I want to get back into free writing and challenges, and Lillie McFerrin’s Five Sentence Fiction this week seemed to be a good way to do it. Lillie’s prompt this time was “SHADOWS” – you can follow the link to read some of the other takes on this inspiring word.
While walking home from work, the following scene just sort of popped into my head. Some of the characters and details come from an earlier idea I had a long time ago, so they may seem a bit familiar to some of my older readers. Still, it’s always nice when these prompts cause me to revisit a thought-to-be-discarded plot line.
“Even in the Dark”He hadn’t come to be known as Sirrus the Grim for nothing: red-bearded mountain clans, dark-skinned islanders, blue-eyed snow walkers – all of them had felt his wrath for their disrespect, howling in the night over their precious poisoned firstborns.
By now, the princess’s royal guard would have found her, still and pale in her bed, for there could be no marriage between sea and cloud, not when his brothers in The Shroud were so close to keeping the king’s blood pure forever.
Prince Alraune might mourn, but he would come to understand: the sea princess was no better than a whore, a troublesome upstart who knew nothing of nobility, who’d already let her guard – her dull, plebeian guard! – take her maidenhead.
Sweeping around a corner, his cloak caught on a jagged edge of stone, and Sirrus tore it loose with a curse beneath his breath; these hidden corridors were unknown to all but Shroud, but he couldn’t waste a moment to return to the prince’s side, to keep his secrets intact-
A hand shot out from the umbra, grasping his neck, and the face of the wave rider princess’s guard filled his vision, snarling, “Even in the dark, Lord Sirrus, you cast a long shadow.”
There’s a lot of telling in this attempt, I know. Nonetheless, I rather enjoyed digging into Sirrus’s head, here.
I don’t know if I write villains well; my conflicts tend to be ones out of the characters’ control. I certainly don’t tend to look at stories from the villain’s perspective, though perhaps I should reconsider that, since his voice spoke to me with this one.
Did you poke your head into any SHADOWS, this week? Do you write villains? Have you ever written from the villain’s perspective? Why, or why not?
Sirrus is an interesting case of villain. I do not doubt that he thinks himself in the right for doing what he’s done. Much like Lord Frollo from Hunchback of Notre Dame, I get that dark righteousness vibe from him.
Personally, I love writing villains, antagonists and anti-heroes. They can ant the same things as the hero, but without any moral constraint or hesitation. Or they can have no rhyme or reason at all and just want to destroy everything in their path.
So what kind of villains do you like the most?
Enjoyed the world you’ve created and really loved that final sentence. I can hear the character’s voice relishing those words!
I don’t do villains well at all. To have a character be clearly evil to the reader would be beyond me. I have a hard time even with “the bad guy” who isn’t necessarily evil in his intent. So it’s a safe bet you won’t see any dark stories coming from me. 😉
That’s definitely what I was going for, with Sirrus.
I like villains to whom I can relate at some level. One of my favorite (recent) villains in fiction was Christopher Carrion, from Clive Barker’s Abarat series. The broken child trope is a bit overused, but I liked how that character was trying to live up to the standards of his uber-wicked grandmother. He had an internal conflict of knowing what he was doing was bad, but his familial loyalty usually won out.
Done well, anti-heroes can be intriguing. Generally speaking, though, I like “good guys.” 🙂
Thanks for commenting!
I know what you mean, JM. I don’t even like going into the darker places for some of my heroic characters – when they get angry, lash out, close themselves off. I don’t know how some writers can pluck these truly evil bastards from their psyches. They must be either really messed up, or super-well-adjusted. 🙂
There is a lot of telling in this piece, but it was told well and made me want to read more of the story.
Thanks, Jo-Anne! I’m thinking I may need to go back to this world, some day.
Thanks, K. I think it’s having the limitation of packing so much back story into those five sentences. But, I don’t know if I’m skilled enough to create the same tension of the moment without that back story. If you have any suggestions for helping it feel not so “tell-y,” though, I’d love to get that insight!