Saturday, October 22, 2022

Round Robin Blog Fest October 2022 - Our 100th!!


It’s our 100th Round Robin Blog Fest Post!

Thank you to Robin Courtright for giving us some head scratching questions over the years! I don’t know about the others, but there have been a few that have made me really have to step outside what I’d normally write and think hard.

Congratulations to Robin and the whole Blog Fest Gang!

That brings us to this month’s question:

Have any of your villainous characters reached redemption for their actions? If you were going to do this, how would you go about it?

Since I write mysteries, my books usually end once the villain/bad guy/antagonist is caught and is carted off to jail! To be honest, I’ve never thought about what it would look like if the villainous character reached redemption for his/her actions. Here’s where I need to step a bit out of my usual box of crime is committed, sleuth investigates, crime is solved, villain goes to prison and they all live happily ever after!

Or do they?

At the start of my Wild Blue Mysteries, The Bookstore Lady, we have Gerard Maddox who we know from the start of the book is one of the main bad guys who is out to get Katie Mullins, one of the protagonists. He’s a villain with a soft spot for Katie after she’s worked with his company and he’s had an affair with her. The heroes catch him, put him in jail, and life goes on.

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Until in book 5, The Conned Lady, he’s released from jail on a technicality and disappears. He’s a big part of why Katie has to live in fear, but certainly not the worst of her troubles. In the end, there is no redemption. Not for him.

With so many baddies being locked away in my mysteries, surely there might be one who could redeem themselves. Right?

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We have my favorite villain from my Gilda Wright Mysteries. Gary del Garda doesn’t flat out commit crimes on the page, not that my protagonist Gilda ever sees. He’s a mobster and all-around baddie who the whole town watches out for. In turn, he looks out for Gilda after making a pledge to her police officer father when he was killed in the line of duty. I suppose becoming her father figure, is the only way Gary thinks he can atone for some of the crimes he’s committed and—so far—gotten away with.

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Perhaps the latest villainous character in Dead Man’s Doll may stand a slim chance as well. Her anger and need for vengeance took over any rational thinking she had left, plus she was running out of time. She’d tried to join the local coven, more to get information and an in with the locals than support, but… What if she managed to change her ways and decided to fix things for her family’s sake? For her own peace of mind?

The key to having a bad guy redeem themselves in fiction is that it has to be believable. If someone terrorizes a town then comes back and decides to start a greenhouse and grow flowers to plant along the busy streets, characters are going to talk – and check the potting soil. There has to be a solid reason for the change and a deep seeded (more plant jokes) reason for them to want to do right by the people they wronged.

Hm…on that note, I’m going to do a little more thinking and see who else could plausibly have a change of heart and redeem themselves to the family of their victim, and to the sleuth who foiled their nefarious plans.

Please join the rest of the Blog Fest gang and find out what their villains are up to!

Skye Taylor

Judith Copek

Connie Vines

A.J. Maguire

Dr. Bob Rich

Robin Courtright



  1. The key to having a bad guy redeem themselves in fiction is that it has to be believable. I just do not like the villain(s) in my own stories. Diane, I enjoyed your post :-)

  2. Definitely has to be believable, else you upset your readers. a workshop on creating villains I went to years ago, the speaker said villains have to be believable - there's that word again - and no one is either all bad, or all good so even your villain needs to have a characteristic or two that would be considered good. The example suggested then was that even the mob enforcer loves his mother and would do anything for her.... With that in mind, I guess, except for the truly psychopathic villains who have totally twisted brains, there has to be some redeeming characteristic that one can work with if you wanted to.

  3. You are right, they cannot just change, they have to have something happen to change them. Your character Gary del Garda, while not going through total redemption, does have a change of heart and perhaps perspective.


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