We’ve all heard the phrase “Everyone’s the hero of their own story“.
Authors tout this phrase whenever they’re dealing with a character who is doing ugly things. Good authors dig in deep and show the mindset that led to these atrocities. Even better authors make you understand the how’s and the why’s of the character on the page, sometimes to the point that you’re nodding your head and thinking – Can I say I would be any different?
Of course, nobody wants to believe they’re Sauron seeking to control all Middle Earth.
No, we’re the long-lost king hiding in the wilds, struggling to decide where our responsibility ends and begins when it comes to the people left behind.
Isn’t that long-lost king a villain for abandoning his people?
When taken in that light, maybe villainy is just a series of choices and we’re all of us a contrasting mix of hero and villain, and it’s anyone’s guess which one will win the day. Sure, we hope the hero clings to their morality and makes the right choice, but nobody makes the right choice 100% of the time and if they do, are they really even human?
This month’s Round Robin poses the question of whether or not any of my written villains have ever achieved redemption and my answer is… Maybe?
In Deviation, I deliberately set out to have the hero of Reesa Zimm’s novels turn into the villain. And the villain, Matthew, became the hero. Now, I know that sounds strange but the science fiction novel does a fun little time-travel thing and Reesa Zimms is considered a prophet in the future for her bestselling series, so having Reesa abducted by her hero – Hedric Prosser – makes a kind of sense within the fiction.
In any case, Hedric the so-called hero is reeling after the death of his wife. His unraveling was startling to watch and as an author I have to admit, I had a lot of fun with it. Becoming a villain is way, way more easy than becoming a hero.
Matthew Borden, on the other hand, was more businessman than villain. This was a novel that had a lot of stuff happening and very little going on beneath the surface outside of Reesa’s struggle to forgive herself. I had fun with it, but there are avenues I wish younger me had explored more while writing the story. In the end, I can say that the true villain of the piece is Reesa, or at least she feels like she’s the villain and has for a very long time. At the closing of the book she has managed to, maybe not redeem herself, but at least accept the things that have happened in the past.
And isn’t that the first step toward redemption?
Check out what my fellow authors have to say in this month’s Round Robin!
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (YOU ARE HERE)
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-2KA
Robin Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com
2 thoughts on “About Villains – October 2022 Round Robin”
“Villainy is just a series of choices.” That’s exactly right. It’s life, isn’t it? And if someone can make the wrong choices, then change is possible.
Agree – the choices our characters make are what lead them to villainy or heroism. I’ve read books where a character I really like is about to make a really bad choice and I want to scream at him, NO! But of course, I can’t and he makes that choice and the slippery slope is engaged. One bad decision does not have to lead to another but they can make the next poor choice easier and easier until the goodness in that character has been eclipsed by his satisfaction with the new results. So, if that is possible, why can the reverse not also be possible. Our villain is sick to death of his own self and finally makes the difficult choice to face the facts and try to be better? One difficult step at a time.