It’s been a cold few days up here in Canada. It’s really only been snowing for the past few, and nothing is sticking for long, but it’s sure getting icy. I suppose that I prefer a bit of ice and snow to the arctic winds that were blowing through beforehand. There are few things less pleasant than walking to the gym while you lose feeling in your extremities. On that note, we made it all the way to the gym today only to find that a water main had burst and they were closed. Ice, folks, it’s the way of the future (at least until spring).
In my world of writing there has been a good deal less ice, but far more baddies, as the title suggests. Most stories have an antagonist of some sort—I actually find it a bit difficult to come up with an example of a book that doesn’t have at least one villain. My stories tend to have couple—the horror story has even more than that. One antagonist related issue that I’ve been trying to deal with is that it’s very easy to accidentally make a character a 2-D personification of evil, rather than a complex character in their own right.
In Dreamstate: Dark Eyes, for instance, the Brother is pretty much evil. He’s got the cloak and the creepy and the horrid eyes—the whole shebang. What I’ve been playing with more recently are characters that have a bit more substance and back-story to them. In the first book, I didn’t really have room to explore where the Brother came from because everything was new to Daniel, and no one really seemed to know. There were semi-explanations as the book went on, but nothing concrete—there was a lot of foggy mystery around the whole clergy. This time around I want to pull the curtain back just a tiny bit. There’s a bit more story to the new Brother, but not enough for anything to really be revealed about the clergy as an entity, just a few more pieces of the puzzle.
It took me quite some time to decide if I really wanted to humanize the Brother; I was afraid that I’d garner a bit too much sympathy for the clerics. But as I went on, I was able to prune back things that I told the readers, and what I’ve come up with is a pretty cool villain that is a lot more than black cloaked evil that was the first Brother. If I’d stuck with the simple format from the first book, I feel like I very well could have fallen into a rut and come out with a book too similar to the first. I don’t want to give away too much of what I’ve been working on, but this new Brother is very different from the last, and I hope what I’ve written interacts with him on that same level. As Daniel matures, so will his story and his understanding of exactly what he’s going up against—it’s a process that I’m figuring out as I go.