1. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    Creating a villain out of an anonymous group

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MacGuffin, Jun 23, 2009.

    Hi,

    I'm working on my characters at the moment and am having trouble in creating a villain.

    The idea I'm drawing to is having a villain that isn't really a villain in the strictest sense... rather a group of people who the hero percieves as the enemy.

    Just a few details:

    Setting: 1940 London
    Hero: young boy
    Villain: german pilots

    Now I think this could allow for a lot of freedom in playing with idea of who an enemy really is. The boy is angry because people close to him have been killed by falling bombs. But the people dropping those bombs are doing so indiscriminately, meaning it will be hard for th boy to know who to be angry at.

    This will lead into how he gets revenge later.

    • Has anyone had experience in creating this kind of villain?
    • Is this kind of villain a good idea?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I'm not sure what you are looking for is really a villain. A villain is a character, perceived by the reader to be malicious. But a challenge or obstacle need not be a character. The real obstacle may be the boy's fears (an internal conflict), or it may be the threat represented by unpredictable bombing incidents.

    From what you describe, your main character may be seeking to give the enemy a face to focus his anger at. But the real challenge he faces is coming to terms with the anonymous brutality of war.

    An interesating phenomenon is that if we have an anonymous enemy, the face we see in our mind's eye is either derived from someone we despise for oter reasons, or our own face.
     
  3. PrettySiren
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    PrettySiren New Member

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    My first question is: does this boy end up getting revenge on one of these pilots? You don't even have to answer me, if you don't want to reveal that. I only ask because that's a big question to ask yourself.

    If your story is a revenge story, your character's got to have revenge on someone or something. It's a hard type of story to tackle, really.

    With using a group of people, I only recommend it if they are united with each other against this boy specifically. Being German pilots, they're most likely just bombing where they're told to. So, do these German pilots have something against this specific against this particular boy?

    And if these pilots aren't the real enemy, I would consider changing the bombings to a roadblock in the hero's struggle against the greater enemy -- something to knock him down a bit and make his success, at the end, seem really unlikely.
     
  4. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    Hey Guys thanks for the input...

    I love this last point... I think the character is going to blame himself for something that happens early in the story.... so yes, he might see himself.


    I've been think about this and a unsure.... the hero / main character is evacuated to the countryside and I'm thinking about Germna pilots shot down over britain... does he encounter one? maybe an injured one? does he kill him? REVENGE! i don't know... been researching if that would even be a plausible situation.

    Again... thanks for the help.
     
  5. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    Oh and also... I was only thinking of this annaonymous group as being the villain as I have no other Villain character at the moment.... do i need one?

    The story is still composting and I can't see how a 'physical' villain would fit at the moment.
     
  6. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I've always lived (or written rather) under the idea that there are no villains or heroes, just a varying degree of perception. I always go back to Star Wars and the perceived villain that was Darth Vader when it was actually the Emperor. God I'm a nerd... /sigh.

    I don't like giving characters the title of villain just because it pigeonholes them into the position of actually being evil. German soldiers in WWII were not evil in general, they were simply fighting for their country. On the other hand, so was my Grandfather when he landed in Normandy. A hero is a villain to his villain... see how all of this is confusing? What you have to ask yourself is whether or not your "villains" wanted to kill those British civilians. If their goal was truly to cause absolute devastation to innocent civilians, then they are the very definition of a villain. If, however, they were "just following orders", then it makes them immoral and all of that, but not villains.

    It seems to me that your goal is not to make a group of villains, but rather to save your main character from becoming one.
     
  7. UnknownBearing
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    UnknownBearing Contributing Member

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    i've done something like this. the first volume of my graphic novel involves a government branch and the main character's private war with them, specifically against one of the agents who pretended to be a mentor and ultimately betrayed him. he's not sure if he's angry at the whole operation, the betrayal, his friend whom they allowed to be killed along with 16 other people, or himself. eventually he realizes that his blind rage resulted in many serious mistakes, and pays the price dearly by the end, while questioning his own morals. it's not quite anonymous in the sense that you can put a face to the group through the one agent, but his war is mostly with the whole branch that remains quite faceless and in the backround for the first volume.

    to answer the second question, i think it's a fascinating idea. it opens the window to many internal struggles and external struggles. if a character doesn't have any tangible target, he/she may lash out out anything in sight without considering the consequences.

    so i really don't think you need a physical villain, in fact, it would probably be more interesting without one. the only reason i decided to give physical entity to mine is because my story demanded it later on.
     
  8. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Having a villain being a group instead of one person is actually a nice idea, but you'll inevitably have to have at least one person from that group be a kind of represenative villain for the group or else things get complicated.

    The main thing I think you should worry about, though, is the following:

    - What is the villain's motive? Why do they do the things they do and is the logic behind their actions believable (or realistic)?

    - Does the villain have any hope of redemption? If so, how does it happen? Is the redemption they receive believable? If they have no hope of redemption, then what inevitably happens to them at the end? Do they leave? Do they die?

    And, if you're going to go for a story with multiple villains...

    I suggest studying the storytelling techniques used in the manga for D.Gray-man. That series uses that idea to the point where a reader can't definitively say who the real villain in the story happens to be. It could be one guy, it could be the heads of the organization, it could be an anonymous group not yet revealed or someone no one even knows of yet. That's what makes it interesting and if you want to use the same thing in your story then studying that manga might help give you some ideas.
     
  9. MacGuffin
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    MacGuffin Member

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    Well this is the grey area of strategic bombing. Is the wearing down of civilian moral through carpet bombing areas of no military significance morally ok? Probably not, but who is to blame? I doubt the individual bomber crews can be ; they were just following orders (the Nuremberg defence which didn't work for the SS) and both sides were at it and no one was charged with anything after the war (though opinion of bomber command in UK hasn't fared well when looking back)

    I'm going to disagree with your last point about following orders... would you count an SS guard who herded thousands of Jews to their deaths everyday a villain? I think I would.

    I love this idea! Yes I am toying with idea of revenge... the hero finds an injured pilot hiding in the area around the farm he's be evacuated to. I'm toying with him not killing him at first and may become almost friendly with him... but then something else happens (i got a historical event in mind) and so he kills the german.

    I'll check out those mangas... is it a huge series? or just a few?

    The villains motive is just doing his job I guess. I'm thinking about the german pilot/crewman he is going to kill and I feel sorry for him. I think war put people into horrible positions where they're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    So perhaps I could use the idea of the faceless german bombs as an industrial terror on an unfathomable scale, only to introduce this young german as the face of that who is actually quite pleasant. But the young boy feels forced (through external events and a build up of his own sense of duty to dead loved ones) to kill him.

    Morally grey, love it.
     
  10. Sabih Omar
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    Sabih Omar Member

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    Well, think about someone who hates Jews and believes that it's the Jews that brought unrest and chaos to the world...like an ancient Roman ruler or a present day Palestinian. This guy would praise the Nazis for what seemed to be a heinous crime to you. Looks like it's not only gray, but also relatively gray!
     
  11. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @MacGuffin:

    It's just one series and it's currently about 187 chapters long and updates weekly (if you read it online). Although, it's currently on a hiatus until August.
     

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