This week I'm the guest blogger on the Columbia II Writers Workshop blogspot, which features the work of member writers. "A Good Villain" is about putting a sinner instead of a hero in the spotlight as protagonist.
How can a reader be charmed by a character who does bad things? Imperfection is one thing, but stupidity is something else. We can't expect a reader to find a hairbrained character endearing. The humanity in each of us, regardless of how flawed we are, is a source for tugging at a reader's sympathy.
On the other hand, we can ignore sympathy and work on the reader's curiosity. What will our bad guy/gal do next? And how bad will it be? When I was reading Palace Walk by Naguib Mafouz, I could hardly wait from chapter to chapter to find out how much I could dislike the protagonist as-Sayyid Ahmad. It was a fascinating trip into my own emotional capacity for loathing somebody.
The Columbia II Writers Workshop, which publishes weekly, is organized by the chapter's moderator Ginny Padgett with help from a review committee headed by Kasie Whitener and Mike Long. My thanks to them for supporting us local writers.