I am not very good at listening.
So, as I told you here, my paid editor didn’t like the villain in my current romance novel. She thought the bad guy needed more than just a sense of greed and entitlement.
So, I added another character that was supposed to be the star-crossed villain, doing evil things out of love. I revamped the original villain to be more sympathetic. I did everything the editor said I should.
And it didn’t work.
Because now I like the characters, and the new “villain” developed their own character in the process. Becoming a person that wouldn’t actually commit murder.
*throws hands up*
I know. I hate it when characters stop listening to their author-god and go do their own thing.
But see, here’s the thing. People do bad stuff all the time. People are motivated by greed, and fear, and lust. Not everyone is altruistic.
I’m not even sure everyone is a hero in their own story.
Yeah, I know us writers are fed this a great deal. But I’m not sure it’s true.
Not everyone thinks they’re blameless. Some people know what they’re doing is wrong and do it anyway.
I want this thing, so I’m going to take it. Yeah, it’s wrong. So what? Yeah, it may hurt someone, but I’m going to take what I want.
Don’t believe me?
How many con artists are scamming people out of their money and justifying it to themselves on some higher moral ground? Because there’s totally heroic reasons to call a grandmother pretending to be her granddaughter in a horrible car accident and beg for money in the form of non-traceable gift cards so the hospital will admit her. *that was sarcasm*
Or calling parents and telling them their child was kidnapped and demanding ransom money or they’re be killed.
So, maybe the villain in this story really is just in it for money. Maybe they’re willing to steal an old man’s retirement savings by pretending to be the love his life. Or maybe they’re willing to kill a scrupulous duke to keep gold flowing.
It’s my story. And while this villain may have had a traumatic childhood on the streets of Aerius, that’s not the story.
I don’t care why he values money over someone’s life. He does. And a flip through the news will show he’s not alone.