How I wrote the Villain in The Misguided Confession.

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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?

Creating a Baddie

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When I think of villains, three kinds immediately spring to my mind, all of which were brilliantly depicted in the Harry Potter series.  You have the exaggerated pure evil of Lord Voldemort, the shiny veneer of a conniving man like Lucius Malfoy, and of course the relatively normal villainy of a weak-willed man like Peter Pettigrew.  There are dozens more, of course, but it’s late Sunday evening when I’m writing this and I have a migraine.  Maybe migraines can be my fourth kind of evil?

I got to thinking about villains because I’m working on Misguided Confession, a story which features Elaine Gibbs from the Blackbird series, along with a  very interesting baddie named Ezekiel.  He’s a combination of shiny seductive and extraordinarily ordinary.   You don’t look at him immediately and think bad guy, until he opens his mouth.

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He’s a priest with an over-inflated sense of his own importance.  He believes in his mission with a dangerous zealot-like intensity.  He manages to seem absolutely charming, genuine and caring while being none of those things.

If Ezekiel had a super power, it would be manipulation. He manages to pull people into his group who would follow him into death.  It’s disturbing.

The best villains, I think, feel real.  I can imagine Ezekiel walking the streets of London.  Men (and women) like him do exist in the world.  History is full of them.  It’s what makes him even creepier.

So what makes a good villain to you?