Monday, August 15, 2011

DEVELOPING EVIL...CHARACTERS by Linda S. Glaz

Later that evening, with the family fed and occupied elsewhere, she went into the bedroom and sat down. The comforter, warm and soft against her legs, offered a place to open up, to become Laura again. But it seemed hiding was more difficult than before, and she rubbed her temples to relieve the anxiety. The first few weeks of a new identity always sapped her energy. She had so much to remember, and the act could be brutal. As she got older and the strain more evident, she worried of irreparable mistakes. Small stress lines had crept in and sent deep creases across her brow. And the weight she’d lost.

For the last few years they’d plotted and planned and worked well together. Nothing stood in the way of their plans, plans so close to coming to fruition. But this year, a few things had gone awry: the wrong child, the wrong town, maybe even the wrong identities. Tonight, she needed more than just a nice warm bubble bath to steer the panic away.

Taut muscles banding her forehead, she sidestepped into the past, and as usual when under pressure, her thoughts rested on Mother. Her breath hitched and jammed in her throat.

Standing up promptly and brushing the horrific memories from her mind, she smoothed the covers on the king-size bed. Why waste energy on things that couldn’t be changed? There was enough in the present to keep her occupied.

She stood perfectly still. Stared. Created a short video in her mind that brought the expected relief.

And the tightness was gone. It always worked. All she ever had to do to relieve the stress was to envision all of them strewn about, lifeless; mothers and daughters scattered here and there. How she hated mothers and their daughters.

A twisted grin started deep inside her until she sensed it creep over her entire face like a mask. “My, my, Hannah Housewife.” She spoke to the silence, letting her smile change her character. “Let’s go bake some nice warm cookies for your hubby and little girl.”



How do you create creepy, evil characters? What do you draw on? Visit my blog for another sample into the dark world of evil characters. http://lindaglaz.blogspot.com/

15 comments:

Patty Wysong said...

Okay, those last two paragraphs were just.. *shiver* NOT a nice person there!

Diana said...

Very good development here. I always wonder how a terrorist manages to go undercover for many years, marry and work and seemingly seem normal. You gave me a hint here how it might be. Very scarey. They walk amongst us. Wolves in sheep's clothing.
Shiver is right Patty!

Terry Burns said...

Good post, Linda. Good point, Diana. You know one of the most common things said about serial killers is "He lived right next to me and seemed like such a nice man."

Melissa K Norris said...

Wow, the last two paragraphs were truly chilling. And even though she was evil, I wanted to continue reading to find out what had shaped her into this. Excellent writing.

Kathryn Elliott said...

Geez, Linda - how am I supposed to go to my morning meeting now and NOT worry the woman next to me is creepy serial killer? Like I wasn’t paranoid enough about public bathrooms and bowling shoes! I’m not an evil character-type writer per say, but I certainly garner a lot of inspiration for cruelty from daily headlines. So sad – but true.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

This has the makings of a good story, but . . . the last sentence of the first paragraph:

And the weight she’d lost. made me stop.

Since I had been stopped the next paragraph did not flow and then the third paragraph seems to be back on track. So no I would not keep reading. It would be too much work as written.

Linda Glaz said...

You're right, Sharon. She mentions her weight loss earlier, so it made sense in that context, but since it's here, you are so right. I'm going to change it. Thanks so much for the insight.

Millie Samuelson said...

Can I buy the Kindle edition RIGHT NOW, please?! :-)
PS: Not trying to be difficult, but I liked the juxtapositioning of the somewhat fragmented sentence, "And the weight she'd lost." It underlined the feeling of jarring, which the whole piece is!
PS #2: When's the book releasing, or is it by chance already out there?

Linda Glaz said...

Oh, don't I wish. This is one I've worked and reworked for over 15 years. It may never be out there, but I sure hope so! It's the one that scares my socks right off!

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Linda, I thought this was the opening of the story. As an opening it does not work for me. But I totally misunderstood.

I will go back and read it knowing it is an excerpt.

Sharon A. Lavy said...

Now it flows. Yikes.

I may not keep reading though as it would give me nightmares.

You hit it. You created an evil but strangely compelling character.

Kathleen Rouser said...

Good character development, Linda. Creepy, but
gives the reader an idea about why Laura has become
the way that she is. It also shows that she is making
choices, that her evil behavior is her responsibility.
Both are good and gives the reader an idea of who this character really is. I think I've only had one evil character with which I've had to dig that deeply.

Kathleen Rouser said...

That's not to say my evil characters don't have backstories :), but I think it's different when you're so
deep into their POV than when you are observing them
from someone else's POV!

Linda Glaz said...

Absolutely, Kathleen.It's one of the reasons I like to write the "bad guys" from their own POV. Sometimes that can ellicit sympathy for them--sometimes--but mostly it gives us a glimpse of just how evil some people can be. And I like that a bunch of you hit on the fact that this person can be the nice neighbor next door who helps little old ladies take out their garbage so they won't hurt themselves (just before bashing them in the head and robbing them blind) oh boy! I'm thinking maybe I really do need that therapy! Gotta just LOVE suspense. Scare me!

Bonnie S. Calhoun said...

Good stuff Linda! I do scary well *snort-giggle*