I must admit. When I ran in the Disney Princess Half Marathon this year, I was more excited about getting my picture with these ladies …
… than any of the princesses.
Why is that? Do I secretly condone the use of poison apples, illegal child labor, and evil spells? Do I long for kingdoms without princesses? Of course not. I’m a total root-root-root-for the good guy kind of gal. And I would neverwear fur like Cruella, even if I could afford it. So why am I fascinated by the Villians?
Because they’re interesting.
Like on Devious Maids. My husband and I are completely addicted to the show–hook, line, and dust mops!
Bob loves the sweet and oh-so-honest Rosie, but my favorite character? The oh-so-wicked Evelyn Powell, who callously said in the first episode, “My maid was murdered! Who’s going to clean this mess up?”
She’s rich, uncaring, shallow, and selfish. After a few episodes, however, we come to learn more about Evelyn Powell. How she desperately misses her late son and how she feels responsible for his death. How Evelyn’s self-loathing makes her believe she deserves to be married to a manipulative, repulsive man who feeds her guilt by refusing to forgive her … and by being so disgusted that he refuses to sleep with her.
Does this justify her actions? Well, no, but it does make us understand her. Sympathize for her. Empathize for her. And for those of us who have ever felt feelings of guilt, despair, heartbreak, and rejection … which is pretty much all of us … we even identify with her.
[For more on character sympathy, identification, and empathy – read James N. Frey’s How To Write A Damn Good Novel, II. Yes, I’ve mentioned this book a thousand times already and I’ll mention it a thousand more because it’s AWESOME!]
Back to Evelyn.
This Snow White? Sweet, but not so interesting.
Snow White as a thief? Okay, now we’re talking.
And speaking of Disney and Snow White, let’s take a peek at the TV show, Once Upon a Time and the evil queen, Regina.
She’s got the evil part down pat. Oh boy, does she, but we also get to see how Regina became so cruel and demented after her mother–also evil, oh boy, is she–killed the love of her life in cold blood, thanks to Snow White unintentionally revealing his identity.
(I could mention that if her mother really was as powerful as she seemed, then she could have figured out who Regina’s boyfriend was without Snow White’s help, but let’s not go there, shall we?)
The show’s writers did a good job of showing us why Regina is the way she is. Disney, however, didn’t give us much back story in their animated movies for characters such as Lady Tremaine and the Evil Queen other than how their actions were motivated by jealousy or in Maleficent’s case, not being invited to a party.
That’s where we come in.
CONFERENCE CHALLENGE #2: Victimize a Villain
I want you to take a Disney Villain or sidekick and create a compelling, heartbreaking back story for them … something that might explain how they became so evil and corrupt. Then set your stopwatch for thirty minutes and write a scene from the story where they are about to wreck havoc on the protagonist. This time, however, make the reader understand why.
And *bonus* make the reader identify with their feelings.
For my illustrator friends, draw your favorite villain but instead of an evil frown, show their deep torment and pain in their facial expressions.
Have fun with this one! Go crazy! And if you’re not planning on participating in the pre-conference challenges, you can still join in the fun by going to our Facebook page and sharing who your favorite villain is and why!
And in case you missed our first challenge, here it is:
Also, for those participating in the challenge, here’s a reminder of the rules in order to qualify to win one of FIVE gift baskets!
THE OFFICIAL RULES
Those who complete the challenges will get raffle entries for a super awesome delectably stuffed goodie basket and the winning ticket will be pulled at the Lucky 13: Make 2013 Your Year September conference on Saturday.
– Completing FOUR of the EIGHT challenges will earn ONE entry. (And unlike our previous challenges, it will automatically earn you a small prize. :))
– Completing SIX of the EIGHT challenges will earn TWO entries.
– Completing EIGHT of the EIGHT challenges will earn THREE entries and the official title of ROCK STAR, woo-HOO!
Once again, we’re doing this strictly by the honor system so you don’t have to submit your work unless you’d like to share with the class. (We love sharers!) You are required, however, to leave a comment in the challenge post saying you have completed the task for the entry to count.
Each participant will also have to tell us whether they are attending the conference on only Saturday or Sunday or both days. If the winner at Saturday’s drawing is not present because they’re a Sunday only attendee, they will receive their prize on Sunday. If they are a no-show on Sunday, then a new winner will be selected.
If you miss a week, you will be allowed to make it up. All that matters to us is that you do them honestly and completely, but you still must leave a comment in the original challenge post. (Links will be provided in each challenge.)
If you are a writer and illustrator and complete all eight writing and drawing entries, you will receive six entries. (For you non-drawing writers like me, stick figures do not count!)
Happy writing and drawing, everyone! 🙂