Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writing the Nice...and the Naughty

Happy holidays, everyone!

This is the season for giveaways and blog hops, good causes and good will. It's the season of reflection and gratitude and (okay) shopping 'til we drop. For most people, this is the season that brings out the "nice" in all of us.

As a writer, I find writing "nice" characters pretty easy. We know what constitutes nice, don't we? Good manners, consideration of others, being a good listener, extending offers to help, etc. all fall under this umbrella.

Now, writing "naughty" characters, well...that's a bit more challenging!

I thought I was in the minority of writers because I don't have an easy time writing villains. Imagine my surprise when I mentioned this issue to my writer friends and discovered that many of them also struggle with this. How interesting!

The thing is, most of us don't naturally associate with the dark evil that comprises typical fictional villains. We don't look at other people as dispensable tools and assume we were meant to rule over them all (okay, maybe on our bad days...). Writing that level of "naughty" takes a heavy dose of creativity and putting oneself in a foreign mindset. Sometimes that's easier said than done.

So how do I get into the mind of my villains? Well, for me, I found it easier to write the villain in my Daughters of Saraqael trilogy, Grolkinei, by giving him a range of emotions. It made him unpredictable and, thus, an effective "naughty" guy. It also made him more real for me.

In my upcoming Firstborn trilogy, I went in another direction for my villain. Eirik is a cold sociopath...a remorseless male who cares only for himself, but is smart enough to surround himself with others who will bow to his every wish. He is as outside of my personality as a character can get, I think.

So why am I enjoying writing him so much?

Ah, well. I guess that's a topic for another blog. For now, I hope you'll all enjoy reading and writing both the nice and the naughty, and I wish you all the best throughout the holidays!

Do you prefer writing naughty or nice?


  1. It's always fun to write the bad guys. It's one of my favorite things about writing. I find writing nicer characters a little more difficult because they're harder to encourage to add conflict to the story.

  2. I have to say I agree with Christine - I find it harder to take a nice person and make a story that is interesting. I also enjoy writing a character that isn't as defined as good or bad. I like the mystery aspect... I have a character that I have finished two books with her in them and I'm still on the fence about her goodness. Great subject Raine!

  3. Great points, Christine and Devyn! It can be challenging to write nice characters and provide an "interesting" story. What do you suppose that says about us as a society when we're more entertained by the "bad?" Hmm... :)