Please welcome MV Freeman, bestselling author with a penchant for anti-heroes and determined heroines. We share a common interest with stories that search for light in the dark, and it’s an honor to have her guest blogging this week.
The Draw of the Bad Guy.
Thank you D.T. for letting me visit your blog!
I am a cross-genre writer. I write Urban Fantasy with a high dose of romance. I’m an action adventure person with a love of morally conflicted characters which means:
Yes, I tend to like the bad guy.
Let me clarify—I enjoy the bad guy in movies and books—not in real life. Reality is filled with bad, we know it, it’s in the news; watch it every day with our interactions. Which is why I’ll stick to fiction—perfect place to explore this attraction, because in truth I’d run the other way!
But–what is it about the bad guys many of us find so utterly fascinating? Perhaps it’s their determination to succeed– to risk everything they have to obtain a goal? Maybe it’s because they will do anything to get the job done? Or perhaps it’s their deep wound that has driven them to this point?
Some of it and all of it….
Bad guys intrigue us because they will do anything. They are complex and really believe in what they are doing –including the end justifying the means (terrible cliché, I know). It fits them. So, a city is taken out—all those deaths are for a greater cause! Right? (Maybe not.)
Let’s look at two–
Loki from the Thor movies; played by Tom Hiddleston.
What draws you to him besides his clever dialogue and long hair? It’s his hurt. His feeling of being alone—but it’s more. He’s funny, intelligent, and tricky. (Plus that voice!) He’s always one step ahead, and is willing to do what it takes. He wants power. ALL of it. Because he really thinks he can do a better job. So, he’s a bit of dictator—what’s not to love? His flaw—you can’t trust him. One bit. For every little thing he does for you, he betrays five times over. He’s a dysfunction walking on two legs—but he intrigues everyone. It’s because of his complexity and the hope he can be redeemed (and the secret feeling we are the ones who can do this—don’t shake your head, you know you have…or at least some of you have…) that keeps us cheering for him.
Sheriff of Nottingham; Robin Hood movie, played by Alan Rickman
If you have not seen this movie, than you must—just for him. He is also misunderstood, has a strange relationship with a terribly ugly witch who totally leads him down the wrong path. He wants to be loved and happy (we all do)—and get his own way; so he overtaxes the people and pursues Maid Marian. He cancels Christmas at one point… He is adorable—in a sadistic, murderous, and desperate way. He didn’t *mean* to become evil; it just happened. He needed to be vanquished and he is—but oh there is a bit of sadness when it happens….
This combination of repulsion and attraction I find fascinating as a reader and writer. I love it when I find a story and I end up cheering for one person who I shouldn’t be. One writer who does this successfully is Stacia Kane in her Chess Putnam Urban Fantasy series. She takes a drug-addicted woman who does some not so great things and makes her a heroine you want to cheer for—you want to see her win. Why? Because she relates her to all of us and the struggles we face. She shows the terrible situations she’s been in and she doesn’t make it right. It’s wrong and we know it. How effective is that? Very.
What is your take? Do you prefer the squeaky clean good guys? Or a complex bad guy? Who would you pick and why? I’d love to know.
Thanks again D.T. for letting me stop by.
Where you can find me:
AUTHOR BIO: M.V. Freeman is a native of Minnesota, but calls North Alabama her home. By day her mind is filled with medical jargon at the local health clinic, but at night she finds herself exploring alternate worlds within our own. Heavily influenced by Slavic languages and culture, you will find she weaves these elements into her stories.
She is represented by The Aponte Literary Agency. Her award-winning and best-selling debut novel INCANDESCENT is the first in a series. She is currently working on the third book while plotting others. When she is not writing, she’s reading, cooking, throwing around kettle bells, or making coffee