I did a post recently about how writer’s “hear” characters and their “voices.”
I’m at a point in the creation of my third novel, The Dragon’s Tear, where I’m working with an antagonistic character that at first didn’t really have a voice. He was just a means of connecting the dots. He first appeared in Dark Lord of Kismera and a lot of readers may not even remember him, he was never meant to be significant.
For this novel, I resurrected him for the role of a bad guy, my choice. Not that he was so great in Dark Lord. He didn’t stand out in my mind and wave his hand saying, “Pick me!” I began to develop him and I had to dig around in his persona and see what he had going in his little, twisted mind.
This had me lying awake last night wondering how writers who author really dark characters, such as Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs, feel after penning them? You’ve got to get in there and get dirty. Thomas Harris must’ve gotten dirty several times with that character.
It’s not that I feel disturbed after writing about this character, just curious. But I don’t think I could ever delve into writing some of the subject matter that I do read. I love a good crime thriller, but I wouldn’t be able to invest myself too deeply into a character that is truly violent or twisted.
If Thomas Harris did it, it’s possible, I suppose. But don’t be on the lookout for a crime novel from me anytime soon. I’m happy in the world of lion men, magicians, and only the occasional SOB!