Every story needs a good villain. The tension they bring to a novel can be the very reason we keep turning the pages. But the hate I often feel toward a powerful antagonist in someone’s novels I can’t reciprocate in my own—no matter how horrible they are.
I know everything about them—their desires, their fears, the little nuances that make up the whole person. By knowing them so personally, I can’t escape feeling compassion for the pangs that evoked their decisions to hurt others. I know it’s weird, but as an author I can see the whole picture even though the story I might be telling you may only be a small thread of that picture.
Now it doesn’t mean I won’t kill my villain, or stop them from being punished when the time comes. I’m a big fan of justice in novels, but I do shed a tear or two while handing out the bad guys’ fate. Which is exactly what happened this weeks as I kill myself another bad guy in the latest novel I’m writing. At the rate I’m taking out bad guys, it’s a good thing there’s plenty of protagonists lurking around inside my head for the other novels I want to write.