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Love to Hate
The results of my "Name that Jerk" poll are in, and I had a really tough time picking from all the fantastically awful names you submitted. My favorite jerk-name, suggested by Aniko Laczko, will be unveiled this week in Mnevermind 2: Forget Me Not.
Sometimes I wonder if creating displeasing characters is a specialized skill. When I think of certain series or films, it's often the antagonist who springs to mind for me as someone I love to hate. There's a squirmy feeling of "Ugh! How will they mess things up for the good guys this time?" that really propels a story forward for me.
When I think about Back to the Future, for instance, the first character that springs to mind is Biff and his bullying swagger. In Deadwood, I'm much more intrigued with badass pimp saloon owner Al Swearengen than I am with the good guys.
There needs to be something more to the antagonists than sheer horridness, though. A bit of wiggle room. Maybe they're nice once in a great while. Or charismatic. Or simply unavoidable. After all, the only series I've written where a problem could be solved by shooting someone in the throat is Channeling Morpheus...and even that only happens when there's no way around it!
I've also got a fondness for characters who could swing either way in terms of helping or hindering the heroes. In the old Dragonlance series (did any of you read that?) the wizard Raistlin Majere might save the day or stab you in the back. And he'd have no qualms about it either way. I like to think Dr. Jim in Channeling Morpheus and Con Dreyfuss in PsyCop bring at least a little bit of this delicious ambiguity to the table.
While the premise of the Mnevermind trilogy might seem far-out, my thrust for the series is to keep the plot feeling very intimate and real. The focus is not so much on technology as it is the relationship of the main character to his family and his attempts at keeping his small business afloat. I think for this reason, the intimacy of the plot, the bad guys felt pretty damn deplorable. My early readers did a lot of squirming and ranting.
Hopefully you'll enjoy meeting some despicable Mnevermind characters you love to hate!
Love (and only love),
The following readers won a signed bookmark or JCP ebook of their choice just for opening their newsletters! YAY!
Karen from Hong Kong for opening the Text to Speech snippet
Dorian for opening the Mnevermind II cover reveal
Laurel for opening the Five of Five coupon
breena31 for opening the Forget Me Not preview
I have contacted the winners directly and let them know.
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