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Monday, 15 December 2014

Ooh! I Feel Wicked

Wicked - The Musical
The reason I feel wicked is because I’ve just had a fabulous afternoon at the Edinburgh Playhouse Theatre, watching Wicked. The musical was one of the most entertaining I’ve seen for some time, and the storyline was ingenious, revealing a different take on the Wicked Witch of the West featured in L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz. Oh, and I really connected with the Wicked Witch of the West, more than I did with Glinda. So, after watching the show, if you had a choice of being wicked or good, what would you choose?

My granddaughter loved the show

To take it further, if I gave you the choice of which character you would want to play in one of my books, what would you choose? When I left my last job to concentrate on being a full time writer, I did a survey of everyone in the department. And, because I worked in a senior position in a Local Authority, that was a lot of people. Without fail, everyone said they would rather be the villain than the hero. And I must admit that in most visual shows, such as films or television, the baddies do seem to have the roles with more depth to them.

But how easy is it to write from the villain’s point of view? And how many villains are truly bad? In fact, if you go to see Wicked, you’ll find out that the heroine is the Wicked Witch of the West, and Glinda, the Good Witch, is far from being perfect.

As a crime writer, who writes in a multi-viewpoint style, I often have to get inside the villain’s head, and into their skin. It’s the only way characters come alive. So, it can be quite an uncomfortable experience. However, no character is totally bad, and even good characters have their flaws.

Let me tell you about Tony, a really bad guy who has a large role in Dead Wood, Book 2 of the Dundee Crime Series. He’s a Mr Big, who runs his own little crime empire in the Scottish city of Dundee. You wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Tony, and he does some vicious things. One of his operations is the night club, Teasers, and he is not averse to taking advantage of the pole dancers who work there (that’s putting it politely). I won’t go into all the the things he gets up to because I wouldn’t want to spoil the book for you.
However, Tony has his good side as well. Despite his activities with his pole dancers, he regards these as simply diversions, and in his mind is loyal to his wife. He has a strong sense of family, and has a strong protective streak as far as they are concerned, therefore the anguish he feels when his daughter is murdered, is palpable.
I must admit I have a soft spot for Tony. But that’s maybe because I’m wicked!

Chris Longmuir



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