Wednesday, March 6, 2019

An Early Punxsutawney Phil Spring

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Yep. Phil predicts spring will come early this year, and so let get on with the first March Wednesday and, like Alex says, "rock the neurotic writing world!"

Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG.

Every month, we announce a question that members can answer in their IWSG post. These questions may prompt you to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story. Include your answer to the question in your IWSG post or let it inspire your post if you are struggling with something to say.

 




Remember, the question is optional!
The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard

March 6 question - Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?


I lean toward the villainous character's mind. Here are three books from the villainous POV that I enjoyed. Interestingly, three are fairy tale re-tellings. I was in an escape phase of my life. What can I say?

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is the second novel from Gregory Maguire, the author of Wicked. It tells the tale of Cinderella from the perspective of one of her evil stepsisters. The young Iris (soon to be Cinderella's stepsister) is depicted as a bright girl whose mother is suddenly widowed. Destitute, the mother has to leave their home. She lands in a wealthy tulip merchant's home and, guess what? Love+readjustment of the blended family=all that stepmother, stepsisters drama. It's a book with interesting twists that lead to the happily-ever-after from a new perspective.

Blackhearts is about that infamous pirate Blackbeard. We all know what a rotten, despicable and murderous pirate that guy was. But what if we knew something about his life from another point of view? Nicole Castroman looks into Blackbeard's past and creates a Young Adult tale about Blackbeard as young man in love. I really enjoyed reading this one because it upends all that I thought about Blackbeard, and it explores the social limitations that young Teach struggled against.

I thought Alias Hook was amazing. Imagine Hook as a hunk of a guy who's trying to help a woman from the 50s stay safe. From whom? Why that imp and totally irresponsible Peter Pan, of course. There's a love story with Hook and a very different slant on that naughty Pan boy. 

And then there's Bram's all time favorite, Dracula, isn't there? Coppola's film based on the novel grossed $215 million. I guess people enjoyed seeing Dracula being, well, Dracula. And what about Phantom of the Opera? Gaston Leroux created one of the most charismatic and conflicted characters that came to life again on the stage only a few years ago. The pull of his tortured soul brought people into theaters to see the production not once, but several times. Those villainous tales never grow old and never cease to draw us in.

We all love/hate the bad guy, right? I've written three books from that side of the literary coin. One's  with my agent and two are published: Double Negative and Sliding on the Edge. I adored my bad boy, Hutch McQueen, and my bad girl, Shawna Stone. I think I found the same empathy for them that I found for Iris and Teach and Hook in those retold fairy tales. 








#IWSG has just been awarded this badge from UK Writers Hub. We're in the top 50 websites for writers! Kudos to the team and all the members who support IWSG and each other.




The WEP winners have been announced! Congratulations to everyone who won and to everyone who entered. You all make this an exciting event. 



Read More About the Anthology

Keep an eye out for the next IWSG anthology. It's headed your way April 30.

Quote of the Month: "The purpose of literature is to turn blood into ink." T.C. Elliot


Now let me ask you this. Have you read any of the books I've mentioned? What is your favorite perspective, hero or villain? And then be sure to stop by the others who are answering this question and see what they have to say.







41 comments:

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Lee and IWSG organisers ... the award is a great one to add to the mix - glad the UK Writers Hub have acknowledged IWSG ... well deserved. There's lots going on and its fun to be a part of or around the various groups ... good luck to all book launches - cheers Hilary

nashvillecats2 said...

Hello Lee, I think the award is well ddeserved. Loved your post and yes, I hope Spring is early this year.

Yvonne.

Pat Hatt said...

Seeing others sides of the bad guys can bring empathy indeed.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I never thought I'd like a story told from the villain's POV but you have mentioned some good ones. Congrats to IWSG on the award.

T. Powell Coltrin said...

Good morning. I like villains, too. I don't think I've read any of your favs, so I need to put them on my list.

Tonja Drecker said...

I've read Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister and enjoyed it. I'll be picking the others up because villains are wonderful too. The badge for IWSG is well deserved!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

True, Dracula is one of the greatest stories about a villain.
Those books with different viewpoints are interesting. Kind of like the movie Maleficent.

Sara Codair said...

I like to blur the lines between villain and hero. When I don't, I get to political and my villains become stand-ins for social problems, like toxic masculinity or transphobia. My work is much for layered and complex when I like my villains and get into their heads.

And RE: Confessions of an Ugly Step-Sister. Gregory Maguire has a knack for retelling a known story from a point of view readers don't always think of. Whenever he puts out a new book, I read it.

Jen Chandler said...

Congratulations to the IWSG on the award :)

I've always loved the villain voice and I do love to play on the empathy of the reader with a new twist to the stereotypical bad guy/girl. I've never been a fan of purely evil characters. I love villains who have a reason, sometimes a very good reason, for doing what they do. I'm not excusing the terrible things they do, but when a villain is redeemable in some way, when you can find yourself in them or picture their situation and say, "Hmm...I don't know if I would have reacted any differently" then that villain, to me, is a wonderful character.

Great post!

- Jen

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't know if I've read a novel from the villain's pov. I do think how some of the suspense authors include snippets from the villain throughout the story. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Sometimes getting into the bad guy's head show you that he or she is really only one step away from being a hero.

Pat Garcia said...

Hi,
That's interesting. I don't like writing from the antagonist or bad guy/girl perspective. I do dwell into it because I want my characters to be as real as possible, but I identify to strongly with my heroine or hero to write a book from the antagonist point of view.
All the best, Lee.
Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Tyrean Martinson said...

I agree with Diane - villains are often just one step away from being the hero, and sometimes they do become heroes by the end of their stories - like your hero Hutch!
I really enjoyed Phantom of the Opera because the villain is so well done. Or because he sings some of the best songs. :)

cleemckenzie said...

@Hilary We are glad you're with us. Your blog contributes so much to IWSG members with it's UK perspective on so many interesting topics.

@NashvilleCats, Here's to those tulips brightening the landscape.

@Pat Hatt Yep, hose villains have a lot to offer in a story.

@Natalie Aguirre Tell me if you like any of the ones I mentioned.

@T Powell Coltrin You might enjoy the different perspective.

@Tonja Drecker Glad you liked that book. And thanks for the congrats.

@Alex Cavanaugh I haven't seen that movie, but then you know I'm not a huge movie-goer these days.

cleemckenzie said...

@Sara Codair I too think Gregory Maguire has an interesting mind.

@Jen Chandler I agree that when those villains have a "soft spot," they become so much more human.

@Jemi Fraser When thrillers are from the villain's POV, I get the chills.

@L. Diane Wolfe Those are the best villains.

@Pat Garcia It's good that we're all different. Makes for an interesting selection of reading material.

@Tyrean Martinson The Phantom was the ultimate villainous lovely! I think that technically Hutch wasn't a true villain, unless you count being you're own worst enemy, but I like to think of him as the bad guy turned good in that story.

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congrats to IWSG and the awesome and well deserved award!!!

Mirka Breen said...

I love the "unreliable narrator" POV, but can't quite figure how to do it right. I only attempted it once. But the villain's POV? They get to speak in dialogue and make their case, but the POV isn't theirs.
The examples you sited intrigue me.

Patsy said...

Spring seems to be coming in instalments – we had a few weeks in February, but winter is back again now.

Lisa said...

I haven't heard of any of those "re-stories" and they all sound really good. Thanks for the heads up! I've pre-ordered the anthology! I do like a villain who is human and I can have empathy for. Just can't do the really vicious ones who have no humanity left.

Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine said...

I don't believe spring is going to come early. At least not in my neck of the woods. ><

Cara H said...

I usually create my posts in advance. I might have to make a separate post to answer the question because it's a good one.
I've never been very good at following directions. Or much of anything else either.

Carol Kilgore said...

I like writing from my darker side, too.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Congrats on the new award. I know how hard you all work. I've always felt Peter Pan was a creepy bad guy. I'm going to look up Alias Hook.

H.R. Sinclair, Southpaw said...

Villain perspective is a good read too. ;)

Congrats to everyone on the award.

Lauren Macrie said...

Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister is one of my all-time favorite novels! After reading this post, I feel like I need to really try my hand at villainous behavior. Uh, I mean, writing. Writing. Of course I meant villainous writing.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Great insight into the villain perspective. I love the Phantom. I read the book, and I've seen the stage musical a few times. It's heartbreaking and beautiful.

Denise Covey said...

It is great to read from the antagonist's POV at times. I like the tv show Blacklist. Great example of this very thing. And who doesn't love Dracula? Hmmm...

Diane Burton said...

That's fantastic about the UK award. I always enjoy the 1st Wednesday. You and the other organizers do such a great job. Thanks.

J Lenni Dorner said...

I've read Dracula. That was pretty good.

Where does "The Catcher in the Rye" stand on this?

My friendly neighborhood groundhog isn't getting a lot of love lately, since there's been quite a bit of snow since his prediction this year.

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Dexter, while certainly a killer, always fascinated me by his code. Lee, you and the other stalwarts behind IWSG always do such a great job. :-)

Fundy Blue said...

I enjoyed your post, Lee. The books you shared sound really good. I love a great antagonist in a story, but I'm more comfortable writing from the perspective of a protagonist. I think it's awesome that the IWSG garnered another award!

Sandra said...

Having read SLIDING ON THE EDGE and thoroughly enjoyed it, I completely agree:)

Nicki Elson said...

Ooh, going to have to check out Alias Hook. I've never attempted to write from the antagonists' POV, but I do like to read from it, so maybe one day...

Chemist Ken said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Em-Musing said...

I've written several times with the villian's POV. I tend to be a bit empathetic so I could easily get inside thier emotions, but after I wrote several scenes I was uncomfortable. And re my losing weight. My stomach came back with a fury and I have regained 3. :(

Juneta Key said...

One of my favorite bad guys to read is Star Wars Thrawn. He has 4 books in the legacy series from the old days and 3 in the new series since George Lucus sold SW to Disney. Yeah he is a cool bad guy.

Tamara Narayan said...

Excellent examples of stuff written from the supposed villainous side. I did enjoy Wicked.

dolorah said...

A lot of interesting stories have been told from the villain perspective. Remember the Sons of Anarchy (SOA) series? We all knew he had to go to jail, a life of crime goes against nature, but he was seriously interesting!!! A couple of these you mentioned will be interesting for me too.

Congrats on the award IWSG!

Roland Clarke said...

I agree with Alex about the movie Maleficent. Tales from the 'villain' POV are fascinating and appealing when done well. I've just read 'Heathcliff' by Sue Barnard which is a look at another side of the character from Wuthering Heights. I can manage the villain's POV for scenes or even short stories but not for anything of length - yet.

This is one of the few IWSG Wednesday posts I've visited as I've been sick. So, apologies to those I failed to visit this month.

Roland Clarke said...

P.S. Congratulations on the well deserved award, IWSG team.

Kelly Steel said...

Getting into the head of a villain and read what makes him tick would definitely be interesting.

Congratulations on the award!