KATI: Sorry to disappoint anyone who came here hoping to discover our super secret plans for world domination, but that may be a topic for a later post. Mwahahaaahaa!
HEIDI: Suddenly I’m feeling very Pinky and the Brainish…
KATI: Me, too, Pinky!
KATI: Quickly moving on….a little while ago we talked about the All Time Greatest Villains and we got into an epic debate with Brian on who is more evil, Joffrey or Cersei. Now we are back on the subject of villains, but this time we want to discuss our experience creating one rather than just reading about them.
For Mystic Cooking we have our evil and deranged loan shark, Mr. Boss, and his merry band of freeloading scum followers. And while I’m loathe to give Heidi credit for this, I do believe she is the creator of the original Mr. Boss, even though we both later had a hand in fleshing him out and turning him into the evil, increasingly unhinged villain that he is today.
HEIDI: Thank you. I’m a fan of unhinged characters.
KATI: Somehow this doesn’t surprise me…
HEIDI: Starting out, our loan shark was no more than a small time crime-lord who wanted Lailu’s business to fail, but we had to figure out why he wanted it to fail.
With villains it’s all about the motivation. Hardly anyone is evil for the sake of being evil; most people have reasons for the evil acts they perform, and don’t see themselves as the bad guys. We knew there had to be a reason Mr. Boss started squeezing Lailu like a fresh and juicy orange, and it couldn’t just be because that was what we needed to advance the story. What did he gain by her not being able to pay him back? And more importantly, what drove him to this villainous point?
KATI: Once we figured out those answers, turning him into the villain we wanted became as easy as pie. Plus it made it so much better for tying all the loose ends that Heidi caused with her pantser ways. Score!
So now, may we present to you Mr. Boss…and some of his freeloading cronies:
Mr. Boss’s lips curled back, his brows knitting together as he watched Lailu intently. “I’ve been thinking,” he started coldly, his dinner lying untouched in front of him, “that perhaps, I might have given you too good of an arrangement for this place.”
Lailu froze where she was at those words.
“Yes,” he continued, his voice oozing from his lips like oil. “I was thinking that a year is way too long to pay off a third; wouldn’t you agree?”
Lailu just stared at him, not believing what she was hearing. “We signed a contract…”
“Did we?” He smiled at her, his eyes cold and dead. “I don’t remember signing anything like that. Do you have a copy of this alleged contract?”
“A-a copy?” Lailu felt the blood drain from her face.
“Yes, Lailu. A copy,” Mr. Boss repeated, carefully enunciating as if she were very stupid. At the moment, Lailu privately thought she must be.
“Y-you had a copy at your office.” Lailu could hear Charity’s annoying snigger, along with Greagor’s evil cackle. I am an elk trapped in a room with honorless hyenas, she thought hopelessly.
“Did I now?” he asked. “Well, funny that, I don’t remember seeing any such contract there, either.” Charity’s braying grew louder, drowning out the butcher’s laugh. “But I do remember seeing mortgage papers to this particular property, with just my signature along with the man who sold it to me. Stating, in effect, that this place is mine.” He shifted in his seat, his hand clenching around the handle of his cane as he fixed Lailu in place with his dead, colorless eyes. “I also,” he continued softly, “have papers stating that you borrowed a good deal of money from me in order for the privilege of leasing this property. A privilege I could revoke at any time, if payments are not made to my satisfaction. So if you are unable to pay, I’ll just have to take back my restaurant–”
“No!” The word tore itself from Lailu’s throat before she could stop it.
Mr. Boss smiled, his teeth bared horribly. “My dear chef, you have your priorities mixed up. You see, I wouldn’t just take back my restaurant. You’d have to pay me back eventually, one way or another. I could always have you do…other jobs, until the debt was repaid.”
Lailu just stared at him, her mind filled with images of herself in chains, Mr. Boss holding the ends. She couldn’t think of a way out of this, couldn’t think of any way to save herself, and dimly she cursed herself for ever taking a loan from him. But he’d seemed respectable enough, and no one else was willing to take a chance on her, not unless she worked for years in some rich family’s household. Lailu’s fists clenched at the thought. She had worked too hard to just be a slave in someone else’s kitchen, and she wasn’t going to be a slave for Mr. Boss now, either!
“I won’t work for you,” she said, her voice shaking slightly. “Even if you take my restaurant, you can’t make me work for you.”
“No?” Mr. Boss asked, lifting one eyebrow slightly. “I think, my poor, naive chef, that you’ll find you are wrong about that.” He leaned forward, and for a second Lailu saw a cold, hard rage fill his usually dead eyes, making him look slightly unhinged. She backed up half a step, suddenly afraid. “If you don’t pay up when I say to pay up, then you will be working for me forever, in pieces if necessary. After all, a chef doesn’t really need both ears, both eyes, both kidneys…”
How about you minions….er, I mean writers out there? How do you go about constructing your villains?