Villainous V

Standard

skull icecream colorized yellow pinkYou can’t have a story without conflict. I mean, I guess you could, but I’m not sure how far it would go or how interesting it would be. Let’s try it:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the chest freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out. Jane paid for the ice cream cone, got in her car, and drove home.

Whew. I don’t know about you, but that had me on the edge of my seat. So how do you get conflict?

Add a villain:

Jane went to the store. Jane dug an ice cream cone out of the deepest corner of the freezer, loosening the ice around it to pry it out.

“How dare you disturb my frozen rest!” the ice cream cone bellowed, shooting a barrage of sprinkles at Jane. She felt herself growing cold. “I curse you, I curse you, Jane Storegoer, and all of your descendants. My expiration date, long since past, earned me eternal freezitude, and you have defrosted it.”

Jane tried to loosen her grip on the cone, but like a tongue on a cold fence pole, her hand stayed put. The shelves around her wavered and dissolved into a crystal white, extending far beyond her sight above her. The ice cream cone grew and grew until it towered, glaring down at her with its peanut eyes. Walled in on all sides, ice clumped like boulders along the vertical expanse, she felt a smooth surface beneath her feet. It gave slightly.

“Where are we?” she said. She bent, brushing the fallen ice beneath her shoes. Was that…an Amy’s frozen Breakfast Scramble box? “Is this the freezer? Am I in the freezer?”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” laughed the ice cream cone evilly.

“But if I’m in the freezer, how can you curse my descendants? I don’t have any, unless you count my parakeet. You wouldn’t count a parakeet, would you? I think there’s something wrong with this plan here.”

“Mwaahhh haaaa haaa,” said the ice cream cone again, mainly for emphasis.

***

So I think we can all agree I’m having a weird morning. That aside, without an antagonist, your protagonist has nothing to do. Enter the villain. In this case, an ice cream cone. And here’s the thing about villains: they need to have their own agendas.

Villains need to be as complex as heroes. They need to have a why; that they’re just plain evil is as unsatisfying in fiction as it is in life. Our ice cream cone just wants to rest.

Or does it?

Big news! Aunty Ida’s Full-Service Mental Institution (by Invitation Only) is $0.99 for a limited time!

In or near Chicago? Check out our sketch comedy revue, “Me Inside Me Presents: Neurotrash.” Saturdays at 10 pm, May 7, 14, 21 & 28. Click here for tickets.

Check out my other full-length novels,  Her Cousin Much Removed,  The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management and Aunty Ida’s Holey Amazing Sleeping Preparation (Not Doctor Recommended) which is now available!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter. And download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

 

 

 

Advertisements

40 thoughts on “Villainous V

  1. My husband was shocked when, at the end of binge-watching all of Breaking Bad, I still rooted for Walter White. I was shocked that he was shocked! Weren’t we all supposed to root for him? He wasn’t the villain, was he?

    • Wasn’t he? It was the strangest feeling, because I despised Walter by the end, and yet I wanted him to succeed, but I think that was for other characters.

      He was pretty despicable by the end. Hmm. I think your husband should be cautious if you ever decide to buy a car wash.

      • He said he was a villain too. And a friend of my said, “He should’ve gotten worse.” But I can’t help it. I rooted for him.

      • Worse?! Is that possible?

        Breaking Bad is some of the best writing that has been on television. The character development was genius, and the fact that people were still with Walter to the end is a testament to that.

  2. Masked Mom

    I can say for certain that ice cream has been my arch-nemesis on many an occasion–just never to quite this degree. 🙂 Definitely a good point on villains needing to be fully developed characters also.

    • Yes, ice cream really goes for us from time to time 🙂

      Thanks. If you think about it, the books and shows that are most engaging and most compelling always give us a hint of the humanity in a villain. Or the motivation, if there’s no humanity left.

    • I think it’s safe as long as you go for the freshest ice cream. And always check your expiration dates.

      It’s the ones way at the back or the bottom, those are the ones to watch.

  3. wildchild47

    Ha! This has me laughing at the absurdity of the ice cream cone coming to life! But then, who’s to say it didn’t happen? Or couldn’t happen? Or that isn’t happening right in this moment? I feel a strong chill wafting across the floor.

    Actually, a few things …. great post – definitely a fun way to explore the idea of “villain” – and lest we forget, sometimes villains aren’t even human – no not ice cream cones, but demons (not the fantasy sci-fi genre type) too. So as long as their is some form of compelling conflict, then it’s good.

    And thanks, this just reminded me I have some tiramisu Gelato calling to me from the freezer 🙂

    • Are you sure reminding you of the ice cream in your freezer is worth a thanks?!!

      Thanks! Yes, there are plenty of non-human villains, and usually that serves to form their motivation. Not quite sure about it in this case, though, why an evil ice cream cone, I’m just not sure. Some of my weird ideas just…happen.

      But I’m so glad that it made you laugh, as it made me laugh, so apparently we are the same kind of strange, and that’s always awesome.

      • wildchild47

        I suspect that we probably do share some line of the same kind of strange 😉

        Weird is wonderful XD

        oh well, I’ll take my chances with the freezer – at worst, all I could suffer is a burn 😉

        Oh … evil ice cream cone? Disenfranchised cow, which led to sour milk that was diluted in the batch?

      • That is a very intriguing origin story! I probably wouldn’t find out until the ice cream cone told me, my characters make the whole thing up as we go along 🙂

        I couldn’t agree more, weird is absolutely wonderful!

  4. Oh, the villains! I’m a big fan of villains because they make everything so much more tense. I like to write my villains so they could star in their own novel. Great post!

  5. Your post reminds me of a John LeCarre (LOVE him) line where he says, The cat sat on a mat is not a story. The cat sat on the dog’s mat … ah, now we have a story.

    That’s a paraphrase, I’m sure he said it more clever than I just did. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    • Thanks so much! Yes, if you are ever having trouble with your plot, look at your villain and his/her motivation.

      (And I’m also kinda curious as to what happens next. This ice cream story might not yet have melted).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s