What was your villain’s first kiss? Where did it take place? At what age? And with whom? I’ve found that villains often initially became villainous because of deep, painful issues with love. The hurt or the joy that all of us experience from this first romantic experience often defines the rest of our romantic life. So be prepared for your villain to have strange and interesting reactions.
Before examining your villain’s first kiss, however, I want you to remember your own. I remember mine. I was in seventh grade, and my friends and I were having a leaf fight at school on a beautiful, crisp autumn day when all of a sudden the key quarterback grabbed me and kissed me. I have never been so shocked and delighted in my life. That moment definitely set the tone for what I expect from love and romance. Spontaneity and excitement!
What do you expect?
Now go to a quiet place, take a breath, imagine yourself somewhere beautiful, and, when you’re ready, open your eyes and set a timer for five minutes. Then, writing as if you were your villain, describe the circumstances of your first kiss: the who, what, when, where, how, and why. And if there was no first kiss and something awful happened instead, describe that. Write down how your villain felt the first time he or she encountered a moment of this nature.
You will find that the core of this exercise, the pain or pleasure of that first experience, will give you great insight into your villain. You’ll likely find it humanizing and that it will help you when writing your scenes, giving your villain unexpected depths of emotion that will elevate him or her to a new and intense level for your audience.
Here’s to your successful writing!
Professor Marilyn Horowitz