06 March 2019

What Cats Think About Heroes & Villains | IWSG

The Insecure Writer's Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It's a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there's an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they're struggling with what to say.

This month's question is:

"Whose perspective do you like to write from the best--the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? Why?"

Check out how people have answered this month's question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list here. You can see how I answered the question below. 

Editor's Note: I'm knee-deep in editing the latest installment in my cozy mystery series, so Simon the Time Traveling Cat volunteered to take over the blog and answer this month's IWSG question. Okay, okay. He didn't really "volunteer"--but the threat of a visit to the vet for shots and cutting off his supply of full-fat milk seemed to have motivated him to help out. So, without further ado, I'll turn things over to Simon.

* * *

This is ridiculous. Whoever heard of a cat answering questions about writing? It's not like we have opposable thumbs and can type on a keyboard or use a pen. Sure, I like knocking pens off of the table but writing with one, that's a different story. She set me up with some dictation device. Stupid technology.

By the way, I just coughed up a hairball on my human's pillow. That'll teach her to threaten me with the vet.

Hang on a second. That stupid lady is calling me. Normally, I'd ignore her, but she said something about catnip.

I'm back. For some reason, I'm feeling really relaxed. Maybe writing this blog post isn't such a bad idea after all.

Let's see, where were we. Oh, yeah. The human likes to write from the hero's perspective cause she writes in first person. How come no one ever writes in first cat? Why is everything so human-centric? First person, third person--enough with the person things.

I heard her tell the other human that lives with us--the tall one that sneaks me cat treats when the other human isn't looking--that she likes first person because it puts the reader in the narrator's head. Why would anyone want to be in Mollie McGhie's head? That's the hero of her cozy mysteries, by the way. She's a silly lady. Always going on and on about chocolate and murder investigations.

If it was me, I'd write the whole thing from the cat's perspective. Her name is Mrs. Moto and she's the real star of the series and way more interesting than Mollie. Without a doubt she'd be far better at describing the villains of the stories. By the way, it's always the dog that did it.

Okay. I met the stupid word count goal she set for me. Time for a nap, then a saucer of full-fat milk. Maybe some more of that catnip too.

Do you ever secretly root for the villain? Who's your favorite villain in a book, TV show, or movie?

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  1. I think writing about a cat would be from the villain's perspective. Especially after that hairball.

  2. D'you think catnip would help my writing too? ;)

  3. I think Mrs. Moto needs her own novella or short story, a companion of sorts to the series. At the very least. :)

  4. I'm voting for a Mrs. Moto mystery!

  5. Simon's right! You should definitely write a story from Mrs. Moto's point of view. (Or Simon's... that'd be a hoot!)

    I like the idea of humanizing (Sorry, Simon!) a villain to the extent that readers sympathize with him and pull for him to find redemption. (That's what I tried to achieve with my character Archie.)

  6. I agree with Alex. Cats are so complex and volley with whatever they choose. I never know if mine will lick or bite my hand :) Happy IWSG Day :)

  7. I love Simon's perspective! Maybe there should be a first-cat-pov. :)

  8. Cats certainly know evil. Good thing you have catnip on hand for Simon.

  9. As far as that goes, I think of cats (and dogs) as people too. Where would we be without them. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

  10. Catnip works wonders! :)
    I mostly write from the hero's pov but the villain's pov has its own brand of charm!

  11. I'd read a story from Mrs. Moto's POV! :) I write from the hero's POV, but I love getting into the villain's head.

  12. I have a lot of trouble getting into a villains head. But I’ll agree with Simon—looking at Molly and her shenanigans from Mrs. Moto’s POV would be a hoot! Might make a fun short for you between novels.

  13. I didn't like the dichotomy of that question, I guess because I don't write about good guys and villains. I like more nuanced people. Those who are both good, bad, beautiful and ugly. I connect to to those types more. And first person is super hard. (wink)

  14. This cracked me up. He would probably bite my fingers to get attention, so I'm okay with my cat licking. lol Alan Rickman as Hans Gruber in the original "Die Hard" has to be one of my favorite villains. Then, there's Mr. March in "American Horror Story: Hotel". Evan Peters is godly. Be well, and best wishes to Tickety Boo.

  15. I read a book series once that had a dog in it, and in the later books, we even got POV scenes from the dog. Those were the best part of the book. :) Somehow, I don't think Simon would have quite the friendly vibe that the dog did.

  16. I love first person, too! I don't know about first cat. Well, at least my cat. That'd be a pretty boring story. Nap, nap, eat, nap, groom, nap, eat, eat...

  17. Actually, the cat did a masterful job. I believe an extra ration of catnip is in order. Good luck with your edits.

  18. I have rooted for the villains before (usually in narcotics movies or series) and find that interesting. I'd love to write from a villain's perspective one day. That sounds like fun.

    You are making good progress there with your edits - fantastic! Can't wait for the last installment. Personally (to keep talking about person-things) I LOVE that you write the series in the first person.

    Sometimes I wonder whether I should eat some catnip... I'm a bit overwhelmed and stressed right now, and feeling guilty for not working on my memoir this month!

  19. I like the idea of a short story in Mrs. Moto's pov. Should be cat-astic. So glad to hear there will be another cozy mystery. I've so enjoyed the 1st 2. Good luck!

  20. I love Simon! At least he isn't planning to murder you in your sleep, which I think is SOP for cats, as a general rule.

    Who doesn't love villians? Michael Corleone. Bonnie & Clyde. Hannibal Lector. The Joker. Robert DiNiro in Heat. Just don't get on their bad side.

  21. One novel i read years ago had a woman in it who said she wanted to marry a man who could be a villian. Not one who was a villian, or who would be a villian, but one who had the personality and grit that if he chose to be one, he could pull it off. It certainly is an interesting idea.

  22. laughing, my Pinkie and Midnight agree it should be from a first cat perspective. I enjoy reading things from different perspectives but I tend to write as if the main person is talking mentally. So that's first person but I keep using the third person in the descriptions. I find it hard to keep to one point of view actually.

  23. Ok - so now here I am driving down potholed roads in Mexico thinking about my favorite villains...

    When that Robin Hood movie came out way back when starring Kevin Costner we went to the drive-in to see it. Costner was so bad that we went back a second time to root for the Sheriff of Nottingham - which was played by Allen Rickman.

    Allen Rickman always played the best villains. I miss him as Snape - one of my favorite villains.

    Another one of my favorite villains is Boyd Crowder in the TV series Justified. Timothy Olyphant is a fine actor and good looking and all that but his character is a bit full of himself and Boyd is just brilliant.

    Then there are good guys who'd I'd gladly root against - like John Snow in Game of Thrones. I'd root for The Hound over him any day - but maybe not Joffrey - It would depend on the situation.

    Gaius Baltar Is another wonderful villain. I'd definitely pick him over Lee Adama - but not over Starbuck. Starbuck is the best.

    And then there is Simon. I wouldn't call him a villain but he is a little self center and isn't always so nice - and, of course, almost everybody loves him!

  24. I love villains and writing from their perspective. Even a lot of my heroes tend to be anti-heroes. They're just more fun to write.

    Maybe that's why I love Simon so. He's definitely anti-hero-esque. Btw, I love that photo illustration, and Mrs. Moto is AWESOME.

  25. Mrs Moto for the win - or the sequel/spin-off written in first cat perspective by Simon the anti-heroic writer(high on catnip).

    I've experimented with 'villain POV' but I'm currently writing a first person POV female detective - heroic with faults.


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