Recently I’ve been studying books to help define creating villains you love to hate. Probably the most well-known and remembered contemporary villain is Hallibal Lecter. Just thinking about him sends chills up my spine and raises the hairs on my arms. Creepy guy, right? I loved the way he played with Clarice, using psychological nuances to get into her mind and torture her. Inside each of us is a dark side we keep hidden from our loved ones and friends…well, most of us anyway. Those who don’t, are fodder to become villains in our novels! I suppose that dark side which only my subconscious is aware of allows me to get into the head of my villain so I can instill fear into the reader.
Since I started writing inspirationals, it’s been difficult for me to effectively develop the villain’s character. I wondered why and began to think about what I wanted to portray. I’d gotten caught up in showing the villain’s vile character through evil thoughts and words I wasn’t comfortable writing. Today I had an “aha” moment for my current manuscript. The villain is not a psychopath, but a sociopath. As such, I need to give him a charming demeanor to the outside world. By doing so, he will become even more frightening. Sociopaths are extremely scary people. I know. I married one once. What I’d forgotten is that the side I saw is not the side the outside world saw.
The next few days will be spent on going back through the book I’m working on and changing the villain to meet a true sociopath’s character. And, to be honest, that frightens me. It gives me the same feeling I have when I know a spider is crawling on my body.