In most mysteries and suspense novels, there is the villain.
In Snow White, you know right off it’s the Wicked Witch; maybe it was the hat or perhaps because she looked, sounded and acted with malicious intent.
Today, however, villains and readers have evolved and you need to take as much care with your villain as you do your hero and heroine.
Whether your villain is a serial killer, the one-time murderer who killed out of passion or a thief who robs the rich; this is one character that needs to have multi-layers.
To the world, he or she may appear likeable. He is the last person you would suspect of committing evil but inside his dark heart, he is motivated to first commit the crime and then cover up his sinister activities.
Why does your villain commit the crime can be as important as how? What is his or her motivation?
Was it a crime of opportunity, wrong place, and wrong time or was the victim selected?
How is your villain tied to the victim? Someone he or she knew and therefore murdered with a purpose?
I hate, I hate, I hate the villain who pops out the end of the novel and the reader has no clue as to who this person is. It’s simply bad form to have the bad guy jump out at the end of the book to surprise your reader and to conveniently explain away the crime.
In Lights, I left so many clues as to who the villain was and why he was motivated to commit the crimes throughout the book; I thought readers would be screaming at me that I gave away the villain’s identity too early in the book. And, to my surprise to this day, no one guessed who my villain was before his big reveal. But I played fair, the why he turned so evil was mentioned in the book, several times.
By bringing in my villain in early on, the readers had a satisfying aha moment. Your villain may make his or her appearance early in your novel or later but bring him or her in sooner rather than later. Have him filter in and out in scenes of your novel and will be discussing in the class where to bury the clues later.
As a character in your novel, your villain should be multidimensional; he or she should be able to move in and around society; he will have a job. He or she blends. Real criminals do blend into society. He doesn’t have to be perfect or maybe he’s a bit too perfect, it’s always your choice.
He can be a background character or a principal player and give him the tools to cover up his crime. Your villain is naturally motivated to misdirect your heroes/heroines to better cover up and hide his identity.
So let’s work in The Plot Book, and build a better villain.
The Plot Book
Killer Name (given by Media/Law Enforcement) _________________________________________
Hair Style_____________________________________________ ____________
Children: __________________________________________________ ________
Childhood Background: __________________________________________________ _____
Education: __________________________________________________ ______
Best Trait_____________________________________________ ____________
What do people think of him/her?______________________________________
Worse Failings__________________________________________ ___________
Habits: __________________________________________________ __________
Biggest Regret____________________________________________ _________
Attitudes toward Opposite Sex? _______________________________________
Desires: __________________________________________________ __________
What does he/she want? ______________________________________________
Motivation: __________________________________________________ _______
What will he/she do to achieve it? ______________________________________
Even though my villain had an early role in, Lights, Camera. Murder, to help introduce his evil side;which was hidden from the hero and heroine; I offered the following insights of his intent. You will find his thoughts at the end of several chapters. In this scene the reader sees his first evil appearance.
Lights, Camera. MURDER! On location/on the set…………..
A figure stood in the shadows of the old hotel, watching the SUV carrying Jon Maddux and Sage McCall drive away.
Half hidden by the side of the building, standing among overgrown shrubbery, no one had seen the figure and if they had, they would have hardly taken note. Why should they?
No one would ever suspect this was just the beginning.
This had worked out so much better than planned. Now that, the Hollywood Press corps had been mobilized, the eyes of the nation would be glued to this small tiny town. Perfect.
The heady sense of victory was imminent. All that was left to do was to get rid of pretty Sage McCall. They would hardly be prepared for what would come next.
LIGHTS, CAMERA, MURDER, Author Linn Random
Rating: 5 CUPS OF COFFEE
“Ms. Random has delivered a story full of suspense. I absolutely enjoyed how this story was written. It kept me on the edge of my seat until the end. I also liked these characters: Sage, who is full of sass and just the right amount of courage, and Jon, who is the epitome of a hard-nosed, tough cop that demands things go his way-and if they do not? Well, find a place to hide while he roars. These two characters are the perfect complement to each other and a totally intriguing story.
I thoroughly enjoyed the characters in this book and the way it was written. It kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for the next twist or turn.
Thank you very much for writing such a gripping story.”
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books
Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Thanks everyone! See you online at Coffeetime! Linn
For More Information on Linn Random or Lights, Camera. Murder! You are invited to visit www.LinnRandom.com Books on sale exclusively at Coffeetime Romance.