I have come to a point in book two that I wasn’t expecting – my EVM is out of whack. Up until now, the story had been flowing quite nicely, everything was joining up as it should, and there were no serious deviations from the plan. Then along comes this really cool sub-plot that took the story to the next level and gave me an excuse to come up with a whole new part of the world – and with that breakthrough, I opened a whole can of worms (evil ones with fangs).
Up until now, the plan was that the journey that Josh was taking and the places he needed to go to put things right were challenges enough. I didn’t need to focus on the bad guys, unlike book one, the things he needed to overcome were all environmental.
How wrong could I be.
I’m sure there’s a writing rule somewhere that states that for every hero there should be a villain, it’s the basic yin-yang of storytelling. I don’t quite know how I could have thought I could get away without one – after all, I have a few to chose from in book one.
Then along comes a scene that blocks Josh from moving forward entirely, no matter what I tried, it wouldn’t work without somebody actively trying to screw things up for him. Looking back now I can see the gaping hole in the plan, but that’s the beauty of the second draft…
The bad guy is never truly bad, as we all know, even Lord Vader could be turned from the dark side. They’re interesting characters to write, making them something a reader will grow to hate while keeping them real, can be very rewarding – if you know what it is they are trying to do…
And that’s where the problem lies. I know what it is that I need the guy to do… I just don’t know why he needs to do it. Megalomania springs to mind, world domination – why do people do bad things?
I’m no psychologist, but the drivers behind human behaviour are not as complex as you may have thought – a guy called Abraham Maslow came up with a theory called the ‘hierarchy of needs‘ in 1943 where he ranked the basics in a pyramid.
1. Self-actualisation (top)
The desire to accomplish everything that one can be, to realise one’s goals and dreams.
To have the respect of others – to be accepted
Friendships, intimacy (sex) and family relationships
To feel safe and secure – both environmentally as well as financially and health.
5. Physiological (base)
Physical requirements for human survival – for the body to function – eating etc…
…So with this in mind, I’m going back to my EVM and looking at what is it that he truly wants to achieve, and what were the internal/external forces that could have caused him to do what I need him to do…