This week the writing exercise was all about villains. Below is the actual exercise:
There’s Inspector Javert, who believed in enforcing the law at all costs.
Hannibal Lecter liked to eat the census taker’s liver with fava beans and chianti. The Big Bad Wolf ate Grandma, but couldn’t keep her down. The evil-doers in Lord of the Flies are children. In Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, revolutionaries are the villains.
Read Shakespeare for a veritable gallery of villains, one of whom was an ambitious lady who lived in Scotland.
Most of us will write about villains of some kind at some point. Let us have the beginning of a story in which you let us see the villain at work and give us some idea of what prompts those evil deeds.
Exercise: In 400 words or less, write at least the beginning of a story or memoir in which we see a villain at work and learn something of his or her motivation.
And here is my take on it with my new characters who appear in The Wilde Solution:
After Hal left for the grocery store, Cyprian was alone in the flat. She stepped out of bed, threw on one of Hal’s button-down shirts and toured the apartment. At 1,200 square feet, Hal had amassed over the years quite of bit of furniture, rugs, books, and artwork. His taste was eclectic and he had predilection for rugs that included woven Berbers, a large knotted Persian with a kaleidoscope of floral and geometric designs in deep reds, greens, and blues; Afghani prayer rugs in earth tones in all sizes haphazardly covering much of the floor space.
Cyprian wandered down the hallway, and found the second bedroom. She smiled at the room’s centerpiece: An antique mahogany banker’s roll top desk with, she counted, twenty-five special upper drawers. This was most likely where Hal kept his address book. She needed to find one name and confirm with Dorian that they were on the right track.
Cyprian tip-toed into the study, grabbed a tissue from a box of Kleenex that was on shelf above the desk. She opened the center drawer, and found a tray that held some pens, paper clips and small box of staples. Behind the tray were two stacks of yellow legal pads, and a file folder. She pulled the drawer further out, and using the tissue she picked a pen to flip open the folder’s cover. There was nothing, only recent bills, but on top was an unopened envelope, facing down, and it looked like an invitation. The return address was not visible. She was about to turn the envelope with the pen’s tip when she heard Dorian’s ringtone on her Blackberry. Cursing, she left the envelope back in its original position, dropped the pen back in the tray, and slammed the drawer shut.
When she reached her bag and pulled out the phone, she hit the talk button, and said, “Da.”
“You’re alone. Well?” Dorian asked.
“Phase one, entry, is right on schedule,” Cyprian said.
“Have you found anything?”
Cyprian heard Dorian exhale. “That’s it. Make sure he takes you. That’s where you will make contact with Daniel McKenzie. The code is, ‘I just visited Cordoba, Spain.’ And you say, I hear the architecture is amazing.” Two other things–make sure the professor falls deeply and hard for you, and get a dog. Understood?”
“Udachi.” Dorian said, and ended the call.
My villain is a bit subtle, but you’ll see later that she’s puts poor Hal’s boxers in a twist.