Thursday, March 31, 2011

Block Party: Mean Peoples.

The mean people of the world can bring everybody down. K.M. Walton (who's debut novel CRACKED--about two boys, a bully and his victim, whose very different circumstances at home have led them to become roommates in the same psych ward-- will be released in Spring of 2012 by Simon Pulse!!!) has agreed to grace us with her presence and so a post about crafting the perfect meanie. She is represented by the epic Sarah LaPolla from Curtis Brown Ltd.

It’s hard to be around mean people. I'm not kidding when I say mean people suck. You know the kind: pot-stirrers, nasty thinkers, back-stabbers, hateful meanies, talk-behind-your-backers. And phony-baloneys are the worst of the mean people.

Well now that we’ve established that mean people suck let me tantalize you with this thought: The actions and characteristics of mean people make captivating characters. Don't they? We writers love drama and tension in our writing. Without the jerky characters we'd be left with Barney and rainbows.


While reading through the first draft of my first-ever-novel, complete with a really bad, bad guy, I thought – hey, why is this dude so bad? He can’t just be bad for badness sake. That would be so hollow of him. So un-interesting. The poor guy needed motivation and distinct character traits and some dang good reasons for his evilness. I went back to the drawing board and carefully crafted his personality. His quirks. Him. I gave the bad guy just as much attention as my main character. When I read the manuscript now he feels alive to me, and deep and rich with development, and not at all “Oh, he’s just a bad guy’ish.”

I mean, bad guys captivate. The dark characters draw you in. Imagine a world that cruelly hawked Star Wars without Darth, or Harry without Voldemort, or Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle) without her idiot parents, or Jack & Rose without Cal, or Austin without Dr. Evil...

I don't want to live in that world. No way.

I want my evil dude to be interesting and a little complicated. You know, like a real human being - even though he’s actually not a human being, but, whatever, you get my point.

But, REAL mean people still totally and completely suck rotten eggs.

~Kate Walton

K.M. Walton

CRACKED~Simon Pulse/Simon&Schuster~Spring 2012

TEACHING NUMERACY: 9 Critical Habits to Ignite Mathematical Thinking (co-author) ~Corwin Press~April 2011


Twitter: KMWalton1

Thank you so very much Kate!! And to all our readers I advise you go follow her, her posts are always interesting and to be frank she rocks. So the only logical thing to do is go and read all her posts from here on out!! ~ Hayley


  1. I agree - the best villans are the ones that are well-formed and multi-dimensional.

    CRACKED sounds really interesting. I look forward to reading it in 2012!

  2. There's something powerful about an EVIL EVIL villain (Voldy) but I also like bad guys who aren't all the way bad (and good guys who aren't all the way good ;) ) Thanks for posting, Kate!

  3. Love this post! So true. I have a problem making my evil people evil enough, I'm back to the drawing board for backgrounding.

  4. Thanks for having me here! I was honored when Hayley asked.

  5. As a kid, it's hard to understand why people are mean. As a teacher, part of your job is uncovering these foundations. Since you have experience in both areas, I think CRACKED will have some very interesting perspectives on bullying that may get overlooked.

    When I read, I scrutinize every page for a glimpse of hope that, just maybe, there is some good to the villain. My parents continue to tease me because I would defend the villains in every movie I watched growing up. If only I had taken it a step further like Gregory Maguire...

    And yes, mean people most definitely suck!

  6. Hi Kate--waving to you! Excellent post, and yes real meanies suck but fictional ones are a necessity! <3 ya girl!

  7. I'm so happy you agreed Kate, thank you so much!!