A timely post on the creation of villains. I’m re-publishing this because villains are intrinsic to my writing and I love writing them.
I’m a fiction writer. Till this point in my life, I have written fantasy based on myth and legend. Two years ago however, I decided to write a historical fiction based around the legendary Sir Guy of Gisborne from the Robin Hood saga. Those who know of the book and who are followers of this blog will know it derived in part from watching the BBC’s Robin Hood series.
What is a villain?
If one looks up #904 ‘villain’ in Roget’s Thesaurus, it will list a plethora of alternate names ranging from ‘malefactor’ through ‘snake in the grass’ and ‘rogue’ to ‘knave’ and ‘cutthroat’ and many more besides.The word derives from the 1300’s from the term villein from the Anglo-French http://bit.ly/yPB6uF No doubt the upheavals of the peasantry during the Middle ages created a far more sinister meaning to the word.
Gisborne: Book of Pawns
The book that has dominated my life for the last eighteen months has finally been published as en e-book with the print version following in May. To say that I have enjoyed writing it is a given – Guy and Ysabel have become very close friends. But as with any book I write, whilst I have a loose plot outline in my head, I always love seeing where the characters will take me. At its inception there was absolutely no chance that there would be a second volume. But a chance writing of a tiny short-story for a miniature book laid a whole new plot in my head. And thus volume Two will be available in early 2013. This current e-book will be available at Amazon.co.uk within the week in an enhanced form with colour plates throughout: designed for the new colour e-readers. It will be available for all other e-readers (eg: Kobo, i-pad, Nook etc) in the next week.
‘The storytelling talent is sharp, pulling the reader on the journey and bringing on the unpredictable as the story twists and turns with neither a bore nor a snore.’ John Hudspith
Available as an e-book first week of March – a debut historical fiction by Australian fantasy author
Writing the last part of Gisborne, I’m second guessing myself constantly. Is my language anachronistic, are my facts solid, how much variation from the accepted history am I allowed?
Recently I was re-reading the dates of Richard 1st’s reign and found that he was crowned in September of 1189. So… the beginning of autumn. That now requires me to go right through the whole novel to change the season in which Ysabel travels through France and England with Gisborne from autumn to summer.
That doesn’t just involve changes to the settings (eg colour of leaves on trees) but the kind of foods available, the clothes one might wear, journeys on the high seas, how thick a horse’s coat is, what flowers might be blooming, the presence of certain seasonal ailments and so on. In addition, I am now having to do a lot of counting of days and months so that the story ends at just the right point of factual history.
For me, so new to this venture, I read and re-read what I have written. Anything I am remotely unsure of I will change to red type so that I can re-read my research and insert the correct fact in the next edit. Even so, I am aware the true historical fictionistas, those whose reading and knowledge is exceptional, will find plenty to dispute and argue about.
Blondel de Nesle, Richard’s troubadour, appears in this novel and I can find no account of his physical attributes. Because he is a favourite of the king, and because Richard himself is known to have been golden and attractive and potentially bi-sexual, I am taking a great liberty and making Blondel to be lithely good-looking, bordering on the feminine. I am waiting for the trip-up, I can tell you.
Writing hist.fict is wonderful satisfying but it’s also a terrifying prospect releasing a historical fiction novel to a reading public that may know as much as, if not more than you. So much is known, so much must be respected. In many ways I’m glad my main character is essentially a character of legend as that gives me room to play, but with others like Richard the Lionheart, I am hamstrung by history and can deviate little from what is known.
I’m just wondering what other little gems I shall find on tomorrow’s read.
The Twilight Saga has just been read. Yes, I know I’m very late to the party but I seemed to subconsciously want the hype to go away so that I could draw my own conclusions.
My opinion of the books is of little matter to anyone but myself. But what I will say is how much I preferred the other male protagonist, Jacob Black, the Quileute werewolf. This prompted me to think on Finnian of the Færan, the male protagonist in A Thousand Glass Flowers and I felt the need to compare him with Edward Cullen (blasphemy) and with Jacob Black (secondary blasphemy).
In July of last year, I interviewed Finnian, the male protagonist from A Thousand Glass Flowers. (the full interview is here)
As I mentioned in that interview, I never made a secret of the fact that Finnian was inspired by Richard Armitage in a number of his ‘dark’ roles.