Geneva Salon du Livre and Writing A Villain

Book fair!

Not a sale, but a fair and, although they had lots of booths with books for sale, I'm happy to report that I successfully resisted picking up anything new!

I was at the Geneva Salon du Livre mainly to watch an interview and attend a signing session with Swiss author Joel Dicker, whose books I highly recommend.

His first, Les derniers jours de nos pères (The Last Days of Our Fathers) is about secret service agents in World War II, and the last two are a kind of family saga, murder mystery, and coming of age story all in one, set along the Eastern seaboard of the United States: La vérité sur l'Affaire Harry Quebert (The Truth About the Harry Quebert Affair) and Le livre des Baltimore (The Book of the Baltimores).

I took a couple of blurry photos
(as an aside, we just got our first DSLR camera, and I'm looking forward to some sharper and brighter images from now on!):

I didn't quite set it as my ROW80 goal but I'm still plugging away at maybe participating in this month's writer's exercise on the forum: writing a sympathetic villain. The limit is 750 words; I have three times as many! I can keep what I've written for the eventual novel, but need to do some editing to bring the scene into its best light for the exercise...

Three new Whisky Trench Riders songs for your listening pleasure this week:

Four different songs (different bands) coming next week!

Have you ever empathised with a villain? What made their motives understandable?


Some villains are almost likable or at least if I can't emphasize with them, I understand where they are coming from. Villains in our fiction can and should be complex and as three-dimensional as our protagonists, which means for all their faults and evilness, they should have some characteristic we can side with, such as taking in homeless cats or writing their granny a letter every week. But maybe that's just me, trying to see something good in everyone.
Crystal Collier said…
You know, until this moment I hadn't even considered picking up any foreign books, but if they're translated to English, that would be an eye opening experience methinks--getting into the head of another culture like that.
Carol Riggs said…
Good luck with the writing prompt and whittling it down to 750 words--how fun, writing a sympathetic villain! :) Sometimes villains are more interesting than the heroes, actually!!
Writing a sympathetic villain is almost a necessity these days. No more mustache-twirling, hand-rubbing maniacal laughter... And really, as it's been bandied about in a bunch of writing communities lately... the so-called villain is usually the hero of their own story. Their story just doesn't quite mesh with the world vision of the stated hero.

Did you ever read David Brin's essay on how Sauron was really the good-guy in the LotR? It was interesting to consider. And for those who are big on Star Wars canon, supposedly the Emperor was trying to make a super military force to protect the worlds of the Empire against a savage outside force...

Have fun with the exercise (and good luck trimming.. because the richer your hero and villains are, the more story you want to write)!
Hi Denise - I've got the Harry Quebert Affair ... I suspect after your recommendation ... You'll enjoy the new camera with the Spring and Summer weather - I'm not sure whether to congratulate on not picking up another book or not - knowing your predilection for books ...

Good luck with the writing villain - I'm sure many are lovable - but just don't help themselves in real life ... and enjoy this weekend - cheers Hilary
Nas said…
If they are working for something in which they believe in and its right than that villain is not a villain to me.

Misha Gericke said…
Usually, if the hero is too perfect, I default to siding with the villain. Flaws make villains relatable. :-)
Deniz Bevan said…
Really interesting thoughts, all. And Eden, I haven't seen that essay before, must go looking for it!
This exploring-the-villain is turning out to be a very intriguing exercise...

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