Tuesday, March 29, 2011

To Villian or Not To Villian...

     ...That is the question! It's not a question of having a villian. Every story needs a villian of some sort, be it another person, mother nature, or maybe the protagonist's own mind. Even a book about overcoming an adversity such as a debilitating disease has a villian - the disease!
     The question today is, should a novel include scenes in the villian's point of view. Specifically, I'm referring to romantic suspense. Some editors prefer manuscripts with only the hero and heroine's point of views. But what about you, as a reader? Do scenes written in the villian's point of view add to the suspense? Or do they give away too many clues?
     In the evolution of She's Mine, I included some scenes in the villian's point of view. Adam, the villian, is a creepy guy. He has a warped view of the world and his place in it. I infused his scenes with all the twisted menace a villian deserves. Adam has set his sights on Caitlin, the heroine, and he's determined to have her no matter what it takes. Here's a sample:
     Adam sat at the edge of the woods, watching. Caitlin thought she was clever, moving earlier than planned. Foolish woman. It didn’t matter when she came back to Naultag, because he’d known all along that she would.
     It irritated him to be stuck here in hiding while she struggled to carry her luggage into the house. He’d do that for her, and so much more. Soon she’d understand his love and she’d come to love him, too.
     He’d failed to convince her that they were meant to be together. If they hadn’t been interrupted he’d have had her. Now she hated the man he’d been that night. She was afraid.
     He could use her fear. 
     He smiled and turned his back, strolling down the woodland path to his parked car. Play his cards right and it shouldn’t take long to make her see that he was her true love.
     “You’re mine, Caitlin.”
      Let me know your opinion. Do you like romantic suspense novels to include scenes in the villian's point of view? Do these scenes give away too much or muddy the waters more (making it harder to figure out who the bad guy is)?

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  1. I do enjoy getting into the villian's head. I also like more than one POV in a scene if the author is skilled at it, like Nora Roberts.

  2. Thanks for stopping in to comment, Dana. That's interesting about the multiple POV per scene. Handled well (like Nora Roberts), I don't mind it either.

  3. (response from my FB page):
    Barbara Early says: I never thought I did, but then one of my crit partners did it in his WIP, and it floored me how much complexity and tension it added. Instead of just a bad guy, I really got to know him and his motivations. Now, he did it early on, long before the villain interacted with the protag, and it built suspense as I wondered when and how they would cross purposes. Nice post.

  4. (another response from my FB page)
    Jennifer L Everhard says: I do like it. At first, when I read your question, I thought immediately, no i hate that. But the more I really thought about it, I do like it. It adds to the suspensefulness (is that a word, haha) and there have been occasions where books I've read have left too many unanswered questions and that was worse. Too much information is better than not enough!

  5. I prefer that they don't offer the villains' point of view unless it's a book that features everyone's point of view (or at least the main characters). However, I think there are definitely times when it helps raise suspense and mystique! :)

    deeg131 at gmail dot com

  6. Thanks for stopping in & commenting, Dee. I'm leaning toward agreeing with you. If it's a book with multiple points of view - like maybe a suspense thriller as opposed to romantic suspense - it can raise the emotional level. For romantic suspense, I think not knowing what the villian is thinking almost makes him (or her) scarier. You know there's a "bad guy" but you just don't know when he/she is going to jumpo out and say "boo"!