But I'm not here to talk about main characters today. I'm here to talk about villains.
The book that I am working on right now features two villains.
The first is a forty seven year old man named Robert Willis who owns a successful cigarette factory (or two, or three, depending on where you're up to). I have always imagined him looking a little like the man who plays the boss in television's Monk.
This evening when I sat down to write, I decided it was time to give a bit more depth to my other villain, who only appears in part four of the book. This part takes place on the Thai Burma Railway, and this character, who I've called Nakamura, carries the burden of representing the fearsome force that was the Japanese Imperial Army in the eyes of the Australian soldiers taken prisoner in Singapore. I realised, as I sat down to write out his motivation a little more that I had no idea why he was in the army, what his spiritual beliefs were (which is important because he plays a key role in the plot because of something he does for spiritual reasons)... I hadn't even given him a first name!!!!
|This fantastic book gives some |
fictional insight into the Japanese mind...
During tonight's writing session, instead of doing my usual 1000 words, I spent a bit of time with Nakamura and got to know him. I gave him a first name, (Hiroshi, meaning generous), and an age, 32. I decided he was a major, and a career military man. His father was a veteran of the Russo Japanese war of 1905, and his brother Haruki had been killed during conflict in China in 1938. At one point in time, around about the time my protagonist Winston was beginning his story (1937), Hiroshi Nakamura was growing tired of the military life and considered retiring from active service to become a high school teacher. This changed when his brother was killed. Nakamura becomes easily exasperated when he feels he is not being listened to, and his history in the army has developed in him a tendency to solve his problems with force. He is a Buddhist. His parents are still alive. He is from Shinjuku, Tokyo, and University educated in civics and history.
He is nothing like the images of the Japanese enemy Winston would have encountered.
After doing this exercise, I now feel more equipped to go forth into the turning point of part 4, and write a more gripping twist in the tale!
Tried something similar? Let me know in the comments.