Villains can be tricky bastards to get write right.
The baddie in The Misguided Confession is a proper evil git. Ezekiel Harding hides his vicious malice under the guise of a priest’s cassock. He manages to practically froth at the mouth while smiling charmingly enough to ensnare those around him.
My greatest difficulty in creating Ezekiel came from not wanting to turn him into either a caricature or a horror movie style psychopath. I wanted to build a character who readers could believe existed in the real world.
In writing Ezekiel, I attempted to portray a man who believed in his goals with absolute certainty. A true zealot. One who is fighting for what he feels in his soul in the right path for himself—and for the church and the world in general.
I thought quite a bit about my favourite villains in film and books while I was writing. The most terrifying ones are the people who fly under the radar. You never see them coming until it’s too late.
In The Misguided Confession, I alternated the perspectives of chapters between Elaine, our intrepid heroine, and Ezekiel. It seemed critical to give an insight into the simmering madness within the priest. At times, it reminded me of that quote about not peering into an abyss.
Peering into the soul of a man like Ezekiel made me want to take a shower at times—several times in fact.
How about you? What makes the best/worst villains to you? If you’re a writer, what do you struggle with when creating a baddie?