I do enjoy writing a good villain. Not all of my books have one. Sometimes, the only obstacles to the hero and heroine come from within, or from their life circumstances. Overcoming those can be hard and the journey can be satisfying, but for a true hiss-boo moment, with rotten tomatoes flying from the audience and ladies fainting in the gallery, we need a moustache-twirling, hand-rubbing, snickering, wicked villain.
So what does your WIP hold? Is your antagonistic force a person, and is that person a villain? Share an excerpt that shows him or her in all their dreadful glory! (And if you don’t have a villain, share your antagonist anyway.)
Here are two of my villains, from A Raging Madness. Ella is escaping from the window of her bed chamber, and stops at the bottom of the climb for a rest.
Inside, a very long way away on the other side of the gentle fog that embraced her, two people were talking. Constance and Edwin. It did not matter. They were silly people, anyway. Gervais had not admired his older half-brother; a matter in which he and Ella were in rare accord. The two men shared a mother, but little of that kind, gentle woman showed in either son: the one a bullying, often violent rake; the other a sanctimonious Puritan—but another bully for all that. Not as much so as his wife.
The bully was bullied. Ella suppressed her giggle. Sssshhh. Mustn’t make a sound. She was running away. Soon. First she would have a little sleep.
But as she closed her eyes, her own name caught her attention. Constance and Edwin were talking about her? She forced herself to concentrate, to listen.
“No, Mrs Braxton. Ella will not convince them she is sane. I have chosen with care, I tell you. I visited six asylums before this one, and this is perfect for our purposes. The doctor in charge has promised to keep her dosed, and even if he does not, the place itself will drive her insane. If you saw it, heard the noise… Yes, my dear, I can assure you, our plans are sound.”
Constance answered, the whine in her voice grating against Ella’s eardrums. “But what if you are wrong, Edwin? If she convinces someone in authority that she is sane, prison will be the least…”
“No, my dove. Not at all. No one at the asylum will listen to her ravings, and if they did, what of it? Who will they tell? Even in the worse case, all we need do is say her mind was turned after mother’s death, and how glad we are that she is well again.”
“I do not know.” The frown was heavy in Constance’s voice. “But we cannot keep her here. I trust Kingsford, but the other servants may start to murmur. It will drive her insane, you say?”
“It will. I guarantee it. I hesitate to mention it, Mrs Braxton, it not being a topic for a lady’s delicate ears…”
“Spit it out, Edwin. What?”
“My own treasure, I am given to understand that the attendants avail themselves of the, er, charms of the patients, and even do a, er, trade with the nearby town. Not, of course, with the approval of the medical staff. No, of course. That would be most unprofessional. But it is most enterprising of them, and serves our purposes rather well, dear sister being a comely woman.”
Ella puzzled this out. Surely Edwin did not mean that the attendants forced the women, and prostituted them?
“Ah. Very good,” Constance said. “The woman is horribly resilient. Any decent gentlewoman would have succumbed to madness long since with all your brother put her through, and what has happened since. But surely even she is not coarse enough to withstand multiple rapes.”
“The doctor will be here tomorrow,” Edwin said, with enormous satisfaction. “And she will be safely tucked away where she can do no harm.”
Their voices faded as they moved away, clearly leaving the room since the window went dark.