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Villains

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  • #137120
    TanyasCreative
    @tanyacreative

    Can I light heartedly blame the Spirit for having trouble wrapping my mind around understanding villains?

    For some reason, I’m having a problem processing what and how to make villains – bad guys for my WIPS. Or I’m WAY over thinking the process and coming up at it from the wrong angle. I’ve been taking notes and looking at articles this evening and I’m not sure I’m getting it.

    A villain is rudimentary a person that had thing(s) or a line of events happen, pushes him to the dark side of things and choosing the negative or selfish reasons and motives that makes them pass the responsibilities to others. They demonize other people, ends justify the means, “someone else” will do it. The mirror contrast the hero.

    For pleasure?

    Is that along the right way of thinking?? And the recent podcast on villains didn’t help put things in perspective at all.

    Thanks beloveds. <3

    May God bless you!

    #137128
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @tanyacreative

    Hi Tanya!

    Good question! When I started writing I struggled a lot with villains. They were all cliche, or boring, or simply illogical.

    A villain is rudimentary a person that had thing(s) or a line of events happen, pushes him to the dark side of things and choosing the negative or selfish reasons and motives that makes them pass the responsibilities to others. They demonize other people, ends justify the means, “someone else” will do it. The mirror contrast the hero.

    For pleasure?

    You’re on the right track, but villains aren’t that specific, necessarily, though they can be!

    An antagonist is anyone who gets in the way of the hero accomplishing their goals. That’s it. A side character can qualify as an antagonist, even if they’re well-intentioned and all-around likable. As long as they make things hard for your protagonist, they’re technically an antagonist.

    The well-meaning friend who always argues, the little brother who is determined to tag along on adventures, the family member who loves the protagonist and doesn’t want them to get hurt, they’re all antagonists. Not villains, but antagonists.

    Villains are generally antagonists who are scary, or dark, or outright evil. You don’t absolutely need them though. You can have a story with only antagonists and no villains and it’ll work just as well, as long as you have enough antagonists who cause enough conflict. However, this generally works better for Literary fiction, Contemporary fiction, and stuff like Romance.

    If you want to have epic fight scenes and a Big Bad guy to defeat, you might want to add a villain.

    Here’s a more specific way to think about villains. Let’s categorize!

    Sympathetic villain. A villain who acts out of fear or past trauma. They may be likable and the reader might sympathize with them. They’ll still be doing bad things, but they aren’t necessarily bad people, just very broken.

    Anti-Hero. A villain who does bad things for good reasons.

    An Anti-Villain does bad things for a reason they see as justified, but it’s actually messed up. Now, the above two can overlap quite a bit.

    A morally gray character has a broken moral compass and does both good and bad things. As long as you keep their motivation consistent, they can be interesting to write!

    Pure Evil villains. They wreak havoc and cause misery and destruction either because they don’t think it’s wrong or because they genuinely do not care.

    All these villains have their place, and you can have more than one if you really want!

    See, you were talking about a very specific type of villain:

    A villain is rudimentary a person that had thing(s) or a line of events happen, pushes him to the dark side of things and choosing the negative or selfish reasons and motives that makes them pass the responsibilities to others. They demonize other people, ends justify the means, “someone else” will do it. The mirror contrast the hero.

    This villain you’re describing is closest to the Anti-Villain or Pure Evil. They’re making bad decisions and they don’t particularly seem to care about it. This is definitely an option you can go with!

    Personally, I really enjoy Morally gray characters and Anti-Hero/Anti-villain type characters. To me, they’re just fun to write and they work in my current story. They’re broken and confused and sometimes they’re genuinely trying to do the right thing, they just got lost along the way.

    Two things I really like to keep in mind while writing villains of that sort are two quotes: “Every villain is a hero in their own story” and “Never assume malice when sufficiently advanced ignorance will suffice as an explanation.”

    I’ll give some examples from my current villains to try to explain this better 🙂

    My main villain has had great trouble and trauma in his past. Interestingly, large parts of it were unknowingly inflicted by the heroes. He sees himself as a victim, out to set the world right again despite all the heroes have done to him. He’s unscrupulous, he’ll do anything, no matter how amoral, to achieve his goal.

    His main goal is to bring peace to the country so there will never be another civil war like the one that cost him so much. That’s…. objectively a good goal, but he thinks the way to achieve it is to make all others bow to his will, so he has sole control and can personally prevent anything like that from happening again. He’s misguided and a generally very unlikeable person, but he sees himself as the suffering victim doing all he can to set the world right again.

    I have another villain, who was forced into a situation where she was forced to do evil things. She’s… not objectively evil at the beginning, she feels truly awful about the things she’s doing, but she makes no move to fight against it because she believes it’s useless anyway and struggles to see what is right and what is wrong. Throughout the book, she slowly comes to understand that it is evil, but she stops caring. She just decides there’s no fighting against it and this is what benefits her most.

    Wait, what was my point? I had a point.

    Oh, got it. Basically, villains are complicated. People are complicated. There’s no right or wrong way to make a villain, but here are a few ideas to get you started. 😉

    I think one of the key things to keep in mind is that they have reasons for what they’re doing, and they probably think they’re right. Otherwise, you have a lot of leeway!

    I really hoped this helped! Best of success with your villains!

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

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