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Subject: Need help creating a villain...
Author: avesjohn   (Authenticated as avesjohn)
Date: March 3, 2012 at 6:22:09 PM
Some of you that have read my previous posts may know that I'm working on a series of supernatural stories, based around the character of Abigail Joy "AJ" Carpenter. After fighting vampires in high school and werewolves in college, in the third book she will face off against a witch, a classmate named Clara Hendrix. This series will roughly alternate between darker and more light-hearted stories; after the (planned) zany werewolf tale, the third book returns to the downbeat mood of the first. In it, Clara enters the final stages of her long-awaited vengeance for the murder of her parents, and AJ becomes caught in the middle.

Backstory: Clara, a native of San Francisco, was witness early on to the murder of her parents by a madman. (This lack of specificity is the problem.) She was born with telekinetic powers (the ability to move objects, including living things, with her mind). Because of this power, her life was spared, and she became the subject of cruel and unusual experiments by this man. Eventually, Clara escaped, and after some time in foster care was taken in by a nice family trained in magic, who raised her into becoming a witch, but also used their abilities to erase her memories. (Not out of malice, but out of concern for her well-being, because who could hope to live a normal life after experiencing what she has? The use of a memory-erasing spell also foreshadows Clara's own use of them later in the series.) Clara matures, of course, and at some point (either deliberately on her adoptive parents' part or by accident) the memories come back, and she vows revenge on the man who killed her birth parents. This, under the guise of a college education at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is what takes her Colorado, where AJ and her friends are going to school as well.

Another plan of this series is to emulate classic movie monsters: obviously, the first book has Dracula (vampires), and the second the Wolfman (werewolves). For this one, the allusion is to Frankenstein's monster. With the character of Clara, I'm also borrowing elements from Stephen King's Carrie and Magneto from X-Men. (And being that kind of writer, I have other characters jokingly refer to Clara by both of those names at some point.)

With this long-winded discussion out of the way, we can get to the point: the man who killed Clara's parents. Besides an appropriately evil-sounding name, I'm also looking to give him powers that complement or otherwise cancel out Clara's mind-over-matter abilities, to make the fight more even between them. However, those powers need not interfere with her abilities as a witch. Bear in mind that Clara was born in 1982, and her nemesis should be around 20-30 years older than her; their final battle takes place in 2004. Originally I had him simply as the leader of a cult (which could still work, mind you), but in aiming for the Frankenstein allusion, something that says "mad scientist" and that would allow him to perform sadistic experiments on her in secret needs to be in place somewhere.

There's also the matter of the parents that he killed: Clara's parents weren't the first people he's killed, and certainly aren't the last, but memory-wiping aside, what if her adoptive parents actually treated her better than her birth parents? This could potentially explain how they got involved with this man in the first place (going back to the cult idea), and as mentioned, Clara was only spared and experimented on due to her extraordinary powers. This is an idea I had that adds to the moral complexity of Clara's mission: she's only avenging her birth parents out of a deranged sense of loyalty, despite their (possibly) abusive or misguided ways. Finally, there's the eternal question of names: is Hendrix her birth parents' surname, or her adoptive parents? And, what first names can you think of for both sets of parents (and a surname for the other)? What are your thoughts on everything I've described so far?

Apologies for the long post, but the creative juices are flowing, and I'm excited to start outlining this story in some more detail. Thanks in advance.

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