To some extent I’ve touched on this in other blogs. When you talk about Chicklit heroes, you can’t get away from villains, because within this genre the guy who looks like the prince is often the toad. Working out which is which can form a massive part of the story.
The genre is unusual, in so much as you don’t need a villain to create the plot. It helps but it’s not absolutely necessary. Chicklit bad boys seldom tie the heroine to railway tracks or blackmail her or poison her relatives, though sometimes we wish he would. Often, he’s a classic example of the kind of man fallen for and never understood; the man who acts interested but then doesn’t text back, the guy who dumps us without a reason, or the love of our life who tells us he can’t commit, then marries a finalist from America’s Next Top Matchstick.
In general, the key to a chicklit villain is that he doesn’t care, or he cares in a way that makes us unhappy. He is always charming and on some level false. Once we know what he’s like, we ‘re generally shouting at the heroine to stop loving him, only she can’t because he represents something she lacks. And that’s a situation we all understand..
Of course, the enemy is not always the male who doesn’t care. Check out The Devil Wears Prada, where the obvious nasty is our heroine’s boss, Miranda Priestly. From bitches to witches, bad girls are just as much fun as bad boys. Whoever your villain is, don’t let them get too heavy; remember Sex and the City, where Aleksandr hits Carrie and gets his just desserts from Mr Big? That’s the point at which the romcom element is almost over, and something more serious is taking its place. It may be a lot of things, but it’s not funny.
Usually, chicklit life is a comedy of errors. In Do Not Lick The Phones, it’s the funny circumstances and mistakes that make the story. If there’s any real danger at all, it lies in what Britney may become if she lets herself. There is a tiny element of seduction…but I’ll leave that for you to discover.
So when it comes to villains./villainesses of course they should add flavour and plot, Let them be as real and recogniseable as it takes to be ridiculous. If they spark you up, chances are the readers will feel the same. Love them, hate them, laugh at them, but most of all, enjoy them. Treated well, they’ll make your story pop!
Thank you, Britney, for the delightful post!
For more on Britney Bronte and her debut novel "Do Not Lick The Phones", you can visit the following: her website, Facebook, and Twitter.