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Donna Carrick: Making a villain memorable

The crime adventure author on how to make your baddie truly creepy.


"The most memorable villains in fiction have the power to enter our thoughts and make us feel uncomfortable. Part of that discomfort relies upon our sense that their criminal behaviour could, in fact, be real. When fleshing out an antagonist, I ask myself one question: Can I imagine anyone I’ve encountered committing those crimes in real life? If the answer is yes, then I know I’ve created an antihero who will allow readers to suspend their disbelief. Once readers perceive a human ‘reality’, the villain can more easily claim a place in memory."

Donna Carrick is the author of three mystery novels: The First Excellence: Fa-ling's Map (winner of the 2011 Indie Book Event Award), Gold And Fishes and The Noon God. Her short story anthologies, Sept-Iles and other places and Knowing Penelope, are both available for Kindle. 

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