1. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    Developing a villain

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Kyle Oram, Jan 1, 2016.

    I'm trying to develop a villain without some sappy back story like "Aw my parents died when I was young so now I commit genocide" and I don't want something so simple such as "I just like to kill people". I'm trying to think of another reason for this villain to have a reason to be evil.

    The context of this villain is that is the dark lord of another kingdom that is trying to overthrow and take over the northern kingdoms. I am thinking about his reason being something around trying to spread the religion or cultural ways of the south because he despises the ways of the north for being inferior or even for something that happened in past history. I was thinking about him trying t take over just to have power but I would much rather him have a better purpose than that.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Just curious, does he care whether or not he's being unethical? How'd he come to power? Has he had actual contact with people in the north in the past?
     
  3. theoriginalmonsterman
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    theoriginalmonsterman Pickle Contest Administrator Contributor

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    I mean you can't really consider someone who wants to take over land "evil". Looking back at ancient history people were constantly conquering land. A better example is the Romans... I mean those guys crushed just about anything in their paths, but do we consider them evil? I guess it depends on your own personal perspective, but I wouldn't consider them evil.

    Point is you need to add something onto that idea you have. This guy can't just want to take over land; there needs to be something else that makes people see him as this evil overlord.
     
  4. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    I have an unused idea for a villain that doesn't work for SciFi, so you can use it.
    This idea should work for a fantasy setting :
    An immortal villain is reincarnated as a different person every time he dies. He is sick of eternal life and concludes that the only way to truly die is to kill every person on the planet.
     
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  5. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    I was thinking tat he was trying to eradicate the human race from the kingdoms as he finds them to be foul creatures and anyone who has followed their ways shall also be killed or enslaved. I call him "evil" because he is as unethical as you can probably imagine. He does not care for anyone else other than himself, not even his closest friends. He will kill them just for fun. He wants to have everything for himself as his own play toy with no one to get in the way. The human race is a good example of his. There are other species other than humans in this book. I think 11. So he is threatening the existence of about 5 or 6 intelligent species
     
  6. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    He came into power by, being the kings nephew in the south, who his father killed when he was only young and then he assassinated his father. This is where his sense of morality comess from because he is as ruthless as who he was raised by
     
  7. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Well, there's nothing wrong with what you mentioned about being motivated by the North's "inferiority." Other motives that come to mind are thinking that because of all the assassination that he's witnessed, the thinks the North is going to conspire against him -- like he's paranoid. Or he thinks that he'll be remembered forever by his people for destroying any potential threats to his people. But, again, there's nothing wrong with your first thoughts.
     
  8. Silvertide
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    Silvertide New Member

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    Instead of specific advice I have some more general advice. It is okay for the motive of the villain to be simple, as long as the villain is developed in the actual story. The villain's motive could be as simple as the enjoyment of killing others but as long as you do it right and develop the villain in the story just like any other character they can become great too.
     
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  9. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    Thanks I really like that idea. I'll try and wrap that around his characteristics, I was trying to think of a separate power that he has that makes him unique to the story. Maybe I could have him be the reincarnation of death itself
     
  10. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In that case, I would recommend trying to make his plan as intellectually stimulating as possible rather than trying to explain his backstory (i.e. Health Ledger's Joker in The Dark Knight).

    If he's just the straight-up psychopath you described there, then don't think of him as a man who starts with a plan and who happens to later kill people to accomplish said plan, think of him as a man who starts by killing people and who happens to later come up with plans to do it well.

    Maybe he's read about all the great villains of history and wants books written about him someday?
     
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  11. HistoricalScience
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    HistoricalScience Active Member

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    I try to make my villains likable and exhibit traits that would make his rise and gathering of support plausible. Being evil because you're just a dick isn't much fun to read about. Someone who truly believes that he is right for what he does is what is interesting. Religion/culture as you mentioned is a very believable scenario and we have seen it a number of times in history. The villain should have believable motives and reasons for what he does besides pissing off the main character.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2016
  12. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    That sounds really good, I'll be sure to incorporate this thanks
     
  13. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    I think your idea about something that happened in past history is a good one. It could be revenge (very typical though), or maybe a way that he would get closure about this something that happened in his past. Maybe it's how he thinks he needs to cope with all of this pain/nightmares/whatever-made-him-mad that he just can't seem to get over.

    I like this idea because it's how every single human being operates. We are conditioned to be how we are past on all of our past history. It's what shapes us to become who we are (and how we chose to react in those situations). Maybe this guy just flipped his sh*t and the day he did, the last ounce of compassion that he ever had just vanished, and he became the Darkest Lord there ever was.

    He needs to react irrationally and in a way that you want your readers to disagree with. Figure out what you want that to be, and it can be what drives his madness/darkness.
     
  14. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is just one of many examples of where pure fantasy fails. Were this historical or speculative fiction, you would have heaps of examples of where when how and why real world leaders conquered other countries, ranging from all sorts of reasons, from glory to specific resources or ports, to preventing another country from resources or ports, to westward emancipation or eliminating a dangerous neighbor, to promises of extreme wealth, to satisfying God, to reeking revenge on someone who once held you hostage, or even, over a girl.

    In pure fantasy, the "darklord" is just bad and seeks "power."
     
  15. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    Clearly you've not read much good fantasy.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2016
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  16. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    I say he is the "darklord" but I have been developing him for quite some time now and that was what I called him back in the 6th grade so it has just stuck. I'm thinking of a new name for him.
     
  17. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    Really though
     
  18. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    Thanks that helps a lot :D
     
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  19. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    A name like "Billy" would be quite comical for the ultimate evil villain.
     
  20. Kyle Oram
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    Kyle Oram Member

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    I would probably do something like that if I was making a comedy but I have other character to add humor during dialouge and just acting dumb/funny at times but serious when needed
     
  21. Kallisto
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    Kallisto Active Member

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    Well, they do say that the path to hell is carved with good intentions. The best villains are the ones that sincerely believe what they're doing is for the better good. They don't hate anyone in particular. They just believe that mankind needs saving from itself. They tend to believe they have this unique insight into what is necessary to make the world a better place, and they refused to be contradicted.
     
  22. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    The best villains are any villains with a very good character. Motives have no monopoly on good character. I recommend giving an antagonist interesting habits and depicting their complicated relationships with other characters if you worry they come of as too 2d darklordy of a character. And for the record, no-one is ever truly right in morality. We all must impose our subjective opinions on others. Logic exists in both good and bad people.
     
  23. TheoremAlpha
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    TheoremAlpha Member

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    Mental illness is always a really easy way to create an effective villain who seemed to have all their facilities in place.

    Because it is often that sociopaths in real life, had everything going for them: A good, supportive family. A decent chunk of money. A good job. But had something twisted about them, that made them gain pleasure from manipulating or hurting other people.

    A truly evil character is one that has no reason to be evil other than they want to be. In fact, you don't even usually have to give much back story on a villain: You just have to give the audience a reason to hate them.
     
  24. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    1. Having your '"faculties in place" is no guarantee of likeability and vise-versa.
    2. Sociopathy is not a mental illness. It's a personality disorder, and does not necessarily create a bad person. Many successful business people are mild psychopaths or sociopaths.
    3. Sociopathy is not sadism, there is no inherent tie to cruelty. Sociopathy is a form of ruthless, anti-social disposition.
    So essentially, while you gave some usual suggestion, your comment is laced with ignorance and prejudice towards mental illness and personality disorders. Lovely.
     
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  25. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Sorry, that should be useful suggestion.
     

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