Tag Archives: villains

Earwigging : because writers do

Times are difficult, scary even, for all of us — especially the older or vulnerable ones — so I thought I’d add a bit of light-hearted distraction. To wit: earwigging.

I do it. Don’t you?
Doesn’t everybody?
Especially authors…

An Earwigging tale

Goblin Court typical English villageI was in a pub, on my own, having a quiet meal. There were four elderly gents — nattily dressed, clearly ex-military — sitting across the way, drinking various beverages and gossiping. They were not trying to keep their voices down, though they must have known other drinkers could hear every word.

One of them was even louder than the others, very keen to be heard. All The Time. And even when the others were trying to hold a conversation about something else.

Must admit that I took agin Mr Loudmouth.

Anyway, Mr Loudmouth told a joke that he had (he said) told at the wedding of one of his three daughters. It was an OK joke. The other three gents laughed dutifully. I wasn’t convinced they really found it funny.
Mr Loudmouth clearly thought it was very funny, though.
And he was very pleased with himself.

Mr Loudmouth’s Wedding

St Eval church, CornwallThen Mr Loudmouth told the tale of the wedding of daughter #3. Mr Loudmouth was glad that it was the last of the family weddings. They’d been such a trial for him, poor man.

The wedding took place in an oldy-worldy country church. The groom and his family were American, and so were much impressed by the quaint surroundings.

Mr Loudmouth, per tradition, delivered daughter #3 to her American groom at the altar where stood the vicar who had already officiated at the weddings of daughters #1 and #2.

There then ensued the following exchange —

Vicar: Who gives this woman?

Mr L is silent
(Father of the bride is supposed to say “I do” and then retire into obscurity.)

Rosie M Banks, love ennoblesVicar [louder]: Who gives this woman?

Mr L [whispering very, very softly]: I do.
[then shouting loudly]

According to Mr Loudmouth, everyone laughed. He had (he said) done a good job, because he wanted all the guests to enjoy the wedding and laughter was a good sign.

He clearly thought he had done wonderfully well. And he hadn’t — of course — retired dutifully into obscurity. He’d made himself the centre of attention.
I wasn’t surprised there.

Mr Loudmouth did not say what daughter #3’s reaction was.
Did she laugh?
Show leanings towards patricide?

red wine glass from below

Image by Dirk Wohlrabe from Pixabay

Personally, I’d have tended towards patricide, though you may feel more undertanding for Mr L than I did.

I finished my meal and left.
I did not pour a glass of wine over Mr L’s head.

Tempted? Moi? What do you think?

Earwigging: and then?

Earwigging is grist to the writer’s mill. I haven’t actually used this story in a book — yet 😉
I thought I would share it with you first, though I fancy some version of it will end up in a book, eventually.

Think what a writer could do with Mr Loudmouth as a character. He has the makings of a good villain — and subsequent corpse — for a murder mystery, I reckon. Impaled on Cupid’s arrow, maybe?

Or he could just be turned into a pantomime villain who gets his comeuppance in a ridiculous way. I could see him, dressed in his immaculate wedding suit and shiny shoes, pinned to the ground by an old-fashioned pitchfork across his neck and covered in rotting hay and cow dung. Everyone else would, of course, be laughing.

What do you think? Perhaps you have a more fitting end for him? The grislier, the better?

Earwigging : other tales?

I’m sure you, too, have tales you’ve earwigged and then used, suitably amended or bowdlerised, in stories you’ve shared with friends, or more widely.
The madly ranting cab driver? The gossip on the top deck of the bus? Something overheard in the queue or in the pub?

Don’t keep your earwigged tales to yourself.
Please do share.
We all need a bit of fun right now.


Joanna Maitland, author


Stuck on your manuscript? Bring on the villain

Bring on a villain, like this one, when manuscript is stuckDelightful chap, isn’t he, our villain? I particularly admire those enormous teeth. And that improbable moustache.

I’ve blogged about villains before — including charismatic villains played by Alan Rickman (yes!) and Richard Armitage — but today’s blog isn’t about individual villains. It’s about what villains can bring to our manuscripts, especially when we’re stuck.

I was stuck on my current wip. It was moving at the rate of a glacier before we had climate change.
In other words, it was going nowhere very slowly.

Crit partners : support when stuck

Continue reading

Empathy with characters: good AND evil? glad OR gory?

Empathy with characters:
what is it and who has it?

Empathy? Roughly, it’s feeling what another person is feeling, from their point of view. Even if that other person is fictional.
So readers may identify with the heroine in a romance, or with the spy in a thriller, or with the detective in a crime story.

Writing Regency romances, my aim was always that my [mostly female] readers would identify with my heroine and fall in love with my hero.

But readers don’t all react in the same way to our characters and our plots. And I’m beginning to wonder if age is one important factor in that. Continue reading

YA Heroes: Deliciously Bad? Guest Post by Pia Fenton

Today’s guest blog on YA heroes is from award-winning author Pia Fenton (Christina Courtenay)

author of YA heroes christina courtenay / pia fenton


Heroes, Villains . . . What’s Not To Love?

malfoy played by Jason Isaacs


loki played by actor Tom Hiddleston


There’s been a lot of talk about heroes on the Libertà blog. Also delicious villains.

Yes, I too am a fan of Mr Rickman and others like him, notably Lucius Malfoy (actor Jason Isaacs) in the Harry Potter movies — how could you forget him?! — and Loki in the Thor movies (actor Tom Hiddleston). Continue reading

Villains to love? Alan Rickman and More

Villains can be a turn-off. But they can also be compelling, fanciable, even sexy. Think Alan Rickman as just about any movie baddie you care to name. (Confession here — I’m a Rickman fan and this blog was partly inspired by him. But there are other baddies here too, and many are from books as well as films.)

villains: Rickman as Nottinghamantiheroes or villains? Rickman as De Valeravillains? Rickman as Gruber in Die Hardantiheroes or villains? Rickman as Severus Snape Continue reading