Before I get into today’s topic, I have to take a moment to pimp The Romance Academy, written by Queen Cootie (aka Kerry Allen). She just put a new update up this weekend and it’s absolutely ROFL funny.
And now back to our regularly scheduled post.
I’m still thinking about villains today after yesterday’s fight with Knox (that’s my bad guy in this current WIP). That didn’t turn out with anything useful other than to figure out that he looks like Eddie Cibrian, and I have a good image of his condescending sneer. I did some brainstorming of the “well I know he does this and he expects this so he must act like this” variety, but it’s still not getting into his head. When I did all those massive character interviews a couple of months ago, we only did a peripheral one with Knox, and it was very obviously me talking, not him. He’s not letting me get into his head, damn him.
KNOX: And why in the world would I would to do that?
I whirl to see him lounging negligently against the desk, long lanky legs crossed at the ankles, said condescending sneer firmly in place.
ME (scowling): Because I am the writer, and it’s my JOB to get in your head.
He arches one dark brow.
KNOX: And what would be in it for me to cooperate?
ME: Oh, I don’t know. Existence for one. I can’t write a book without a villain, and you’re it. Ergo, I need to get in your head.
KNOX: Look, no one can get into the head of a Wylk. Not the vampires, not the witches. Certainly not some puny Vulgaris scribe.
ME: Watch the insults, wolf-boy. I created you. I can write you out of this book.
KNOX (chuckling): No you can’t. You need me. You need my ploy to frame the alpha for murder so I can steal his position, otherwise you have no story, no way to drive your precious Marley and Conall together.
ME (defensively): Someone else could frame Ulric. I just need him dead.
KNOX: Funny, so do I. The thing is, you might be able to convince someone else to frame him, to kill him even. But no one else is in a position to make the murder charge stick. If the murder charge doesn’t stick, Ulric doesn’t get executed, and you’re back to having that human-loving disgrace to his kind Conall not living up to his potential.
ME (huffs): Fine. I need you. But why do you need this? Why go to these elaborate measures to frame Ulric for murder, bring in the IED…Why not just kill him or challenge him? Afraid you couldn’t take him?
He crosses the room faster than I can blink, caging me in against the wall.
KNOX (leaning in close and baring his teeth): I could take that old man in a heartbeat. But that would hardly endear me to the clan. I had to discredit him, and what better way to do that than framing him for one of our highest crimes?
ME: But why? Why is this so important to you?
KNOX: Do you have any idea how long I’ve been Primus to Ulric? Thirty years. Thirty years of being his right hand man, doing his bidding, showing my allegiance. I have a brain, a good one, and never once did Ulric seek or listen to my unsolicited council. Not once in thirty years. I’m tired of being nothing but muscle. The clan is in danger here and changes need to be made if we’re to survive the influx of humans to our territory.
ME: And you disagreed with what Ulric planned to do about it?
KNOX: Yes. But the clan loves him. He’s been alpha for over a century. For change to come, big change, the clan’s faith in him had to be destroyed.
ME: So you’re telling me that you’re doing this for the clan.
KNOX: In part. Also for the power and recognition that’s my due.
ME (dubious): And what exactly makes it your due?
KNOX: It should have been me.
ME: What does that mean? What should have been you?
KNOX (growling): I don’t have to answer to you.
He pushes away from the wall and prowls across the room and out the door, slamming it behind him.
Well crap. That did not go as well as I’d hoped. The thing I think I’m having the most trouble with, apart from his general closed-mouthed stubbornness and distrust of humans, is that he’s not the kind of villain I’m used to writing. I’m used to crawling around in the minds of really twisted, creepy serial killers. I’m talking seriously messed up, evil individuals. Knox isn’t like that. He does bad things, and of course he has his own motivations for doing them. But he’s more power hungry than evil. He’s more of a the ends justify the means kind of guy, out for number one. He is more of an antagonist to Conall’s protagonist rather than what I think of as a villain. Now I’ve got to go chase him down and find out what should have been him. Maybe if I bribe him with steak…