Fleshing Out the Villains

The first draft of my current manuscript was written only from the hero and heroine’s points of view (POV), which is typical for me. I like to get the basic story down before I add additional POVs. Now I’m going through and adding secondary character POVs.

That includes adding POVs for the villains.

A recent episode of the Authors of Mass Destruction podcast has helped with this. The episode dealt with methods used to predict whether a terrorist group was likely to attempt to obtain, and then use, a nuclear weapon. Because my WAR series revolves around a rebellion by what’s essentially a terrorist group, this episode provided me with some excellent questions to consider as I write the villains’ scenes. 

One of the questions raised by this episode is whether the group would attempt to buy, steal, or build the weapon themselves. The group in my series arranged for such a weapon to be stolen before WAR: Disruption, the first book in the series, opens. But the situation has changed in this current book, so the implications of each type of weapon acquisition gave me some food for thought.

Another question that seems obvious but had never occurred to me, is whether the group is prepared to be annihilated by the established powers after their attack. I've been coming up with different answers depending on which villain's head I'm in. This is good. I like conflict among my villains.

Additional questions I've been considering: Does the group have people with the technical knowledge to take the program from acquisition to detonation? Is the group’s leader charismatic enough to convince people with those skill sets to buy into the total destruction the device will wreak? How are they going to safely store the weapon?

And most important to the final conflict in my book: How are they going to transport the final weapon to the target site? (And can my good guys stop them?)

Because I write fiction, I can arrange the story so that these questions are never raised but ​are rather inferred by the actions the terrorists take. ​I think the story will be richer for my having thought through these questions.

I'll keep you updated on how it all turns out!