The original photo prompt that started Memento Mori. Yes, I keep posting this one, because it still grips me. I'm not sure why.

My deadline for getting Memento Mori to my editor is rapidly approaching. I’ve tweaked, spell-checked, tried to reverse my awful habit of abusing the semicolon, and double-checked my timeline. I’ve done three full sweeps for various continuity issues. Now – for this round of edits, anyway – I’m down to the last task:

I’m writing those “center stage” moments for my villains.

I say villains because Memento Mori has more than one. Some are the larger-than-life sort, and some sulk in the corners, but they all need their moments of visibility. I’m working on that now.


Even heroes have their dark side.

Here’s what I’m learning about writing depth into my villains:

1. Villains really ARE fun to write about. I’m sorry if that makes me sound a bit demented, but it’s true. There is something cathartic about delineating (from a writer’s point of view) the shadows and subtleties of a person’s dark side.

2. Villains can also be my biggest challenge. You’d think it would be easy to prevent a character from devolving into a mustache twirling, gloating, I-live-only-for-power trope. It’s not. And making villains semi-sympathetic while still setting them apart as the clear antagonist can be a real feat. (Still learning that one.)

3. Without a clear understanding of where my villains are, and what they’re up to – even when they’re not visible – the whole story crumbles. My heroes didn’t seem half as heroic, and the villains not half so wicked, until I really hammered out all the details of what my villains were about, even when the POV wasn’t focused on them.


Me, on a GOOD writing day. (Except that I don't smoke.)

So much of what I’m writing now was never originally intended (because I chose to “pants” the book, not plot — but that’s fodder for a whole series of posts right there). This means I must sift the whole plot for where the villains best fit in, while acknowledging that the new material change things for my POV characters, in small ways and large.

So, after a couple weeks of “weaving” all the new parts with the old, and establishing that symbiotic balance between them, I think I’m FINALLY in the home stretch.

For this set of edits, at least. 🙂

What about you? What’s going on the lives of your villains? Are they cooperative? Swallowing up your heroes? Being trope-ish? Surprising you with every scene?

Drop by the comments and let me know!