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Letter B - Bad Guys, Villains & Antagonists.

Letter B - Bad Guys exist in Real Life: In Novels & Film We Call Them Villains and/or Antagonists. 

Solve The Crime Fiction Murder Mystery

Crime Fiction Murder Mystery Page for past clues, facts of case and evidence thus far:

Today's Crime Fiction post for the 2015, annual A to Z Blogging Challenge is brought to you by the letter B.

In the real world our bad guys are called:

  • Criminals
  • Defendants
  • The Accused
  • Suspects
  • Persons of Interest
  • Wanted Person
  • Fugitive
  • Monster
  • Killer
  • Un-Sub (unknown subject)

In Novels & Films are bad guys are called:

  • Villains
  • Antagonist
  • Anti-hero (sometimes)
Once I became serious about my writing I jumped in with a hunger and voracity. I knew that I must learn the craft of storytelling and how to properly structure a novel. I've read tens of thousands of blog post and hundreds of books on the craft of fiction writing. I've learned tons from the generous and talented writers who blog and share. One of the best tips I've read (and I've read it over and over on countless blogs and websites and in books) is this:

It is vital to spend as much time getting to know your villain aka Bad Guy, as you do your protagonist, hero or main character.

I didn't fully comprehend this advice in the beginning and my writing suffered. 

Let me share the best tips about writing bad guys that I've garnished from a variety of sites and books. I'm paraphrasing and I'm adding my own thoughts. I don't remember each and every blog post or article written about bad guys/villains. There are countless. If you believe I've shared an idea that originated with you, please let me know. I apologize in advance and I will absolutely credit anyone who feels that anything I write originated with them. I am simply writing my thoughts on fictional bad guys. Thoughts that I've accumulated over the years via reading blog post, writing my own bad guys,real life bad guys I've prosecuted,  trial and error and a host of other combinations.

Your Bad guy needs to be real. He must come alive on the page and in order to do this, we need to:

  1. Give the bad guy -- villain -- antagonist, his very own important backstory. Readers need to know what makes your bad guy tick. Much like in the real world where juries and the public need to (regardless of whether or not the law requires it)  need to know what motivates the criminal to commit his/her crime. This is the same as providing a believable motive for your bad guy's actions in your story
  2. Remember, your bad guy is the protagonist of his own story.
  3. Give your bad guy some good or decent qualities. This makes them more realistic. Unless you are writing a sociopath --  serial killer
  4. Make your bad guy not only powerful and capable, but more so than your protagonist. Your readers must know that your bad guy is not only capable of inflicting serious bodily injury or death on your favorite character , but that he will do it. When readers worry and fear for your protagonist -- they are in suspense.

Common Motives in Real life for Murder -- Hence they Make Good Motives for Your Crime Fiction Story

Some of these can be lumped together.

  1. Revenge
  2. Greed
  3. Jealousy/Envy
  4. Crime of Passion
  5. Obsession
  6. Madness (Insanity/Severe Emotional Distress
  7. Lust 
  8. Murder for Hire
  9. Money (not always the same as greed)
  10. Love/Lust/Hate/Resentment
  11. Sex
  12. Power
  13. In commission of another crime
  14. To cover up another crime
  15. Blackmail/Bribery/Extortion
  16. Under the influence of a more dominant partner
  17. Thrill Kills/Cruelty
  18. Serial Killer
  19. Mob Hit
  20. Under influence of alcohol or drugs
  21. Self Preservation
  22. Defense or Preservation of others
  23. Keep a Secret from being exposed
  24. Drug deal
  25. Gang hit
  26. Gang initiation
  27. Angel of Mercy Killing/Compassionate Killing

Are you Trying to Solve the Murder Mystery?

Update on the homicide/suicide of Martha Clinton:

After further questioning of  Sam Watson and his colleagues & friends, police learned that he lied. Sam and the now dead, Martha had just recently started seeing each other, romantically. Well, maybe romantically isn't the best word. It seems that Martha was tired of her philandering husband's affairs with clients, paralegals and others. She was considering reporting him to the state bar association because sex with a client would get him into serious trouble, might even get him disbarred. According to Martha's best friend, Annabelle Kelly, Martha only took up with Sam to get back at her husband for his lying, cheating ways. She also wanted to feel wanted and needed again. She wanted to be with someone who thought she was still sexy and complimented her. Her husband, Thomas had long ago quit putting any effort into the marriage In fact, according to Annabelle, Sam had fallen hard for Martha and Martha was having a difficult time making him understand that she was not interested in a relationship, at all. Tom just kept showing up, Annabelle told the detective.

Police located the husband Thomas Clinton the next day at his law office. Apparently he did not come home at all the night before. He appeared shocked and was visibly shaken upon learning that his wife died the night before. He told the police that the couple argued so he decided to give Martha some space and stay in Baton Rouge,  at his law office's corporate condo for the night. Detective Coker found it odd that he never even called to check in on his wife. After a lengthy round of denials, Thomas admitted that he had not always been faithful to his wife, but denied the kind of philandering other witnesses accused him of.

Detective Coker paid a visit to the pediatrician's office where Martha was employed. He met the handsome and married, Dr.  Russo, Martha's employer. The man seemed a little jumpy and squeamish to the detective and Detective Coker got the distinct impression that Dr. Russo was hiding something.

Detective Coker spoke to three other employees. Nurse (1) Elisa, an attractive blond, had only kind words to offer about Martha, but also shared that over the past few months she'd noticed Martha wearing long sleeves on hot days. Once, she noticed a bruise on Martha's shoulder and thought perhaps Martha was the victim of domestic violence.

Nurse (2) Frances, a semi-attractive woman who appeared overly protective of Dr. Russo, implied perhaps Martha was using drugs. Maybe even shooting heroine. Dr. Russo and Elisa dismissed the idea, but did mention that several pain pill bottles had disappeared and someone had recently stolen two of Dr. Russo's prescription pads.

Nurse (3) Jenny,  frumpy, plump woman of about 40 with facial lines that gave her face a permanent frown told Detective Russo that she wouldn't doubt it if Martha had committed suicide. This puzzled Russo because no one had mentioned suicide to anyone outside of the investigation. When asked why she thought such a thing, Nurse Jenny said that her boyfriend leased the Clinton's garage apartment and he thought the woman might be suicidal. Plus, Jenny claimed to have once caught Martha googling weird things on the office computer. She later checked the browser history and found topics like:

How to make a suicide look like an accident 
How to stage a crime scene
How to make  a suicide look like murder
How to frame someone for murder

DNA wasn't back yet. No knew matches on prints. Ballistics report wasn't complete and the rest of the trace evidence was still at the backlogged crime lab.

The canvas of the Clinton's neighborhood turned up zilch so far. Not one person heard a gunshot or a struggle of any kind. They lived in a gated community and the homes were situated on .75 acre lots, so it was possible no one heard a gunshot. Highly unlikely if the .38 had been fired.

Detective Coker couldn't wait around for science. He would work the case the old fashioned way in the meantime. Solve this sucker by interviewing witnesses and following leads.

He asked his subordinates to run rap sheets on everyone they and talked to so far.
Dig deeper into Tom's background.
 Find nurse Jenny's boyfriend, the tenant and interview him.
Order LUDS/phone records for the victim and her husband
Find out if any of the persons of interest or the victim owned a registered gun.
Check the entrance gates in Clinton's neighborhood for cameras and sign in sheets
He desperately needed to build a timeline for the day Martha was killed, but so far no one could account for her whereabouts from the time she left work at 6, in the evening until her body was found.

He would get her cell phone and laptop and put his IT guy on it right away. Phones and computers told some strange and interesting stories these days. You couldn't go to the bathroom without the built in GPS tracking you. They were a blessing and a nightmare rolled up in one

See if anyone could confirm husband's story of where he was when his wife killed
See if the husband would consent to releasing their cell phone records and financial records. If not get a warrant
Get a get a search warrant for the inside of the house.
Check the navigation on Martha's Lexus SUV and her husband's BMW SUV
Find out the names and backgrounds of all the women in husband's life
Check out Dr. Russo with the medical board

Today's clue: Backstabber

I promise the post will be much shorter from now on. I just had to get some basic information out there for those of you who will solve the crime.

What are you thinking so far? Murder or Suicide?

You can always get a recap of the facts & evidence of the case by clicking on my Legal Fiction Page, located at the top, in my navigation bar.



Melissa Sugar said...

Awesome advice. I personally am a big fan of the anti-hero... they seem to have more fun. But it's true, villains need to have some redeeming qualities... and some real motivation. Nothing's worse than a cheesy Snidely Whiplash-type character who's twirling his mustache and planning to destroy the world simply because he's evil and he thinks that would be fun.

Melissa Sugar said...

Great advice! I agree, villains are just as important to develop as protagonists. A shoddy villain can even ruin a story, a lot of the time!

Melissa Sugar said...

Since I write noir fantasy, I have fun making villains of historical figures, each one positive she or he is in the right: Abigail Adams (ruler of a shadow confederacy in modern America) feels she is the lone defense of our nation against threats she sees here and abroad -- I use actual quotes from her old letters to make her as authentic as possible.

Empress Theodora, Abigail's undead European rival, sees the world as you would imagine the wife of Emperor Justinian would: commoners are merely chaff who will die anyway. If thousands die to maintain order in a world of chaos -- that is acceptable.

I have Ada Byron, Lady Lovelace (inventor of the 1st computer language 100 years before the invention of the computer) be the genius helper of my own protagonist -- it is fun to try to see life through the eyes of a genius who doesn't happen to be an evil mad scientist!

I guess that is why I have Nikola Tesla in a few of my novels -- neither hero nor villain -- he is simply an explorer of the far reaches of science, distanced from others by his own unique perspective.

You are right: each of us whether going down the dark or light path feel we are the hero of our movies. :-)

Melissa Sugar said...

Oh, I am so saving this post :) I always concentrate on the hero(ine) and then I'm like... oh no... the bad dude(tte) is so weak...I could hit them with an orange :)

Melissa Sugar said...

Hi Melissa - I sure hope yesterday worked out and ended well - frazzled maybe but sorted .. it did not sound like an easy time.

This is amazing ... I don't write .. but so far I'm thinking murder - no idea why .. but that's the way my brain is taking me - who? no idea .. I'll enjoy these - fun ... and so good to learn from .. cheers Hilary

Melissa Sugar said...

Melisaa , You know what I never likes Thrillers and My husband adores them.We have huge fights over TV Remote but I read this post of yours completely and realized how much more toil goes into creating stories like this...
Reminded of Shakespeare quotes - I love Iago as much as I love Antony

Melissa Sugar said...

I love antagonists! They are so much fun to write. I've written about mobsters, drug dealers, murderers, and common criminals.

I'm thinking murder.

Melissa Sugar said...

Villains have reasons for what they do and often they think they are right or actually the good guy. Which means they have to have as much depth as the real good guy.

Melissa Sugar said...

You are so right about understanding your villain and also conveying that to a reader. Even bad guys have their reasons. As for the mystery, which I am loving, so far it seems like an accidental death being covered up. I'm thinking she's into S&M and her Dom is trying to cover up accidentally killing her. Just going for it here...

Melissa Sugar said...

Hello there! Long time no see? Thanks for dropping by The Cosmic Lair the other day. :)
I've read also most of those tips for creating villains and I believe they are excellent tips every writer should keep in mind!

Melissa Sugar said...

You are so right about the bad guys! One of my favorite villains is Magneto from the X-Men. He's complex and I empathize with him. His motivations are believable and his reasoning makes sense.

Melissa Sugar said...

Lots of good possibilities presented so far.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks Jean. Any ideas, yet?

Melissa Sugar said...

Gotta love some of the bad guys

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks Al. Hope all is well. Are you going to try and solve the murder/suicide and wind a Kindle Fire or is the iPad mini still treating you good? Hope to reconnect some more during the challenge. Thanks for visiting

Melissa Sugar said...

Oohh!! Very different take on things. I like that. I can't give anything away, but to solve this mystery one will have to think outside the realm of things. Things are never as they seem in criminal cases

Melissa Sugar said...

Well said. They are the good guy of their story.

Melissa Sugar said...

I need to read your work. You've written about all my favorite bad guys. Im impressed and will start looking for your work to purchase.

Melissa Sugar said...

Well, I am glad I've been able to pique your interest and curiosity a bit. I hope you will keep tuning in.

Melissa Sugar said...

Thanks and for a non writer you have a good nose for solving a crime.

Melissa Sugar said...

So good to hear from you. Congrats on al your good news. Hope you keep tuning in for more clues

Melissa Sugar said...

I agree. When I come across the cheesy villain, I toss the book. Thank you for visiting. I know how much work you have ahead of you answering all of those questions via drawings. I can't wait to read/view all the answers. So glad Alex, turned me on to your blog

Melissa Sugar said...

This is an excellent post. I'm bookmarking it! It is so true that the villain tends to think they are the hero. History from the point of view of... someone else. LOL.

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