Monday, January 25, 2016

Tips on Writing a Great Villain by Shilpa Suraj

How the bad guy (almost) won!

For someone who normally wrote straight up romances, trying my hand at a romantic thriller was to put it mildly, challenging. I got off to a flying start, albeit a murderous, bloody one. Aria and Karan, my protagonists, met under less than pleasant circumstances and sparks flew, along with quite a bit of blood and gore. And then we settled into our story, the three of us….them with the crime and romance to wade through, me with the writing of it.
For someone who has led a very sedate, straight and narrow life, trying to plot an intricate and tricky fraud leading to multiple murder story was...words fail me…and when words fail an author, it’s kind of a problem. Just a teensy one. Teensy-weensy, pain in the you-know-what one.
So I got Aria and Karan to cool their heels a bit while I spent time racking my brains, chewing other people’s brains and generally trying to figure out how a criminal brain would work. Life went on in both the fictional and real world until we stumbled, charged and sometimes desperately ran towards our finale. Days away from typing The End, I realized my villain was, well for want of a better word, stupid. So back to the drawing board I went, Karan and Aria’s eyes boring accusing holes into my back, they’d been interrupted mid steamy scene by my epiphany and were not amused.
This time, my re-worked, spruced up villain came back to do a much more credible job of being a murderous sleaze and we picked up where we left off – mid-steam – and ran with it towards the climax, pun intended.
All jokes aside, while being one of the more challenging things I’ve attempted, this book has also been a lot of fun to write. Stepping out of my comfortable box and trying my hand at something new has taught me a lot. Key learnings being:

- Research is key to everything you do.
- Speaking to people in the relevant field will net you a goldmine of information that all the surfing on the internet can’t.
- Your villain needs to be smart or the protagonists aren’t going to have any fun outwitting him.
- I’m really not cut out for a life of crime. I am in one word – a stupid criminal….ahh well, three words! J

About Shilpa Suraj:
Shilpa was a year and a half when she was first introduced to the world of books. Her mother would park her with a picture book on the floor of the kitchen while she finished her cooking for the day. While it’s no longer the kitchen floor, you can still find her tucked away in a cosy nook somewhere with her nose buried in a book. While books in all genres interest her, it was romance that captured her heart. While racing through every romantic fiction book she could beg, borrow or buy, her overactive imagination started to work overtime and weave its own stories. Years in the corporate world followed by a stint of entrepreneurship crystallised her belief that all she really wanted to do was give life to the stories bubbling inside of her. She briefly managed to tear herself away from the world of fiction to find her own personal happily ever after and now spends her time happily focusing on the two loves of her life – family and writing romances.

Know more at:


The Girl He Left Behind

Rescued By Love


  1. Hahaha. Romantic thrillers take writing to a torturous new level because they require us to be true to a story, specifically construction of detail in a narrative and the characters. It's as much bout the physicality as the emotional depth of characters. So, welcome to the club :D

  2. Words and fail you, Ms. Suraj? Nevah! Sexy thrillers with all the heat and plenty of action is guaranteed :D