SPEAKER: Linda is a member of AWSA, and is available to speak to your organization, at your conference, or as part of a workshop.
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AGENT: Linda is a an agent with Hartline Literary Agency. She would love to represent that next great American novel! She will look at nonfiction, but she LOVES FICTION--historic, suspense, romance or all of the above.

AUTHOR: Linda writes romance in all categories, but what is her fave? Suspense, and not only suspense, but SUSPENSE SEALED WITH A KISS

Sunday, August 14, 2011

How do YOU do evil?

How do you create evil characters in your writing? Let's look at Harrison's Laura:

The officer’s car halted, nearly morphing into a night silhouette but for the lightbar across the top; she slowed her vehicle, removing her foot from the gas without braking. Laura choked on the heaviness in the air. She wanted to strangle Harrison.

A quick glance from the patrolman, and she smiled and nodded. One second passed in time as they locked eyes, but in that second, she read his face as clearly as a divine vision. He didn’t know. Didn’t have an inkling. He revved the engine and sped past her toward some unknown target as her heart steadied to a semi-normal thumping.

And suddenly it came to mind why she suffered these hair-raising moments. This was all Harrison’s fault. She let out the suffocating breath. She wanted to kill him for the misery he caused.

Not now. Stay focused on the prize. Soon they’d be living like the millionaires they already were. She bit the inside of her cheek so she could feel. She was sick of middle-class living, of small towns, hicks, and doing without. Gimme the good life, the rich, rich, rich life.

One positive thing, she no longer had a carload of snivelers and whiners to haul into the wilderness. The girls awaited new families courtesy of Ernest. Good families? Who cared. She snorted. Too bad if they weren’t. Yeah, life could be tough. What was it the Good Book said? Everyone had a cross to bear.

She jeered as the tension of the last few seconds erupted from within her. All those five-year-olds trudging along in ashes and sackcloth with tiny white crosses slung on their backs. Winding their way to utter devastation.

Laura exploded with laughter.

Swing by Hartline's blog on Monday for another sample and let us all know how YOU do evil.


  1. Fabulous imagery and realism. This character is the perfect blend of sane and psychotic. =)

  2. Thanks, Tammy. I sorta "like" -GULP- her too. She's a character in an old novel I'm revisiting and I love characters that I love to hate. Hmm, I'll bet there's a counseling couch and about $400/hour that would help that!

  3. Yes, we all love to hate a really "good" evil character. In old-time stage plays they used to include a "kick-the-cat" scene so the audience would known whom to hate. Today we have to be more sophisticated.

    Funny... even though I know these tricks of the trade, I can feel my ire rising when watching a movie that truly shows us the despicable nature of the bad guy. For example, my wife started watching a movie in which a man cursed his wife, called her an "old cow" and then began to beat her. I wanted to step into the film long enough to knock his block off! Nice when a writer can arouse such emotion!

  4. So much fun to do evil! You can put all of your suppressed emotions and anger into the character--ahhhh . . . relief!

  5. Great post, Linda! I think we love to create our evil characters to get our frustrations out and break away (at least a little!) from the goodness of our hero. I'm working on a book now with some truly evil characters in it and I'm loving it. (Quite a change from my Misstep characters :-)

  6. Boo! Boo! Hiss! Hiss! (I'm doing my best audience reaction to the villain in an old melerdramer...

  7. Wow, Linda! You got deep into that character! Great imagery and a chance
    to see inside a villain's twisted mind. My most recent villain didn't have her own POV, but she sure wreaked havoc. Have to say I, too, think that I release some suppressed anger through the antagonist, because I wouldn't
    want to act like her in real life. But there's something about using a villain to manipulate the conflict that's well, satisfying . . . bwah ha ha! (Evil laugh)
    ;) Meet you at the counselor's office!

  8. Kathleen, I'm still laughing. I think you're right, we'll meet one day in the lobby and scare the rest of the patients. Or wait, maybe by getting our evil twin out on paper, we won't have to endure such deep psychoanalysis. But I have to admit, it IS so cathartic to creat evil characters to do what we would never do in real life.

  9. And yes, Eileen, Laura is REALLY evil. Only the vaguest glimpse into any reason why because I want her to be accepted as purely evil with little to no redeeming qualities. I do believe there are some people who thrive on evil, not because of a poor childhood or anything else, they simply love evil for evil's sake and believe they are entitle to anyting in life that they want.

  10. "Laura exploded with laughter." From the sound of her laughter, if you're in her way, heaven help you.

  11. This is all just too evil for me. I'm outta here!:)
    (Great post, and as you can tell by my response, very effective! Now, to translate it into my historicals where the villain doesn't get his own point of view.)
    Donna Winters