Thankful Thursday: Bad Guys

This Week’s Thankful Thursday Topic: What’s your opinion of writing from the perspective of the “bad guy?” (think Dexter) — since this is Thankful Thursday, Jessie tweaked the topic into how writing from the bad guy perspective has improved her writing — something she’s always thankful for.

Me too. Truly understanding the ‘bad guy’ and what motivates them to do the things they do — whether we agree with it or not, or if it’s even moral — helps round out characters. In my current WiP DARK INTENT (formerly “Bloodlines” for those of you who’ve read snippets in blogfest I’ve participated in), the ‘bad guy’ is power-hungry, controlling, manipulative…. You know, the typical antagonist. But she’s also a mom trying to save one daughter from an agonizing death and prevent the other one from dating an ‘unsuitable’ guy. Knowing her disposition helps me figure out how she will respond to a variety of situations and people. Although I don’t agree with her methods or motivations, knowing them has helped me flesh out Celia in a way that makes her real in a way people can relate to and hate, if they so choose.

I can’t remember if I read this technique in a book, heard it at conference, or learned about it at my weekly writer’s group, but I’m thankful for having it. Writing from the ‘bad guys’ perspective, even if it never shows up in the novel, has profoundly improved my writing. And to answer Jessie’s question below, you bet I like reading stories from the ‘bad guys’ POV.

What about you — do you ever try to examine your story from the perspective of the bad guy?  Do you like reading stories by or about the “bad guy”?

Hope you’ll join the fun for next week’s topic:  What’s the worst writing blunder you’ve ever made that you realized later was actually a blessing? Click here to find out how.

6 comments on “Thankful Thursday: Bad Guys

  1. dawnall says:

    I’m a movie fan. Love to watch them. I turned on a psychological thriller the other night to watch it. I’ll admit I was intrigued and it was told from the POV of an obviously psycho woman. But – and this is a big but for me – the movie ended with her having killed a bunch of people in order to preserve a fantasy. And that was the end. She got away with it. This is my problem with writing from the bad guy’s POV. I’m just not willing to let evil win out. That happens every day in real life and p*sses me off. I sure don’t want it happening in my fiction. IMO 🙂

  2. Your comment made me think of “Fallen”. That movie continues to creep me out.

  3. lbdiamond says:

    Great point! One of my YA novels started out with the teen girl as the protag. About 1/3 of the way through, the antagonist “took over.” He had a transformation to go through and he wanted to tell the story from his side. Very interesting. The novel itself still needs a lot of work, but I did enjoy seeing things from the “bad guy’s” perspective.

  4. akossket says:

    I’ve heard of this advice quite often, but I’m not at the point where I have to use it yet. However I do plan on trying it out on my own “bad guys”.

  5. I think you might just enjoy it.

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