Today brought another round of development work on Spirit Hackers. Now that I have pictures of what I think my characters look like, I wanted to focus more on my main bad guy. My antagonist is someone who needs a good backstory. I will admit that I have never put so much development work into a story before. My Robert book was just organic and a lot of it written from a personal perspective. All other writing I’ve done was sci-fi or short stories that was just skill alone. As I’ve been saying for a few weeks, Spirit Hackers needs a plan.
My bad guy is of course an integral part of my book and much of the plot would not exist without him. An obvious thing that my wife pointed out last week was that all well-developed bad guys believe they are really doing good. I knew this in the back of my head but I hadn’t remembered it until now. I thought about many movies and books I’ve read and realized that I have to come up with a backstory to my bad guy that not only is his motivation but is also something that, if looked at from the correct perspective, could be seen as something good.
Whew, this isn’t easy!
I spent a few hours this morning working on what his motivation and backstory entails. I put some messed up searches into google to help find examples and seeds of ideas on where to go with this guy. Eventually I found a news story that entailed a tragic accident. This played a key role in my character’s story and I have a big chunk of this guy figured out. I also wrote up a time-line of the backstory for the novel as a whole. By doing this, I was able to further develop the motivation and ‘doing good-ness’ perspective of the antagonist. I also show the morphing of compromises and decisions this person makes that ultimately makes him a bad guy in the story. He’s not a bad person. He’s a torn person. He’s someone who doesn’t know what to do and is so overcome with guilt and anger that he cannot cope. I dare say no more, as I don’t want to give anything else away!
So that was today’s building up of Spirit Hackers. It’s coming along and I think that I’m still on track to start writing this baby again within a few weeks. No story is complete without good characters and I think that all this story development will eventually pay off when I begin writing. In a way, the book is writing itself with all this development. We’ll see how easy I think it is when I actually write this thing! 🙂