Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Bad boys, bad boys
Fast forward to present times, and it isn't easy to identify a bad guy. Bad guys in the news span the range of a teacher's child, hoodlums, politicians, tax authorities, insurance companies, special interest groups, corporate raiders, televangelists, and more.
I struggle with these questions as I write books set in contemporary times. Human nature is universal, as is human behavior. Debra Dixon's book on Goal, Motivation, and Conflict comes in handy to help writers steer through characterization.
MOTIVATION - bad guys want what they want for reasons clear to them, and they will cross lines of respectable behavior to get what they want.
CONFLICT - baddies try to attain something that isn't theirs by any means possible. They will use words, weapons, intimidation, legal maneuvering, bioterrorism, and more.
On television, bad guys are often bikers, scowling lawyers, gangsters, Vikings, rival gangs, Olympic athletes, vampires, aliens, or hulking muscle men, to name a few sterotypes. But writers must reflect the times in which we write.
My question for you: what do you look for in a bad guy? Do you enjoy reading about someone who appears "normal" but does heinous things? Or does your taste run more to and outsider vs an insider conflict?