When the Villain Takes Over

Ever had one of those experiences where the villain is turning out to be a much more interesting person than the hero? I remember when I went to a book signing by Laurell K. Hamilton a couple of years ago. My sister in law and I sat in the audience for a couple of hours and she talked about her Anita Blake vampire series. I was interested to learn that the main vampire character Jean Claude was never supposed to make it this far in the series. She laughed and said that she knew she should have killed him off because now the sneaky French bastard had stolen the entire series.

I thought of that while editing yesterday. It's been a while since the first draft of Ribbons, but Captain Nelson Rawlins was supposed to be the big bad guy--the hero's childhood friend who betrayed friendship for duty. The man dedicated to hunting down the highwayman and dragging him to the dock. However, I found, when I was writing, there was a lot more to Rawlins than met the eye. I liked him. He did what he thought he had to do. He wasn't a villain, he was another hero.

Well, now I had a problem. I'd gotten rid of the villain and that required a major re-write. So, I came up with Commander Montgomery--Rawlins' corrupt superior. He's evil. And nasty. After I wrote a few of the Commander's scenes I felt like I had to go wash my hands. I also vaguely wondered if I needed therapy. Or maybe the writing is the therapy.

Ever feel a little demented after writing a villain's scene?

Back to the editing--I thought I needed a little break yesterday. I started having dreams set in 18th century England!


  1. Isn't it AMAZING when the characters start writing themselves?! I've heard about it, but it's a really strange feeling when it happens ;)



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