showcase of villainy, part iv

Villain Month

As promised, here is the last showcase of the month-long villain series.

This ended up being more difficult than I thought it would be. Just spending time thinking about the antagonists was useful, and it was fantastic seeing other people join in. Thanks to everyone participating!

I spent the week focusing on my last villain of the four I meant to go over, Sorche du Remerdii. I also wrote a closing message and introduced a bonus villain-type, the king’s secret police, nicknamed after the silver masks that they wear.


Saint Know-All finished a few more drawings, and bid farewell to the month.


Nilah wrote a short article about human predators, in regards to the villain month project.


Aldersgatecycle focused on her last villain, Sally Din.


Nymeria wrote about Orion Novak, Dahlia Laras, and posted a gallery of her villain portraits.


And, last, even though she wasn’t actually participating, Worderella was kind enough to write up a few posts on villains on her blog as a kind of villain-month-tribute.


Closing links:

A list of participants
Showcase of villainy, part i
Showcase of villainy, part ii
Showcase of villainy, part iii

Thoughts? Comments? Shall we do this again someday? 🙂

A ‘hero month’ idea has already been put out, and I wouldn’t mind spending some time dedicated to world building as a future project…

villain: sorche du remerdii: ten wants

Recently, I started speaking with the gracious Joelle Anthony. Joelle is a published author who was kind enough to help me re-work my query letter.

The first thing she had me do was to write down ten things that my heroine wanted. And I thought, ‘This should be easy. I’ve been writing this character for eight or nine years now– I know Wyrren like the back of my hand.’

It took me two days to come up with a list that satisfied me enough to send back. Two days, and it was actually quite challenging. So since that was such a headache, I’ve decided, ‘let’s do it some more!’.

Sorche du Remerdii
Ten things he wants.
(Took twenty hours to finish).

  1. Luxury. His idea of luxury, the mental image it conjures, involves crystal plates, wine, music, dim light, and a large bed with entangled limbs on each side: five beautiful girls to share it with him, all with glossy hair and soft lips.
  2. Respect. Sorche doesn’t care about power, not nearly so much as his brother Kione, but he hates to be left out or seen as second-rate.
  3. His own small domain. Ultimately, it doesn’t matter what he’s put in charge of. He has to work (he would grow miserable without work, and knows it). One of Sorche’s hobbies is to polish tarnished silver. Likewise, he wants to have something of his own to administer and make shine.
  4. The title ‘bastard’ Mordache changed. Mordache with skin other than the standard icy-pale have human blood and are known as Mordache bastards, despite their legitimacy. This has always irritated him, as a gentleman’s adopted son (and as a bastard Mordache).
  5. To win a strategy game against Kione. He’s tried. It hasn’t happened (yet).
  6. His previous lover’s forgiveness. Some of the things she accused him of were true, some weren’t, but he still misses her.
  7. To learn carving. The Mordache’s main form of art is sculpture, and he’s always wanted to learn how to make it himself, even if it’s just another hobby.
  8. His brother’s well-being. Sorche is convinced that Kione has no idea how to relax and have fun.
  9. A moment of glory. Sorche would love to impress his father, to be able to have a very good reason to say, ‘aren’t you glad you took me in?’.
  10. An interesting life. Perhaps not always a good or a happy life, but he would very much like his to be an eventful one.

showcase of villainy, part iii

Villain Month

Here’s the weekly showcase for the third week in June. We’ve got one more week before the end of Villain Month!

I worked on my bully, Redaechyl, and wrote about what I think makes a good villain.


Saint Know-All started on her second villain: Darren Hare.


Aldersgatecycle has been working on Sir Sylvan DeLoire.


Nymeria spent this week focusing on Dawnelle Nymeron.


Ashley made a post on her villain’s setting.


That’s it for this week! I’ll post the final character showcase on July 1st!

good villains don’t pull punches

Easy to say. Much, much harder to pull off in writing. Why? Because realistically, there’s only so much that can be done to a character before they break. The more realistic the story, the more the reader identifies with the protagonist. The more the reader identifies with the protagonist, the more the events in the story don’t just happen to the characters– they happen to the reader, too.

I’ve toted my love of George Martin’s ‘Song of Ice and Fire’ series before. Why? Because a very well developed character, a beast of a fighter that had been developed painstakingly for three (long) books can win a fight, take an injury in the process, and die of tetanus. There are so many characters in his books that he can realistically kill a huge portion of his cast like that. It heightens your sense of danger for the favorite characters, it takes away the safety net, and the knowledge that some of these characters are not going to survive the next few hundred pages makes the material gripping. Good villains don’t pull punches.

The problem with imitating this style, however, is that stories that aren’t a series of 200k novels have a much smaller cast. You can hurt them, you can kill them, but know that whatever pain and torment they go through… it’s not just going to magically go away. These characters are going to have to last you till the end of the story. And a good villain, a good danger, is going to hurt what it comes across.

I’m about sixty percent of the way through my book. My heroine has already broken her arm twice, and during plotting for future chapters I’ve very nearly decided that I’m going to shatter her knee and kill a side-character that I’m rather fond of. There is no healing magic. She’ll never run again, or walk without her staff. Why? Because there’s a villain with the advantage who is clever enough to find her. Take away his advantage, let her win the struggle immediately, and he’s not much of a villain. On the other hand, give my antagonist what he seeks (answers for her possession of a dead friend’s mask) and he will kill her. Good villains don’t pull punches. There is no ‘before I kill you’ monologue. No last requests. No ‘by the power of sheer will’ victories. No drastic change in skill when it’s convenient for him to lose a fight.

Why do people love a good villain? Because that struggle between the characters, the wavering balance of power, the trade of victories and defeats is what makes the adventure. Without tension, conflict, that sense of danger and concern for losing something precious… there is no story.

villain: redaechyl: introduction

Redaechyl“The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”

Redaechyl

My least developed villain, the bully-antagonist that picks a fight and almost gets my hero executed for attacking a king’s favorite. He doesn’t even have a surname… not that I know of, anyway. I couldn’t even remember his first name without looking it up.

Here’s what I do know about him. This is the type of man that I can’t stand– I would probably kill him myself if you put me in a room with this guy for over five minutes. He’s the type that would kick over your sandcastle at the beach when you’re not looking, the schoolyard bully who will run to the teacher to tattle on a fight if it didn’t go his way, who would never miss a chance to jeer and point out your faults. Pretty, blond, tattooed Redaechyl, who wears specially made shirts and jackets to allow his large gray feathered wings the freedom to stretch and glide.

Wish me luck on this one. Just thinking about him makes my hackles rise.

showcase of villainy, part ii

This wraps up week two (this post is two days late– small children terrorized our house this weekend) of Villain Month. 🙂

I had hoped to do more for my villain Tarren Kanichende, but didn’t quite manage it.


Saint Know-All finished her study on Richard Khiro, and has just started on her second villain, Darren Hare.


Karma Girl posted a profile for her next villain, Dinah Renoir.


Seanchaí posted some thoughts about the Underutilization of Villains.


Aldersgatecycle spent the week working on her second villain, Sir Gregory Ander.


Nymeria wrote about her villain, Sirius Nymeron, and discussed what she liked to see in an antagonist.


Rachel Russell posted a character sheet for her villain Keledreth.


Ashley Mill writes a bit about what she’s going to be doing for her villain, B.M. Lamora.


Olivia posted a character sheet for her villain Roseanne Baker.


Asustadizo drew a picture of his villain’s hands.


And that wraps up this week! I’ll do the third update next weekend!

villian: kione remerdii: scene

“Goodness is, so to speak, itself: badness is only spoiled goodness. And there must be something good first before it can be spoiled. We called sadism a sexual perversion; but you must first have the idea of a normal sexuality before you can talk of its being perverted; and you can see which is the perversion, because you can explain the perverted from the normal, and cannot explain the normal from the perverted.” -C.S. Lewis, ‘Mere Christianity’

((A sample of Kione’s POV, to practice the details of my villain. We’ll call it free-writing, and I make no promises as to the quality of the prose.))

Kione had sat with his usual glass of firewine through breakfast, swirling the liquid and picking at his food though his stomach protested with every bite that he forced down his throat. He had imagined himself presenting a front of high spirits on this anticipated day, and though he had thought that he had better control over himself than this, had relied several times on his nerves, he found them failing him. The sensation worsened when young Prince Davyer Kanichende looked at him and asked, “You’re not sad, are you?”

“Sad, my prince?” Kione smiled and shook his head. “I can rarely eat before an event of importance. The coronation certainly counts, if nothing else in the world would. You must be very excited.”

“Don’t forget, we’re taking off the traitor’s head today.”
Continue reading

villain: kione remerdii: entj

ENTJ: Extraverted Intuitive Thinking Judging (from the Jung Typology Test)

* slightly expressed extravert
* distinctively expressed intuitive personality
* distinctively expressed thinking personality
* moderately expressed judging personality

So I took this test with Kione Remerdii in mind, using what I already knew about him. It emphasized that he’s completely ruthless, hates ’emotional’ or personal problems (he especially grows impatient with phobias), and is naturally tidy. And then I found that the professional personality assessment article fit him to a T. It’s… rather scary, actually.

I’ve also decided that Kione really doesn’t see himself as evil. And on several counts, what he does can be perfectly justified. Sure, he had hundreds of unexpecting noblemen slaughtered by proxy. But on the other hand, the way things were going, it was faster and less damaging than a naturally occurring revolt, which seemed to be building up. Yes, he was double-dealing (quatrupal dealing?), but this was politics. What else could be expected? And those commoners down in the depths of the city that he set up to die… it was his only chance for change. One can not walk into a city in hopes of conquering it. One must rock the boat a little, send people scattering so that the man in question can more easily find his place.

He also has no need to explain any of this to anyone.

(Keep going for the personality test results, if they so interest you.)
Continue reading

villain: kione remerdii: family

Just a villain-ramble. I tried to do a character-building sheet (he protested, saying that his tastes made him out to be a snob), then an interview (I protested– he was plotting to torture me until I agreed to let him triumph at the end of the book). So here’s some basic information on Kione.

(Oh, and it’s my twenty-fourth birthday today. At least three people have plied or are planning on plying me with food. 🙂 It’s making me wish I could eat more than five bites of anything.)

Kione Remerdii
Also, Kione, with diamonds in his hair, Kione, celestite lord, Kione, of blue crystal.

Family
Kione is an only child, mostly due to his race’s high infant and child mortality rate; the Mordache are almost human, except for their access to ‘The Art’, a magic that comes too strong and often too hard to control at young ages. He had had a brother, who did not live past three. After he died, he was replaced with a bastard Mordache boy who showed great promise– or at least, good health. He was given the name of Kione’s dead brother, Sorche Remerdii, and raised as a noble despite the child’s outlandish looks– kinky curls and slanted eyes. Incidentally, Kione brought Sorche to Vastii when he traveled there, and upon his promotion gave Sorche real political power by binding him in gold: the symbol of a high-ranking slave, letting them represent their master in all matters and effectively turning him from the bastard foster-brother into Kione’s second in command.

That had worked out better than Kione’s father had intended. He had wanted his son to keep good company, but when none of his siblings had lived and none of the other gentleman’s children looked as if they’d challenge him, he picked Sorche for his promising talent and constitution, as a brother and a rival. Sorche has always been the healthier of the two, since Kione never grew above 5’8 and didn’t excel at the Art or in physical prowess.

Kione’s father, much like Kione, was a workaholic and a perfectionist. He was always finding ways to improve his holding, and under his care the Remerdii territory grew rapidly. Kione was often put in charge of people or places and given no help. The boy would grow and improve, or he would fail and be punished. By the time Kione reached his mid-twenties he was left to deal with the entire holding, then the diplomatic relations with other territories, essentially coming into his inheritance without his father showing any signs of growing ill. It was his father who suggested that the king was an incompetent fool, and that Kione should take his position from him, if he could. Kione surveyed the king’s city, found several weaknesses, and went to exploit them.

Of course, his method prefers double-dealing, treachery, and mass murder, but no one’s perfect. Right?

His mother was of relatively little importance. She acted more as a decoration than anything, always quietly in the background happiest when left to her own devices.

villian: kione remerdii: introduction

Kione Remerdii, lord of blue crystal

“Those that protested, ‘I had no choice,’ obviously lacked an imagination.”

Kione Remerdii

Kione’s family are not noble; the Remerdiis are what is known as ‘Landed Gentleman’, which means that they get a surname, but are barred from officially naming their territories or taking on slaves bound in gold. For services to the king, Kione was promoted to the rank of pseudo-nobility, given the title of ‘Lord’… but his home and lands were not given an official name. Instead, after a bit of social fumbling he was nicknamed ‘Lord Kione Remerdii, of blue crystal’ after his new crest, a piece of celestite shining in the dark. This combined the gentleman and lordly titles, and aside from some prestige bestowed very little special privilege. Given the service he was performed in exchange, some might even think that he was robbed. Kione accepted graciously instead.

The hierarchy, to be clear: Royalty > High Nobility > Nobility > Landed Gentleman > Gentleman > common men.


When Kione was eight years old, he was put in charge of his family’s dogs, to teach him to rule. Dogs, his father theorized, were the perfect way to raise his son: they would flock for food and favors, and were easily trained, easily led astray. This was much how the senior Remerdii saw his people, which he organized into strict routines and rigid groups, all heavily moderated. Kione adopted the same practices, training the animals, then using them for mundane labor.

Two years later, Kione was with his animals when a much younger boy– probably five or so, and noble-born on top of it– thought it would be fun to run among them and hit them with a heavy stick, normally used for chastising the dogs. Kione caught and held him, wrenching his stick away from him and demanded that the child desist and leave. The boy swore and refused, reaching back to take back his weapon as he struggled. Then the boy’s father came into view.

Immediately the child threw himself on the ground and began sobbing. The father shouted and scooped him up, asking his son what had happened and giving Kione a very unpleasant expression as the boy pointed a finger at the stick, but seemed too wrought to make out the words. Kione’s explanation seemed to be disregarded.

When Kione’s own father called on him later for an answer, Kione again tried to explain that he had not been in the wrong. His father cut him off, affirmed that he already knew what had really happened. Then he went on to explain that it was unimportant. Truth was, ultimately, less important than appearance. He was to find other ways, other options, but always must appear blameless, regardless of his intentions, the presence or lack of guilt. Then Kione was punished as if he had attacked the little noble, to the satisfaction of their guest.

Kione learned his lesson, and did not make that mistake again.