Ever have difficulty when it comes to writing in that nasty, deceitful, vicious character?  

Hopefully, this post will help you come to terms with the DEVIOUS nature of the details your character needs.


1. Not straightforward; shifty: a devious character.

2. Departing from the correct or accepted way; erring: achieved success by devious means.

3. Deviating from the straight or direct course; roundabout:  a devious route.

4. Away from a main road or course; distant or removed.

* * *

When I hear the word “devious,” I think back to the cartoon character Snidely Whiplash, a mean and conniving man, always out to get his own way.

Some of the definitions above give an idea of what a devious character might look like to your reader:  shifty, veering off course, ignoring the straight and narrow, breaking rules, and there are many more.

The list of synonyms found at The Free Dictionary is intriguing and filled with possibilities for character development:

1. slyschemingcalculatingtrickycrooked (informal), indirect, treacherous, dishonest, wily, 
insidiousevasivedeceitfulunderhandinsinceresurreptitiousdouble-dealing, not straightforward.

She tracked down the other woman by devious means.
sly directstraightfrankstraightforwardblunthonestdownrightcandidforthright

2. indirectroundaboutwanderingcrookedramblingtortuousdeviatingcircuitous,

He followed a devious route.

* * *

Using some of these words to describe a person or a group offers a good practice session.  Give it a try!

Image attributions may be found by clicking on the image.

14 thoughts on “The Devil’s in the Details!

  1. Hi there! Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! Did you read and comment on my latest post? πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the tips!

    1. Morgan, I stopped by and commented on your dreams post. Was there another up that I missed? Not too worry — I’ll be baaaack! πŸ™‚ Thanks for coming by here.

  2. Good ole Snidley….who could ever win against Dudley Do Right (which I don’t really no how to spell properly). I have always found that my favorite devious characters were those who were so matter of fact in their deviousness that you almost don’t realize that they are until it slaps you in the fact at the halfway or 3/4 point of a story or a book. Then I’m “No, not you!”

    1. Ashley, you have said some of what I was thinking as I wrote about the word “devious” — those characters that surprise you. They start out good, you like them, and THEN . . .

  3. Sherrey, this immediately caught my eye. My protagonist is a complex character, to say the least. Deviousness is only one trait. But he doesn’t start off that way, not entirely – the challenge is to have a traumatic incident shift his life completely off its axis, and that’s when the fun starts. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Belinda, can’t wait to meet your protagonist. Sounds like one interesting character with an intriguing story. Thanks for stopping by!

  4. Very interesting thank you – achieving success by devious means! The definitions are useful thank you. Great thread – looking forward to “e’ –

    1. “[A]chieving success by devious means” really bothered me, but then perhaps that’s what a character really is doing. We’ve seen enough of it in our own world today, haven’t we? Thanks for your continuing support.

  5. I like scheming and wily. Great traits to have in your devious characters. Stopping by from the A to Z list. Can you believe we’re almost at the end of the first week already. Flying by πŸ™‚

    1. I like scheming and wily too! Hehehe! My first time on the A to Z challenge, and I’m enjoying it. It has sort of pushed an envelope for me to write something other than my memoir type writings. No, I can’t believe we’re near the end of the first week! πŸ™‚

Comments are now closed.