Sometimes you have to get into the "Bad Guy’s" head.

We authors are an eclectic bunch; we have to be. How else could we design the multitude of characters needed to create a work of fiction?

In every story there must be a protagonist, most know this. But without an archenemy, be it a person, a character flaw, or a psychosis, where would the conflict stem?

If we as writers cannot imagine—get into the heads of—different emotional aspects of characters, how could ALL the characters be believable? It's easy to design a protagonist after yourself or even someone you know. But how do you create a character whose mind you never really want to be a part of in the first place?

Research is one way, tons of it. But you also have to possess the ability to identify with the psyche of someone you'd rather not understand. You have to put yourself in their shoes, recognize they are people. They may be the "bad guys," but they typically have families, go to work, and play just like the rest of us.

A truly believable character must have some normal human characteristics, or he or she won't be believable -- yes, I like a woman to be the "bad guy" sometimes.

Every time I jump into the mind of my so-called "bad guys," my beta readers cheer. They love them. Why? Because the characters are realistic. Yes, they may be the "bad guys," but they still live, work, and socialize in the real world. Oftentimes, they are our co-workers, next door neighbors, friends, or heaven forbid, our relatives.

Want to see how I blend the good and the bad with all my characters, as they all have a little of both?  Click one of the links below for a little more about what I write. My stories are available in print and eBook formats at your favorite retailer. I'll even give you a free book just for stopping by. From there, all my stories are priced "less than a latte" each so you can afford to READ UP and enjoy!

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  1. This has to be one of my biggest complaints with thrillers: villains that simply aren't believable. One thing that helped me a long time ago is to understand that few people act from a desire to commit evil. Most of the evil in the world comes from people who have the best of intentions, however warped they may be.

  2. Thanks for the comment, Stephen!

    I believe you are correct about most appalling actions happening before someone even comprehends they are out of control. Alcohol, I believe, is the precursor to most violent acts in the United States. One of the reasons I started my story off with the main character, a police detective, realizing: “Paramedics would confirm it was safe before entering the house of a gunshot victim, domestic disturbances were the most perilous of all police calls. Scorned lovers were notorious for turning the gun on others and then themselves after realizing they murdered their loved ones in a moment of distraught passion.”

    I believe the majority of crime, however, is by self-serving individuals? People who believe they are entitled something another possesses.

    Probably one of the main themes in all my stories, whether it be a person or monetary item, most of my “bad guys” simply want what they don’t have, and are willing to do anything to get it, even murder.

    How’s that for Thriller Thursday?

  3. Yes, 'bad guys' are people too, but what really makes them bad? Are they bad because they are out to harm others on purpose? Or are they 'bad' in respects to prohibiting the protagonist of the story from reaching their goal? Just because they hinder the protagonist doesn't mean that they'll do the same to someone else. The fun part in creating the bad guy is finding that balance, what lead them to the point of being 'bad', because everyone is not born experiences tend to taint us as we grow. Darth Vader had redeemable qualities no one was aware of until the end (or the first three movies were made, lol) Once you got to know what motivated the person behind the mask, you actually sympathized with him, understood him, and despite the evil things he began to do...actually cheered him on. Now THAT is great writing!