Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Emergence of a Villain

Yvonne is a villain in Academy 7.

If you’ve read the book, you’re thinking. Duh. That’s like, obvious, from her first appearance.

Not so much.

You see, here’s the problem with villains. They lie.

Yvonne introduced herself as a main character—she and Paul both, actually. But Yvonne was more persistent. At the time, I must have been reading the Circle of Magic books by Tamora Pierce because I remember thinking it was OK to have four main characters.

Dane didn’t think so. Aerin didn’t either, but she was too polite to say so. Yvonne very clearly stated that she was of vital importance.

Never listen to the villain.

But how do you know not to listen to him or her when you don’t know he or she is the villain? Ah, the conundrum.

About halfway through the book, Aerin and Dane headed off for Chivalry. And Yvonne made her big move—trying to drag the whole story off on some random tangent of her own. It didn’t belong, had no relevance, and was totally unnecessary.

So I cut it.

She pouted. She sulked. And she shut up. Disappeared completely from the rest of the first draft.

Which was a great thing. I got to the end of the book, realized I’d totally scrapped her, and thought. Yay! I get to cut her.

Again, not so much.

I did my best. I reclaimed all the action she’d stolen from Dane in the center of the book (no wonder he didn’t like her). In fact, working one’s way backward through the book, I cut anything and everything she did. Until Aerin’s arrival.

Where Yvonne refused to leave. Absolutely refused to go.


OK, so now what? Why won’t she leave? I don’t like her. Dane doesn’t like her.

"I don’t like her either," Aerin whispers.

Duh! Yvonne is the villain!


  1. *LOVE* this. Ah, the things we learn little by little with each step in the drafting process. :)

  2. LOL. Villains and I do not get along. My current book doesn't have any straight total villains in it. I'm kind of liking this. And hoping it isn't because I just haven't figured out who is lying to me!