I am very excited to have Claire Merle visit on the blog today:-) Her Glimpse duology is fantastic!!! I have only read the first book, The Glimpse which my review can be found HERE! I hope to read and review The Fall soon!
Published June 6, 2013 by Faber & Faber (UK)
London, in the not-so-distant future. Society has been divided into Pures and Crazies according to the results of a DNA test.
But seventeen-year-old Ana, whose father invented the Pure test, has uncovered a recording with dangerous evidence that the tests are fake. Ana has escaped her father and made it to the Enlightenment Project – a secluded protest group living on the outskirts of the City.
Back in the arms of Cole nothing is simple. Some in the Project believe her presence jeopardises their safety, others interpret her coming as part of their prophetic Writings. When the recording Ana stole goes viral, the Project comes under attack. Now Ana’s father isn’t the only one looking for her. She’s come to the attention of Evelyn Knight, the Chairman of the Board – a powerful woman with a sinister plan. Ana must take greater risks than ever to unravel the truth and discover the secrets that lie beneath the Pure test. But unlike her father, the Chairman doesn’t want her safely home. She wants Ana’s spirit crushed, permanently. And she will destroy everyone Ana cares about to do it.
WRITING THREE-DIMENSIONAL VILLAINS – A window into your villain’s soul.
We all have reasons for behaving the way we do. And they’re often not the reasons we give. Sometimes, because people aren’t conscious of their true motivations; sometimes because motivations are too dark or grounded in negative emotions we hide them because we know they wouldn’t be acceptable in normal society. Deep down, however, we’re all trying to survive and achieve our goals. What that survival depends upon is all a matter of point of view. If you believe everyone around you is secretly plotting against you, then you’ll probably be quietly trying to destroy them. If you believe in Karma, then perhaps you’re giving and loving with the expectation of getting the same in return. If life is an endless, meaningless slog, you’ll be looking for the easiest path of resistance, just trying to get through another day.
But while each of us usually has one solid view-point from which we see the world and our fellow humans, our interaction with others can shift the point of view. Humans are complex. In the presence of one particular person our usual reactions might be turned on their head; someone says or does something that breaks the cycle of the way we would normally behave, that alters our perception, shifts us around, reminds us of someone else, something else, something we barely fathom. And so a three-dimensional character has been, in some analogies, likened to a diamond with four-sides: A predominant strength, a supporting characteristic, a weakness and shadow trait (a trait that is unknown and will be revealed in the story.)
In The Glimpse – my debut dystopian thriller – my main character’s father, Ashby Barber, embodies the forces of antagonism and the world set against my protagonist. Essentially, Ashby believes what he is doing is best for his daughter – he perceives Ana as fragile and is attempting to protect her from the chaos of the world beyond her safe Community. In the follow-up sequel, The Fall, Ashby’s desire is complicated by his need to protect his own career, status and freedom too. Ultimately he is forced to choose. Between truth and lies. Protecting his daughter, or protecting himself.
Though the ‘villain’ in The Glimpse, Ashby Barber isn’t evil. He’s selfish, scarred by the loss of his wife and trying not to lose the one person he still has. In the sequel, the story grows beyond Ana’s personal journey of self-discovery and coming-of-age, and follows a more heroic structure. From this point on, Ana’s decisions and actions will not only affect herself, but the whole of society and so the forces against her manifold exponentially. These are embodied in a new antagonist – Evelyn Knight, Chairman of the Board, the organisation responsible for the genetic testing and treatment of mental illnesses.
Evelyn is ruthless and capable of horrific acts against the general public. However, her underlying motivations are totally comprehensible – she wants to be admired. Who doesn’t? She hungers for love but she can’t trust or love back. For her, the next best thing is love from afar. Hero worship. She does what she does because she wants people to admire her, look up to her, need her. This motivation is never stated, but for me, writing her character it was always there below the surface. I think it’s important, while writing a villain, to remember that however monstrous a person’s behaviour, they are human. Real people can, and unfortunately do, commit horrendous crimes.
Whose your favorite fictional villain? What were their motivations? What made them so credible to you?