August 29, 2022 at 3:58 pm #152517Arindown (Gracie)@arindown
It’s been ages since I’ve been on SE, so there are a lot of new people to meet as well as old faces I’m so happy to see still around. 😉
Tell me about your villains! I’ve been working through arc/backstory/motivation for some of my antagonists lately, and I want to hear everything about yours.
Info dump away. XD
"If I'm gonna break, I'll break like the dawn." -NightbirdeAugust 30, 2022 at 1:56 am #152523solanelle@calidris
@arindown ooh thanks for the tag!
Well, tbh my villains are so far really underdeveloped, but I do have quite a few concepts I want to develop:
1. One of my characters, Basil, is a prototype super-soldier who was raised in a lab. So, obviously we have a very cold and inhumane environment here, but the lab staff always really fascinated me. On the one hand, you know they’re caught up in something very wrong, but you almost get the impression that a lot of them kind of dug too deep, and are now trapped. A lot of Basil’s staff are kind to him, and try to make him as comfortable as possible. While it’s an inherently inhumane environment, no one is deliberately cruel to him, and you kind of have to wonder what drove these staff to live and work in such an environment in the first place.
One doctor, Vitus Corvo, is a war criminal from the previous conflict who was captured at the end and forced to work on this program (inspired by the Nazi scientists we and the Soviet Union captured at the end of WWII). So, he’s objectively a horrible person who was involved in very horrible things, but in some ways he’s a sympathetic antagonist because he had no choice in this particular matter. He’s had a lot of influence on Basil’s program, and is very fond of him (albeit in a twisted sense – Basil is his experiment). As Basil grows up, Dr. Corvo starts losing control to another, less gentle department, and is powerless to stop them from treating Basil harshly. I think he feels a lot of guilt over this, and I think this really helped him to start seeing Basil as more of a person than a weapon. Basil ends up being dumped on the streets after failing a major inspection, and I believe that was Dr. Corvo’s last, desperate attempt to save him.
2. My protagonists Kit and Val are both from very powerful, wealthy families, and so in many ways the rigid social structure is an antagonist in their arcs. Kit and Val were both orphaned as babies in a string of assassinations and adopted into other powerful families, and that’s had a huge ripple effect on this social circle (Kit’s brother Milo was also orphaned, and all of his siblings were split up between different families – he has a whole biological family he’s never me, and that’s been very painful for him.) So, obviously, I want to develop the assassinations more, especially because it’s had a semi recent impact on the plot – eventually, Kit’s adopted parents were both killed as well, and his eldest brother Eli (only barely an adult) had to fight tooth and nail to prevent his family from being split up as well. He was manipulated, threatened, and intimidated by much older adults, and although he won in the end, he had a nervous breakdown and never fully recovered. I’m not really sure how to develop it…but I feel like it might impact the story even more in the end.
Not all of the adoptions were out of good will – there was definitely an underlying desire to “assimilate” kids from certain families into ones’ own, and that’s precisely where Val’s conflict with her parents comes from. At least one (maybe both) of Val’s parents desperately wanted to adopt Kit, and adopted Val as a second choice. They never stopped wanting Kit though, so in many ways Val felt like she was losing her parent’s affection to an outsider (and in many ways, she was – she was emotionally neglected growing up.) For a long time, they’d even pressured her to consider him as a future spouse, in hopes of bringing him into the family through marriage. All of this led to Val building up a lot of resentment towards both Kit and her parents, which she’ll have to come to terms with as she works more closely with Kit.
Kit has a couple of antagonists/villains. One, Alastor, maliciously shared an extremely personal secret that ended up getting Kit ostracized from this shared circle. Alastor seems like an intimidating villain at first, but in reality he’s a deeply insecure and emotionally immature bully who wants to be seen as far more intimidating than he really is. Kit eventually sees him for what he truly is and lets go of this early on, denying Alastor the opportunity to further impact his life.
Sebastian Thorne though…
Oh boy XD
Sebastian is probably my FAVORITE antagonist in Spire, because he’s both scary and so genuinely fun (but also very depressing.) Out of all of the characters, I think Sebastian is the most villainous, but even I have a hard time believing it sometimes because he’s just so warm and friendly. Sebastian is Kit’s “closest enemy,” and although the two have established that they’ll always be at odds, they genuinely do enjoy each other’s company (their rivalry isn’t personal at all). The two are very similar in many ways – quick witted, extroverted, stylish, and spectacularly flamboyant, and Sebastian was actually one of the few people who wasn’t put off by Kit’s secret. As the story progresses, the two find themselves at odds yet again…although this time, the stakes are getting higher and higher. The similarities between them make them formidable and yet highly predictable opponents, which only adds more tension as the social game starts turning into a rather deadly game of cat-and-mouse.
Although Sebastian is friendly, extroverted, and sociable, he lacks a moral compass and is both crafty and treacherous. However, he does have a strict code of honor – he’ll never hurt women, children, or disabled people (even going so far as to warning Val – who is both female and autistic – to stay out of his interactions with Kit.) By contrast, Kit has a very strong moral compass, but no code of honor XD Sebastian does end up drugging and interrogating Kit, putting him through some mild torture in the process (and even tries lying about it to Val to make it seem like Kit simply drank too much and got black-out drunk, although Val is far too perceptive to believe him.)
The thing is, Sebastian doesn’t actually see anything wrong about what he did – he and Kit have already established their dynamic as enemies, so what else did he expect? It’s not like he hates Kit or anything, he’s just using him to achieve his own goals (just as Kit was trying to use Sebastian to achieve his goals.) I think that’s what makes Sebastian so interesting to me. He’s got such a twisted worldview, and I think it comes from a place of deep despair – he’s got no morals, no love, no hope, and yet he continues to dig himself deeper and deeper into this hole. He’s living a very hedonistic lifestyle, and I think he’s really being motivated by some combination of greed and extreme, suffocating boredom – I think he’s some sort of double agent, who’ll side with whoever can pay him the most money. So, when it comes to his motivations, background, and worldview, he’s a direct foil for Kit!
But, enough about my villains. Tell me about yours!
*laughs as one fey*August 30, 2022 at 12:25 pm #152524Arindown (Gracie)@arindown
First off…wow. Just wow.
You pretty much just sold me on whatever books you are ever going to write. XD Like, the pain? Ahh. I do not regularly fall in love with other people’s characters but I NEED Sebastien and Dr. Corvo and Baassilll. *pleading face*
And then Kit and Val. *heart eyes* What even??? Kit seeing Alastor for who he truly is… ;(
Why have I never really asked you about this before??? I was missing out.
I have so many villains, haha. But my favorites are Jake and Cierth and Jamrey.
Jake is the villain in my first series…he was in the special forces (think fantasy Navy SEALS) when he was young. He gave everything to it, only to realize that the country he was fighting for is terribly prejudiced and proud. He got disillusioned and risked his life to get out. I love him so much because he’s kinda got a heart of gold in a villainous way. He’s very perceptive about people…he always sees people’s greatest potential. The reason he leaves his home-country is because he trains one of my MC’s (Ky) to be in the special forces only to have the country say ‘No,’ because the Ky is from an “inferior nation.” That pushes Jake over the top, because he’s really all honor and selflessness inside, even though it comes out wrong. His best friend tries to stop him from leaving the country, and Jake has to hurt him to get away.
20 years later, Jake comes back to his home-country with an army to conquer it, and finds out that his best friend is still alive but blind because of what Jake did to him. He also finds out that Ky actually did make it into the special forces and is now the opposing general. I think this is when Jake really chooses to be a villain because he sees that he was wrong but he chooses to try to conquer them all anyway. It breaks his heart at the same time as he truly believes in his cause.
I think mostly the reason Jake sticks with his new ideals is not because he’s power hungry (he’s practically the opposite), but because of Cierth (who is my favorite villain). Jake is attracted to powerful people (he dated the most powerful, sneaky girl in his home-country once) and he just admires Cierth too much to ever quit on him.
Cierth fascinates me because he’s not like any other villain I have. He’s the villain of the second series and was born into civil-war. When he was in his late teens he decided to end the fighting by putting himself (with Jake’s help) on the throne. But instead of doing it the way anyone else would, he did it by being so dynamic that he really convinced his whole nation he is the God of War. He has everyone convinced that his secret agents are the embodiment of death and that it’s impossible to overthrow him because that would be war…which is really the essence of himself so it would just make him stronger.
He’s such a fun character to write because he’s such a moody boy but he’s also such a vibe. XD He loves symbolism and he knows how to dress like a god of war and act like one too. He loves two things: his country and his wife. He also loves himself, but in a twisted way that makes him actually a bit honorable. I like to think he’s a bit like Loki, but with Thorin Oakenshield’s presence. Cierth is who he is, and it’s terrifying. XD
Something both Jake and Cierth have in common is their respect of anyone who dares challenge them. Neither of them take power for granted. They’re the type of villains that would kill another leader and then salute them for standing strong until the end.
Jamrey is an antagonist more than a “villain.” I love him so much. 😉 He is the son of Jake’s best friend (who Jake blinded). When he was a little kid there was an accident in special forces and his older brother died. It really hurt his dad, so Jamrey has spent his whole life trying to “help” and live up to some standard he thinks will make his dad happy. Unfortunately it’s Ky (the same MC Jake trained) that is the one who helps Jamrey’s dad heal, which makes Jamrey really jealous. He covers it up by always being the best he can at everything, until finally Ky takes Jamrey’s position as general of the army and Jamrey starts a civil war out of anger (right as they’re already trying to fight Jake *palmface*). He ends up losing and being sentenced to treason and death…but I’m not sure of the outcome. He will definitely get a redemption arc if I can help it. 😉 Poor boy. I love how Ky always sees the best in Jamrey tho. Even when Jamrey hates him, Ky respects him as a soldier. He tells their queen that any special forces general can make the country survive the war but “Jamrey will win it.” I am a panster, so I don’t know, but I hope Jamrey gets the chance to prove Ky right. *sniffling*
Sooo. There’s my ramble. Haha. XD All my poor boys that needed a bit of extra love at some point and they prolly all needed Gandalf to tell them when they were getting off track. 🙂 Oh well. Somebody has to be the villain.
"If I'm gonna break, I'll break like the dawn." -NightbirdeAugust 30, 2022 at 9:05 pm #152537Noah Cochran@noah-cochran
Hey Gracie, saw my tag and figured I should drop by.
I’m currently plotting three series in my head at once right now (probably not a wise thing to do) but those antagonists aren’t developed as much, so I’ll talk about my current WIP. I love central villains, but I also love antagonists that are morally gray in that they are protagonists sometimes, and antagonists sometimes. My central antagonists come in the form of an organization known as the Dark Hand (set in medieval Europe by the way). Its symbol is a hand inscribed ink. Each finger is elongated and transforms into a tower as it ascends. The middle tower is crowned in white. Heading the Dark Hand is the Council. Each counsel member had a title bringing with it specific tasks: The Lord of the Court, The Master of the Question, The Lady of the Word, and the Master of Eviction. Each council member administers responsibilities to two or more lieutenants. Above the council is an individual known as “The Liege.” The Dark Hand’s goal is to bring about an event called the Purging.
Some of the aforementioned people I give little background on; I make their motivations purely power lust or avarice. Most of them, however, I give complex motivations. One of them lost their family to political butchery, and now seeks to cleanse the central European world. Whatever that means. :p
As for the gray characters, one act with truly good intentions in book one, but by book two, he has snaps and slaughters members of the Dark Hand indiscriminately. Another helps the protagonists much, but also manipulates them to his own ends.
What about you? What villains have you been working on?
I must say, I love what I read about Sebastien. Very intriguing.September 2, 2022 at 9:13 am #152602Rose@rose-colored-fancy
Hey Arindown! It’s awesome to see you around again! How have you been? How is writing? Characters behaving? What are you writing currently?
Ooohhh YES permission to infodump!! I love nothing more!
First of all @calidris it was so cool seeing Sebastian’s character all put together! I still love him, even though he’s horrid and evil XD
Also, @noah-cochran Fair warning, you have the full context of book 1 so if you read the next post you’ll put two and two together and figure out twists for book 2, so heads up if you want to avoid that!
Also I can’t wait to find out more about the Dark Hand members, they really fascinate me. Plus the gray characters are epic of course 😀
Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?September 2, 2022 at 9:44 am #152603Rose@rose-colored-fancy
Okay here comes the actual infodump XD
Let me count my villains… I’m skipping the regular antagonists who are just doing their job and get in the way XD (Also gonna leave out one or two minor villains because they’re major spoilers XD)
Okay, here’s the big three!
Is he a villain? Is he a hero? Who knows, he sure doesn’t. Okay, he starts off as a villain, then gradually has a redemption arc that ends up with him as a full-fledged main character and POV character! He has the most beautiful redemption and it makes me so happy *proud crying*
I adore his character SO much, he’s incredibly complex and fun to write, especially from his own POV. I learned more about him from that one book where I was in his POV than in either of the first two.
You know that one character who always gets all the particularly angsty character development? That’s Aydin to me XD Poor boi has gone through so much, it’s incredible. I make frequent jokes that Aydin hits approximately twenty-two consecutively deeper rock bottoms in the space of three books XD It’s not altogether exaggerated XD
He’s just so interesting to write, both because of his redemption arc and the drastic yet gradual shift in his worldview, and because he has so many fun layers. He’s disabled (His right hand is paralyzed in book 2 because of an injury) and Autistic, which I didn’t figure out until I completely finished writing him, but now it’s extremely obvious XD
I just love him, which isn’t obvious by how I treat him, but true nevertheless.
Well… she’s… complicated. I think she’s one of the most complex characters I’ve ever written. She’s… both a villain and a victim. She became an assassin without fully understanding and ended up trapped with no way of escaping. Instead of trying to, she not only resigned herself but completely threw herself into it, casting morals aside.
She half realizes that she’s destroying herself in the process, but on a different level, she’s reveling in the ruins. Writing her is strange because she’s a truly awful person but you can see so much potential for how she might have been different, and I really deeply feel sorry for her. She has so many opportunities for redemption, but she refuses all of them and keeps sinking deeper into darkness until it catches up to her.
She and Aydin also have a complex but dark relationship, but I won’t get into all that now XD
The straight-up evil villain of the story. He sucks and I hate him, but I’m happy with how I wrote him! He starts off according to the typical ‘evil emperor’ trope, but through the story, you eventually discover more of his motives and how he thinks. He never stops being an awful person, but he gains complexity.
I think the creepy part about him is that he’s completely convinced his actions are not only justified but right and moral. He sees himself as both the hero of the story and the victim. It’s even worse because… he’s not completely wrong. His way of dealing with it is awful but it’s almost understandable. He did face a lot of injustice at the hands of the heroes.
Anyway, a brief summary of my main three! There are lots more minor ones, but these three are the most interesting and least spoilery out of context XD
Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?September 13, 2022 at 5:14 pm #152731R.M. Archer@r-m-archer
I’ve been meaning to comment on this for weeks and I’m finally getting around to it. XD My WIP has two main villains: Erdiana Class and Tamerin Lance. (And then a really big bad above them, but he doesn’t really come into play until the end of book one.)
Erdiana runs the science division of the mega-corporation Grantech. She’s very smart, very precise, and prefers for everything to be perfect. Which is why she’s so keen on her genetic advancement projects, because she wants to purge the imperfections from mankind and create a superior race of genetically advanced superhumans. Of course… the experiments aren’t perfect, either, but she’s still trying to figure out how to make everything work perfectly and create this imaginary, “more highly evolved” race.
Tamerin heads up the security/law enforcement division of Grantech. He likes seeing how far he can push people. He’s really a scientist, too, in a way; he likes to experiment just as much as Erdiana does, but for the sake of testing people and discovering how they tick rather than discovering new technology or ways to improve people. He wants to discover what’s already there more than to imagine what could be–though he’ll also use his knowledge of behavior to his own ends. He really gets on everyone’s nerves–including Erdiana’s–because he’s constantly manipulating them and pushing them to see how they’ll react. Getting to use Erdiana’s technology for his own supersoldiers fits right into his interests, because it gives him an ideal view on how people react both physically and emotionally to the experiments and genetic alterations and they’re the most effective for the security tasks he’s given to handle–and other force-based tasks for Grantech.
Speculative fiction author. Mythology nerd. Worldbuilding enthusiast. Singer. Fan of classic literature.
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