We're so excited to be apart of Escape Publishing's birthday. We'll be featuring FIVE of Escape Publishing's amazing New Adult authors who have so generously spent the time writing lovely posts for you all, giving you the opportunity to let you get to know them better.
What's more is we have a fabulous giveaway for you all too!
Today - day three - we're featuring author J.M. Bray. Enjoy his post and have fun entering the giveaway.
“Write what you know.” We’ve seen the quote a thousand times and for the most part, it’s good advice. When writing Tearing the Shroud, I faced a dilemma where that little phrase didn’t help at all. The novel is the first in a multi-book series and I wanted an antagonist who would kick things off with a bang. Like many people, I try to do positive, uplifting things with my life. I’d seen bad, I’d experienced bad, I’d even stood against it, but how could I come up with a villain you loved to hate?
Since my outlining consists of scribbling words in dry erase marker on a larger mirror, I didn’t know who he’d be or how he would become evil. I only knew his motivation. We could go into the huge importance of a proper villain, but that’s a blog in itself. Let’s stay focused on the basics of construction.
I’m not a huge believer in people just being a bad seed. Things happen and then we choose how to respond to that event, so I started there. I gave Justus a pivotal life event then had him respond…and there was the tricky part. I hadn’t made those wrong choices and didn’t have a great basis for what to do, so here’s what I came up with.
I started with the obvious. I had him choose the opposite of what a normal, unselfish, caring person would. As I said, obvious, but sometimes the simplest step is the one we miss. Then I focused that choice with a magnifying glass of something bad: drugs, anger, alcohol abuse, etc. and I was off and rolling.
When I pushed this little equation, it didn’t take long to realize his self-absorbed single-mindedness had made him a sociopath. Then it became a whole new level of crazed freedom. Things can go awry here as it’s an easy step from wonderful creepiness to overblown ridiculousness. Hannibal Lector explaining Ray Liotta’s brain at dinner with classical piano music playing is horrifyingly great. Change the music to show tunes and have him tap dance a little and it’s just horrible.
When people are objects and selfish intent prompts a character’s interactions with them, the sanity gloves come completely off. Someone frustrates you, beat them with a stick. They have something you want, take it, if they complain, kill them. Why? Because they don’t matter. They and everyone else, are only around to let the villain achieve what he or she wants. The comedian Richard Pryor told a story that comes to mind. While visiting a prison, he asked an inmate:
“Why’d you kill everybody in the house?”
The man answered, “They was home.”
That’s evil…and while we don’t actually like it, we enjoy the fantasy. When I’m trying to bring out delicious, velvety, layers of wicked I look at those three things: Motivation. Choices. Treatment of others. It works for me and I hope it helps you as well.
Enter giveaway HERE