Reply To: Villain appearances, a discussion

Forums Fiction Characters Villain appearances, a discussion Reply To: Villain appearances, a discussion

Taylor Clogston

@rose-colored-fancy┬áBoth “evil on the outside, evil on the inside” villains (your Darth Vaders and Witch Kings) and “pristine on the outside, evil on the outside” villains (your suave serial killer in a spotless suit, your red-lipped, voluptuous, evil queen) are tropes I’m pretty tired of in fantasy. It’s entirely possible to design interesting-looking characters without always betraying their entire dark side or the fact that they’re trying to desperately hide their entire dark side. Thanos and Loki had great designs, and a large part of that was not just showing them in one war outfit 24/7.

People want their heroes to be pretty and their villains to be ugly or scary. People like pretty people and dislike ugly people on reflex. It’s unfortunate and it’s wrong, but it’s the truth. I received more than one angry review on one of the last series I tried to write because I went out of my way to make the love interest ordinary looking and the main character actively ugly. My first reviewer went so far as to tell me it’s bad writing not to have a female love interest be described as the most beautiful woman in the world. (I don’t write on that site any more)

Lots of readers are dumb and want dumb things. Everyone judges others based on first impressions, and some people are dumb enough to rest on those first impressions.

Not all of them are. Write for people with enough wisdom and compassion to not demand heroes be pretty and villains be ugly.

"...the one with whom he so sought to talk has already interceded for him." -The Master and Margarita

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