Monday, July 01, 2013

Guest Blog by Jay Posey, author of Three - Bad Guys Are People Too - July 1, 2013

Please welcome Jay Posey to The Qwillery as part of the 2013 Debut Author Challenge Guest Blogs. Three (Legends of the Duskwalker 1) will be published on July 30, 2013 in the US/Canada and on August 1, 2013 in the UK by Angry Robot Books.

Bad Guys Are People Too

        I’ve been a Professional Doer of Words for a while now (going on a decade if you count the time that I was doing it full-time and not getting paid), and one of the things I learned very early on is that a character who is evil for evil’s sake is less of what we call a “character” and more of a LAZY THING TO DO AND YOU SHOULD NEVER DO IT EVER.

        Which, like all NEVER rules, isn’t strictly true. An emotionless evil-for-the-sake-of-evil character can be terrifying in the proper context (say, horror, for example), but by and large if you’re trying to write something with Compelling Characters™, it’s counter-productive to put the antagonist in the “bad guy” box and not give her or him or it or frnyrx a soul. A two-dimensional bad guy is still just as flat and boring and predictable as a two-dimensional protagonist. And without an interesting antagonist, stories just aren’t all they could be. This is the point in the post where I make the obligatory Batman/Joker, Sherlock Holmes/Professor Moriarty, Kirk/Khan reference. (Also obligatory: Khaaaaaan!)

        All of this is a long-winded way of saying, when I started writing Three I was well aware of the fact that Bad Guys Are People Too. And in Three there are a lot of bad guys. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was to find a Bad Guy that would become so much of a person that I would find myself rooting for him. His name is Dagon.

        I was actually pretty pleased with how most of my characters turned out. I know the Bad Guys well enough to know they don’t really think of themselves as Bad Guys. Hopefully that comes across to the readers. They all have wants and desires, and some they get and some they don’t. They have a certain skill set and they provide certain services that other people are willing to pay for, so in a post-apocalyptic world, they’re really not any different than anybody else that’s doing what it takes to get by. As far as they’re concerned, at least.

        But Dagon stands apart from everyone else in my mind because he is, perhaps, a tragic hero in his own story. A man with good intentions who can’t quite build up the courage to make the hard choices, who can’t quite sacrifice a part of himself for the good of someone he loves, and who finds himself compelled to keep doing things he doesn’t really want to do. Or maybe who is compelled to keep doing things he does want to do, all the while wishing he didn’t want to do them.

        He has his own story that developed over the course of the writing of Three, and it was much deeper than I ever expected it to be. He was one of those cases where I felt like I wasn’t creating a character so much as discovering one.

        Dagon is, in many ways, a man who never reaches his full potential because he is constantly undermining himself. He knows what the right thing to do is, he just can’t quite bring himself to always do it.

        Which just might be about the most human thing in the world.

About Three

Series:  Legends of the Duskwalker 1
Publisher:  Angry Robot Books, July 30, 2013 (US/Canada)
      August 1, 2013 (UK)
Format:  Mass Market Paperback and eBook, 480 pages
Price:  $7.99 (print US)
ISBN:  9780857663634 (print US)

The world has collapsed, and there are no heroes any more.

But when a lone gunman reluctantly accepts the mantle of protector to a young boy and his dying mother against the forces that pursue them, a hero may yet arise.

File Under: Science Fiction [ Three For All | Apocalyptic Wasteland | A Journey Home | Fear the Weir ]

About Jay

Jay is a narrative designer, author, and screenwriter by trade. He started working in the video game industry in 1998, and has been writing professionally for over a decade. Currently employed as Senior Narrative Designer at Red Storm Entertainment, he’s spent around eight years writing and designing for Tom Clancy’s award-winning Ghost Recon and Rainbow Six franchises.

A contributing author to the book Professional Techniques for Video Game Writing, Jay has lectured at conferences, colleges, and universities, on topics ranging from basic creative writing skills to advanced material specific to the video game industry.

You can find him online at his website,, as well as on Twitter (@HiJayPosey).


  1. Cooool. Sounds good. The cover reminds me of an action packed fighting game. :) I like that!

  2. Dagon was an absolutely fabulous character! I am always rooting for the bad guy and he was definitely one that stole my heart. He suffered from the "get in my own fucking way" syndrome. If a book doesn't have excellently written villains then it undermines the whole piece.