I’m learning how to outline a book, making all the decisions ahead of time instead of just seeing where the characters go. This is not my usual way of working, but I’m finding that I have a lot more depth of character this way. Each character has to be designed with his or her motivations, quirks, personality and goals. This is fun.
Today I am working with my villain, a complex guy who has a need for revenge and for recognition. This causes a conflict because he works undercover as a freelance asset, so that he is never recognized outside of the few people who know his secret, his handler, and his handler’s people. He does not know who the big bosses are, but they give him access to the information he wants, so he does their dirty work.
I visualize him as looking like Dennis Quaid, and his code name is Quaid Golden. Since the genre is steampunk, he’d have his top hat, cravat and frock coat, probably in a lush shade of green with a brocade vest of gold. his hair is about this length but much better groomed, as he is something of a dandy.
He has daddy issues, and plans to spread his revenge not only on his biological father, but on all the father’s cronies and associates. He thinks that my heroine is part of that network, and she is, but not in the way that he thinks. It remains to be seen if they can be allies, since neither of them is likely to trust the other, but they share a common enemy.
I haven’t picked out a quirk as yet, but a person with such deep emotional conflicts has to a twitch of some kind, a quick trigger or short fuse in certain circumstances. I’d appreciate any suggestions or thoughts.
On another note, one of my short story collections, Just a Smidgen of Magic, will be free on Kindle just in time for Halloween on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Five stories of magic in the everyday world range from comedy to horror to redemption. They’ve been described as reading “like a set of beautiful long poems” and “beautifully written little gems.”