Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Writing the Devil into Your Bad Guy

Every novel needs to have at least one major bad guy (or gal), an antagonist with flaws and desires that lead to chaos, crime and even murder. This bad guy must provide a certain amount of tension, even when he isn't in a scene. Readers must feel him (or her) lurking, plotting and planning, creeping closer to his goal. To do this, writers must often "write the devil into a bad guy".

By this I mean that writers must delve into the psyche and personality of their antagonist to find out what makes them tick and what they want. And they'd better want something they shouldn't have. Money, power, control, sex or someone. What makes this character bad? Or evil? Whatever it is, amp it to a high level of devil-may-care, devil-made-me-do-it attitude.

In Lancelot's Lady, I started with a private investigator. Winston Chambers seemed nice enough at first. He did a good deed; he helped a character locate someone. But then we learn a bit more about Winston. We learn he has a fondness for gambling, and he's not very good. This presents a great time to add a bit of the Devil to his personality.

Desperate people do desperate things, but desperation isn't the only reason Winston does what he does. He's a survivalist who lusts after power, money and one particular woman―Rhianna McLeod. Lust is the Devil's playmate.

We later learn something else about Winston, and here's where the Devil really comes out. He routinely enjoys the pleasures of prostitutes. Now if that doesn't make you wrinkle your nose in displeasure, this next part will. He doesn't treat his women very well. In fact, he's sadistically evil.

We learn all of this as the romance between Rhianna and Jonathan progresses. Winston lurks in the background, appearing now and then to add tension to Lancelot's Lady. You just know something is going to happen. And it does. In the end, Winston makes a bold move that jeopardizes everything for Rhianna, including her own life.

Writing the Devil into a character is a great way to show conflict, terror and suspense. It keeps readers on the edge of their seats, waiting, wondering, chewing their nails. Even a character's physical description can add to his or her evil persona. Winston is obese, balding, wheezing, huffing and sweaty. Slimy...

Don't you want to meet him now? Well, you can. Just pick up an ebook copy of Lancelot's Lady.

Lancelot's Lady ~ A Bahamas holiday from dying billionaire JT Lance, a man with a dark secret, leads palliative nurse Rhianna McLeod to Jonathan, a man with his own troubled past, and Rhianna finds herself drawn to the handsome recluse, while unbeknownst to her, someone with a horrific plan is hunting her down.

Lancelot's Lady is available in ebook edition at KoboBooks, Amazon's Kindle Store, Smashwords and other ebook retailers. 

You can learn more about Lancelot's Lady and author Cherish D'Angelo (aka Cheryl Kaye Tardif) at and

Who is your favourite "bad guy" in film or a novel, and why?

Cheryl Kaye Tardif

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