avoiding it as much as I could. But I knew that eventually I would come to the point where, at least for my own sake, I would need to suck it up and write in his voice. I reached that point today.

A few things happened: first, I discovered more about his character and how he thinks. Second, I discovered more about his relationship with his sister (which had baffled me before). And third, I discovered that when I let myself, I can be really, really creepy. I'd like to say it was my characters being creepy, but in all reality I'm the one writing it.

On a level it bothers me that I was able to tap into his mind (I have another character--a killer--who I was also able to tap into. That was disturbing to re-read...). Maybe it's from all the reading I do, maybe it's from the psychoanalysis of characters that seems to occupy my free time, maybe it's from my acting experience--I don't know. But somehow I'm able to relate to and get inside the minds of characters that I would never want to be associated with in real life.

Is this a problem? Maybe. Others might see it as a talent. Personally, it still kind of bothers me. Understanding them or analyzing them is one thing, but it bothers me when I can write as if I were them. I know that, as Sirius Black says, "We've all got both light and dark inside us", but I'm a little more in touch with my 'dark' side than I maybe should be...

What do you think? Should we be worried about me turning to the dark side? :P

Enough ranting--back to fun posts soon! This was just what was on my mind today.

Good luck in all your writing adventures!


1 comment:

  1. I think C. S. Lewis shared some of these concerns when he was writing The Screwtape letters - an older demon coaching a younger one on how to tempt and lead away the children of God. It must've been so hard to get into the mind of a devil, but I'm soooo glad he did it. His book is one of the most insightful works about the human dilemma that I've ever read. So no, I'm not worried you'll go to the dark side. It's in understanding the bad guy that we understand what it is to be truly good. Congrats on your writing progress!


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