Creating Believable Villains: A Tasty Recipe
Villains. They’re the bad guys of our stories who are devoted to wickedness. They have specific goals and will stop at nothing to reach them.
Are you as driven to write them as compelling characters?
Before we dive into the dark, murky depths of the villain pool we should first take a look at the opposite end of the watering hole. Because that’s where, on a sandy beach bathed glorious sunshine stands … The Hero.
Villain vs. Antogonist
An antagonist (someone who merely opposes the hero) simply makes waves for the hero.
The antagonist and the hero, while having views that differ, are not necessarily enemies.
Well, what’s the difference between a villain and an antagonist?
Villains are used to create tension in a story. They also provide much-needed hurdles for the hero to overcome during his journey.
Unlike antagonists, villains are sociopathic and narcissistic, and they can be quite unpredictable. Villains often use fear to get their way.
And they absolutely must have a reason to do what they do.
Think of real-life villains. What makes them so creepy and scary?
Readers must be able to identify with the villain. Perhaps he has an interest in animals, or children. Maybe he’s a devoted church member, or the hero’s letter carrier. Maybe the villain is the babysitter for the good guy’s children.
– Villains are extremely motivated to do what they do.
– Over the top villains are unbelievable.
Believable make-believe should be your goal.
When should you first bring your villain to the page?
Those were just a few basic guidelines for creating a compelling villain. If all else fails you could follow a simple recipe I concocted. It goes something like this (Of course, like all good cooks I’ve kept a few secret ingredients to myself).
For a special treat, top with a sprinkling of chopped character flaw just prior to serving.
*This article was re-posted by request.
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Outstanding and insightful. Thanks so much.