Bad Guys and Villains

by Ann Tracy Marr

A Trio of Regency Men, not exactly the type we drool for

To protect plots, all bad guys and villains who share the following characteristics:

1) Written by Ann Tracy Marr
2) Discussed in this article

bear the generic name 'Baddie'. Make no suppositions as to race, gender, or relationship to protagonists.

No plot spoilers here. No sir.


Conflict comes from different places. When you get it in real life, you hope for lighthearted, like when you disagree with your significant other about which movie to watch on the tube. Get your conflict in the movie and you can take it on the chin. You squirm and pray that the actor makes it out alive. And thank God it is an actor, not you, facing the conflict. Imagine you stood in Hannibal Lector's or Freddie's way. I don't know about you, but if Hannibal stared at me with cold murder in his eyes, I would curl up and die long before he lifted a finger to hurt me. Freddie? At the first hint of his presence, I would be out of there.

So villains make for great conflict anywhere but in real life. They get your blood pounding, sharpen your senses, and sometimes... yes, sometimes they attract you, like Frank Langella's Dracula. No one will ever convince me that Dracula was a hero, but Frank came close. Sexy, compelling, he was the bad guy you want to take home (not to Mom and Dad). Frank almost made the big bad vampire someone I'd like in my life. Almost. There was a little matter of eternal life to protect me from fatal attraction.

Bad guys are not quite as evil as villains. They don't make you run from their presence screaming for help. They tend to look like your next door neighbor and act like your coworker, but something goes cockeyed and they do something wrong. Bad.

With three books out, I have written two bad guys. Not villains, bad guys. I haven't come up with a plot that demands an out and out villain yet. I haven't needed Hannibal's evil soul, Freddie's zombie-like horror, or Dracula's inhuman lust. My plots needed the milder sort of nasty.






In Round Table Magician, someone stole Mr. Jackson's papers. Whoa -- lets change that to someone stole military papers from Mr. Jackson's library. Confidential, secret military plans. It is a case of espionage, pure and simple, but is the thief a bad guy or a villain?

Aren't you paying attention? I already told you I haven't written any villains.

No, I wrote the most common garden variety bad guy of all -- the normal person who does something bad in the name of a good cause. Baddie has reasons for stealing the papers, reasons you can understand, even sympathize with. Baddie wanted something. Baddie had goals. Nothing wrong with having goals -- except Baddie went about it the wrong way -- and went too far.

Baddie dug a hole, climbed in, and couldn't get out. Because of Baddie, I believe I wrote a more realistic book. In addition, Baddie was a mystery to be solved -- and reports are that the mystery is a good mystery.