Tasty Villains

My Goal:

I want to create characters that haunt your imagination, seduce your mind, and capture your heart piece by piece until you, the reader, scream, “Uncle,” and let them into your world. Is that too much to ask? I’ve always been drawn to character driven plots, from Chaucer’s Cantebury Tales to Dicken’s  Bleak House…to J.R. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Character’s rule in my imagination, and I work hard to create them in my work.

Easier said than done. There is an elusive art to creating a character that is both powerful and authentic. Some defining quirks are good, too many are bad, and it’s the balance that I am struggling with. I want my characters to be interesting, but real – not caricatures. I find myself editing my “guys” a lot.

Here is the introduction to my villain in the one of WIPs (work in progress). See what you think.

Enter the Villain:

“A warning alarm went off somewhere deep inside her. He was over six feet, in his late thirties and dangerously handsome. What was a man looking like him doing in her parking lot?…

Curly, jet black hair brushed his wide shoulders. A five o’clock shadow darkened his face giving him a sexy morning-after look. He had a square movie star chin. His faded blue jeans hung low on his hips. His black leather jacket looked soft…

And he was checking her out. Second alarm. She could feel his eyes, hidden behind dark, aviator sunglasses, sliding over every inch of her body. There was no doubt about it: she was being stripped. Watching his sexy smile slowly widen as he took her in made her feel warm in all the right places. She blushed. He was a potent, virile man who knew how to mess with her hormones.

…“Could I have a word with you?” His voice was low and held a richness that reminded her of aged Scotch.

… He was all-alpha male, oozing masculinity and dripping testosterone. Under different circumstances, she’d have liked meeting him. But not now. Not now.”

What do you think? Character or caricature? Any feedback would be most welcome.

Author: Jo-Ann Carson

About Jo-Ann Carson Where magic happens … Reports of Jo-Ann Carson’s death on a Gulf Island are greatly exaggerated or, at the very least, premature. The eclectic crew of ghosts that haunt her head spill onto the page in two series: The Gambling Ghosts and The Ghost & Abby Mysteries. A Viking with existential issues, a broken hearted Highlander, a Casanova man-witch and a Pirate with a secret are just a few of the males her strong heroines encounter in tales of fantasy, adventure and romance. A firm believer in the magic of our everyday lives, Jo-Ann loves watching sunrises, walking beaches near her home in the Pacific Northwest and reading by the fire. You can visit her on social media: Website * Blog * Twitter * Facebook

18 thoughts on “Tasty Villains”

  1. I think I knew him! 😉

    I also liked the ‘warm in all the right places’ phrase, and ‘mess with her hormones’ is perhaps not so romantic sounding but fresh and ever so accurate.

    I would like to see his eyes, but guess I’ll have to read further…

    Great job!


  2. I liked the characterization, but I’m a little wary of stories that begin with a woman and a man she’s both attracted to and afraid of. First, because in reality, it’s much more complicated than it ever is in fiction — because if you’re afraid of a man, there’s probably a good reason. Relationships built on the attraction of fear are, in my experience, usually abusive ones. Second, because it’s too cliched. Third, because if I came home and found an alpha-male waiting for me who oozes testosterone, my alarm bells would be telling ME to run, no matter how attractive he is.

    Having said that, if he turns out to be a good guy, this is a good beginning. There is good tension. However, if he is, in fact, the villain, then for me, this is the wrong way to start. Later, when she realizes he’s the bad guy and they go through whatever plot you have in mind — when it is all over, no matter how it turns out, she will have guilt and drama because on the initial meeting she felt attracted to this man who (i’m guessing) royally messes with her life.

    I, too, focus on characterization, but as you can see, I’m much more in the head of characters; concerned about their psychological motivations, what drives them, what they’re running to or from, what they’re trying to hide, etc.


    1. Veronika
      Thanks for stopping by.
      I agree the scary hero gets over done but this guy is the villain and she needs to listen to her fear. I hope I haven’t made him more interesting than the hero and can pull it off. I’ll keep working at it.
      Best Wishes


  3. Jo-Ann, I thought I was reading about a hero-type. But, boy do I have a picture of the guy. Good job there. There are all kinds of studies showing that most crooks, people in jail, tend to not measure up on the handsome scale. Probably an over generlization, but bad guys don’t tend to be handsome, so it makes me wonder what happened to this guy (if he really is the villian) to go bad. I’m also left wondering at the end, what’s going on that this isn’t a good time for the heroine and this guy to get together. They are clearly connecting at the hormonal level. 🙂 While he may have been checking her out. She was doing her bit of cataloguing, too. All together intriguing.


    1. Hi Marsha
      Villains fascinate me. I had no idea that studies indicate most aren’t handsome. Thanks for the tip. The intetesting things you learn when you become a writer. I wonder if researchers were to focus on con men if the results would be different. Hmmm Something for me to think about and as you suggested make work in my story.
      Thanks for the feedback.


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