What Makes A Good Bad Guy?

Proceed at your own risk.

WARNING:

THE FOLLOWING BLOG POST MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR THE OLD WAYS.

PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK.

 

I was procrastinating performing extensive research for my novel on Pinterest earlier today, when I found this gem:

villain low self esteem

When I first saw it, I laughed. I mean, I laughed hard. Because my immediate thought to myself was, “Of course not, Erlik thinks he’s the best thing ever created!”

Then I went deeper into it. And I realised the whole reason he thinks so, is because he does have low self-esteem. He acts the way he does, because of crippling insecurity. He spends the entire novel hot on Mab’s heels. He swings from one emotion to another in the blink of an eye. He’s often shown drinking heavily (in the morning! What a lush). He’s infamous (in-universe) for his sexual exploits, and has the… *ahem* extensive progeny to prove it.

These can be symptoms of low self-esteem. Addictive, promiscuous, and chaotic personality traits. While he never displays anxiety attacks or a lack of self-confidence, he certainly has something about him that indicates he dislikes himself, and is projecting that dislike upon others to make himself feel better.

Well, mostly not that.

Loki has low self-esteem too. Yes, that’s my excuse for using his picture…

So is that what makes a good bad guy? (Okay, okay, I’ll say good villain from now on. Makes for less confusion) Well, I don’t think it is. Erlik has low self-esteem, yes, but he’s also funny, charming, sinister, manipulative, vindictive, and so deliciously wicked.

I… may be a little biased. #TeamErlik

Anyway. Is that what makes a good villain? ‘Nice’ qualities? Human qualities? Well, I don’t think so. I mean, I think they certainly help, but Sauron was a perfect villain, and he had no human qualities at all.

Good villains can be relateable. They can have something in them that makes regular, less-villainous people go “Oh, that’s like me! Wait, is that good?”

What about those villains who know they’re evil? The ones who relish in their darkness. The ones who torture and torment for fun. Lookin’ at you, Ramsay Bolton.

Ramsay

Couldn’t resist, sorry :3

There are villains who believe they’re the hero of the story. Villains who believe they’re doing what they’re doing for the greater good. I think Heath Ledger’s Joker has a little of that in him. He wants to unleash chaos for the people of Gotham for them to realise their full potential.

A good villain must be a foil. A contrast to the hero. An opposition to everything the hero stands for. Erlik is a Dark Prince, while Thomas (eventually) is a White Knight. Thomas has a strong moral high ground, whereas Erlik is underhand and plays dirty. Everything Thomas is or becomes, Erlik is ultimately the antithesis. In D&D terms, Thomas is Neutral Good, while Erlik is Chaotic Evil.

That’s what makes a good villain. Next time you’re writing, talk to your villain. Ask him/her/it what they’re fighting for. Ask them what they want. Does that goal conflict with what the hero wants? Do they believe they’re the hero of your story? Talk to them, and find out. Then you’re on the right path.

Now, go, writer! Write! Write like you’ve never written before!

Blessed be,

RK )O(

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Age of Magic… Sneak Preview? :O

Let’s talk about something fun! Did everyone have a good Christmas and New Year? As I think I mentioned, I pretty much slept through New Year. The work on Age of Magic is slowly and steadily being done, but… I… also have the DLCs for Dragon Age which I didn’t have before and I’m sort of playing them as well please don’t be mad at me…

I’ve been working diligently, kindly ignore everything in the previous sentence. As proof, have a small, unedited, sneak preview of the first draft:

Rosetta lay prostrate over Oren’s twitching body while blood spurted from a clean slice across his throat. Mab stared down at the dead boy, her eyes wide with fury. She clenched her fist, extinguishing the fire, shaking her head. Who is here?

The crowd fell silent. Lightfoot and half a dozen of her soldiers appeared behind her.

“Your Grace?”

Mab ignored her advisor, and instead raised her eyes to the crowd, seeking that which was unfamiliar–

There!

The glint of a dagger sparkled in the crowd. A shrill squeal – fright or pain? Mab acted without thought.

She thrust her right arm towards the assassin, brandishing her fingers as she would wield a whip. Her seelie screamed and darted aside, as half a dozen writhing tree branches snaked into the crowd. Mab curled her fingers into a beckoning fist, and the branches wrapped around the unfamiliar man and dragged him into a circle of onlookers.

On his knees, he kept his head bowed. Mab flicked a finger, and a branch lifted his head to look up at her.

The white fires around her cast a ghastly pallor over her face. For a moment, she looked monstrous, ancient and furious.

“You dare come here with your wicked intent?” she hissed, her voice a slithering whisper.

The stranger looked up. He was human, she could tell that at least. Yet with a crooking of his lip into a smile, Mab knew he had not come alone.

A blade sang. A strangled cry rang from the crowd. Mab looked up sharply. More seelie fell to hidden blades. Three dead on her left. Two more on her right. Another ahead of her. Guards flocked into the circle, felling the secret assassins before they could take any more seelie lives.

Chaos erupted in the glade, yet Elphame’s soldiers performed their duty marvellously. Soon, each assassin kneeled before Mab, bound and struggling, swords pressed to their throats.

The Queen of the Old Ways looked sharply down at her own captive. He gazed back at her, cocky, an ugly smile on his face.

Mab raised her hard eyes and gave a simple nod. Blades sliced through thin armour, and each assassin fell, dead. Their deaths were only a small reward for the amount of seelie blood they had shed.

“Your reign is ending, Wolf-Queen,” the assassin before her sneered. Soldiers surrounded him at once, but, her eyes blazing, Mab held up a hand to stop them running him through.

“Hold,” she said. Her voice quiet, yet rang through the glade, silencing even the sobbing seelie who mourned their fallen kin. “Take him back to Elphame for questioning.”

Her glare could have incinerated him as the guards dragged him away.

This should not have happened.

This would not happen again.

Spying one last assassin fleeing the glade, she held up her hand and gestured, and at once, his head twisted back, his neck snapping with a hideous sound, and he fell, dead, in the spongy moss.

I will make sure of it.

 

Exciting stuff, huh?

A few more people have now finished The Old Ways, and I now have some utterly beautiful reviews on Amazon, for which I am extremely grateful and happy. I’m looking to do some more signings now that Christmas is out of the way, and I might be doing a giveaway on my Facebook page! :O Exciting stuff! I’ll keep you all posted on how that turns out.

For now, here’s a cute picture of a bunny:

little-rabbit-slipped

Alright now, my darling pixies, it’s Friday night and I intend to sleep a lot.

Blessed Be

RK )O(

Catch-Up Time!

-vigorously waves- I’m here! I’m sorry, I’ve been neglecting my blog, my website, my Facebook page… I’m a bad, bad, bad panda. I’m sorry 😦

In my defence, like every single one of my shows started again in Autumn. Once Upon a Time, Sleepy Hollow, Supernatural, Grimm… even Doctor Who has had at least one good episode this season. I’m starting to notice a pattern in the shows I watch… I know, it’s no excuse. I’ve been doing other things too!

Celtic Woman concert on Wednesday was absolutely fantastic. Their 10th Anniversary concert, and it was breathtaking. Perfect atmosphere for an evening of Celtic and folk music. And it was my first visit to the Sage in Gateshead too. I’d never been. OH and Steeleye Span are playing there in December, too! 😀 Don’t think I’d be able to get tickets this late, though. 😦

New bed arrived. It’s comfy-cosy and bouncy. Only problem is that there’s enough space underneath for at maybe two monsters to hide, so getting up in the middle of the night is going to be problematic if my fear of the dark gets the better of me. No more scary movies for me!

Speaking of, I’ve finally seen Crimson Peak! 😀 😀 😀

Shameless Hiddles gif!

Shameless Hiddleston gif!

It’s purely amazing. Such a gothically (is that a word? It is now. Up yours, My Immortal fanfic) romantic story. It had aspects of Du Maurier in there, specifically my favourite novel of hers, Rebecca. You know the story; a mysterious, rich, Byronesque anti-hero whisks away a naive, young, swooning heroine to a dark and crumbling mansion, where an old and haunting secret still bleeds from the walls. That sort of thing.

In other news… pussy cat is coming out of her shell a lot more. She’s on the mend from having Cat-Flu. And/Or conjunctivitis. Cat bogies eeeeverywhere. She still cries a little bit for us, but it’s not as pathetically heart-wrenching any more. Now it’s more of a “Hey, why did you close this door, Hooman? My tall climby thing is in there” type of miaow.

OOH and one of my friends is struggling with her morals because her favourite character in The Old Ways (so far, anyway) is Erlik. Little did she realise that was my goal all along! -evil laughter-

Well, she knows now, as I told her she’s sort of meant to like him, even just a little bit.

So… who’s started on their Christmas shopping? :/

I’ve bought…. four things. Yaaaay, progress… I really need to go shopping. I can’t just present someone with a mug on Christmas morning. Merry Christmas, here’s a receptacle for your hot beverages.

Like I said… bad panda 😦

Oh, and I replayed and finished Alice: Madness Returns… it’s been a while, and I felt like revisiting the most disturbing imagining of Wonderland I’ve ever seen. It’s an exquisitely psychotic game, I highly recommend it. If you’ve never played it, check out the trailer here.

Alright, enough rambling. I need to work on my dragon chapters. Whoops! Spoilers! ^-^

Blessed be,

RK )O(

RK’s Feelings Towards Game of Thrones, S5E10: Mother’s Mercy, aka, WHAT THE F*CK JUST HAPPENED?

Proceed at your own risk.

Proceed at your own risk.

 

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

YES I DID MEAN THAT.

YES I DID MEAN THAT.

How to make everyone scream in rage within 30 seconds of screen time: kill the most universally beloved character in the entire show.

I don’t exactly know the order in which I’m coping with this tragedy, but I’m hovering somewhere in the “denial” stage. Melisandre just arrived at Castle Black. She’ll fix him. She’s already shown she’s got a thing for that adorable puppy-eyed, black-haired Crow. I danced with the “anger” stage for a while. In this case it means I had a minor flail and threw myself over the arm of the chair. I only encountered “sadness” during the scene itself, where I released a pitiful and distinctly uncool whine. Much like a dog when it loses it’s favourite tennis ball.

Haven’t quite reached “bargaining” yet. And I don’t think there’ll ever be an “acceptance”.

Not cool, GRRM. Not cool AT ALL.

*heavy breathing*

After careful consideration and about twenty-five seconds of thinking, I have come to the conclusion that, yes, I will continue to watch the show. And I also realised that I pretty much did the exact same thing to several of my own characters, so I honestly can’t complain.

Dear future readers of The Old Ways,

I’m so sorry.

Sincerely, RK.

 

Blessed be. Raise your pitchforks for in the morning when we storm the HBO studios.

RK )O(

And now his Watch has ended.

And now his Watch has ended.

RK’s Progression from Human to Author: 78% Complete.

Eliot, Hemingway, Tolkien, Twain, Yeats, Dickens, Gaiman… one thing I’ve noticed about authors; we all pretty much love cats. What is it about cats that attract authors? Or is it the other way around? Are cats naturally inclined to hang around with authors?

Is it the isolated lifestyle? Cats by nature are independent creatures. Authors, by trade, are alone most of the time. When we’re not surrounded by a dozen characters, all demanding to be the centre of attention in one particular chapter. Wait… is that just me?

Is it the smell of coffee? The warm keyboard? The stacks of books that make for excellent climbing frames?

What I’m basically building up to here is that, after years of not-so-subtle hinting and batted eyelashes and promises of chocolate cake, I’m finally getting a cat. Excuse me while I squee.

My new kitty, Luna

My new kitty, Luna

This is Luna, my lovely new kitty cat. She’s just had kittens so she’s all tired here, but sadly they’ve all gone on to new homes, so she’s coming home with us in a few weeks time. She’s still at the rescue home at the minute, so we’re busy making up her new home all cat-friendly. She’s going to be spoilt rotten, poor thing.

And I really won’t mind if she takes a liking to my hair and wants to tangle herself in it. It won’t be any weirder than the other things I’ve found in there. (Read: 6 leaves, 3 cherry blossom petals, 4 dandelion seeds, 3 twigs, 1 piece of straw, 2 spiders, 3 flies, 7 bits of fluff, and one fragment of a receipt for a bottle of lemonade. It wasn’t even mine.)

So, that’s my big announcement. I’m getting a cat. Which, according to my Facebook feed, is quite minor compared to the rest of the world, who all seem to be either getting married or having babies. Me? I’m getting a kitty.

 

In other news, Prince Oberyn died a horrible death by having the Mountain shove his thumbs into his eye sockets. I would have felt very sorry for him, had he not been prancing around his still living body and taunting him. Now that’s just dense.

Oh. Uhm. Spoilers?

Maleficent is magnificent. Heh. Lazy-rhyme. I really identified with the story. A beautiful faery queen with fantastic cheekbones who has an affinity with forests and earth magic gets her heart broken by an arrogant prince, then becomes a lot darker in nature and starts wearing a lot of purple and black, becomes close friends with a crow-like man and is associated with wolves– wait…

-_-

Were I a vengeful woman, I would wreak havoc upon the world. But I’m not bitter. Mab is a better faery queen. And Erlik is a more arrogant prince. And he’s a REAL prince, thank you very much. Not some peasant upstart.

Why yes, I am in complete control of the keyboard and I am in no way influenced by aforementioned prince nor the very large sword he happens to have upon his person.

(Send help. Quickly.)

 

Blessed be

RK )O(

Why RK hates writing prophecies

And other assorted “fate” related chapters.

(Just FYI, this post will mostly be a rant, rather than an actual post)

I’ve always hated the idea of my characters doing something because “fate” or “destiny” says so. For me, reading the words “The Chosen One” or “destined to” are massive turn offs if I’m reading something that had previously been interesting. Case in point, Harry Potter.

Calm down, I'm not about to badmouth the Boy Who Lived...

Calm down, I’m not about to badmouth the Boy Who Lived…

Yes, I loved the books. The films were… okay. The games were just plain weird. But yes, as soon as I read the words “the Chosen One”, my heart sank. It’s not that it’s a bad concept or anything, it just irritates the hell out of me when something that has previously had no mention of deity or higher power suddenly has a plot device in which the main character has been chosen by aforementioned Higher Power to achieve greatness.

In Harry Potter for example, who exactly was it that “chose” Harry? Wizard God? Merlin himself?

Don’t get me wrong, I love this franchise. I loved it so much, I glossed over the Chosen One business and it became one of my biggest fandoms.

However, like all ranting madwomen, I’m a massive hypocrite. I’m guilty of this little plot point… in the original, and in the sequel. Which is currently in progress, more on that later. In The Old Ways, Thomas is chosen by the Old Gods to– well, spoilers. But still…

And in the sequel, I broke my biggest rule of “never include a seer or a prophecy”, and included both. The Keeper of Lore, a past-keeping, present-watching, future-seeing, general know-it-all thorn in my side with a massive tome in her lap. And what do you know, she comes complete with her own flavour of mysticism and a prophecy that, thankfully, doesn’t rhyme. I couldn’t get the wording right.

And although I don’t seem that happy with her, I’ve been planning her for ages. I think I’m just bitter because I had to prise apart two chapters and stick hers in the middle, which means I had to go into every subsequent chapter and insert references to her, and memories, and foreshadowing, and… gugh, I’m going to go pass out…

 

Blessed be, my darling pixies.

)O( RK