Becoming Lucifer

(This post originally appeared in October 2013 on The Qwillery)

Writing a fully three-dimensional character isn’t an easy task to begin with, but when you’re writing from the point of view of consummate evil? Trust me, it can be even tougher. And slimy-er. And just plain ickier.

That was the challenge I faced in writing the ultimate villain in the Grigori Legacy, because…well, folks, they don’t come much badder than Lucifer himself. Or with much more mythological baggage that just about everyone is familiar with. The trick, then, was to make him my Lucifer. To put my own, fresh twist on him so that he became more than just an angel who fell from God’s grace and ended up in hell. To make him a three-dimensional character, I had to know him inside and out; to know what his motivations were for making the choices he did; to ask why…and not stop asking until I reached the very core of his answers.

I tried all my usual tricks: I did up a character sketch; I interviewed him; I let my subconscious brood over him. But I still fell short of where I wanted to be. He was holding too much back. Refusing to open up and let me in. So I did the only thing I could.

I wrote a scene from his point of view in first person, which meant crawling right…inside…his head. And Lucifer’s head? Not a place you want to be. Seriously.

But it worked. I emerged from that writing session feeling distinctly unsettled. Rattled, even. But I knew my villain. I knew why he had fallen—why he had chosen to fall. I knew what drove him, what he thought, what he felt. I knew him. I’d wanted goal, motivation, and conflict? I had it in spades…and Lucifer had the three-dimensionality I’d wanted to give him.

I employed the same technique several more times, until writing him became comfortable. By the time he got his big scene in Sins of the Lost, he and I were working together like a well-oiled machine. Writing in first person POV was no longer necessary, because by then, I was Lucifer.

And we are so not discussing what that says about me… O.O

 

 

 


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