1. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    Is this villain boring? How can he be less so?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Baz the WarriorDreamer, Sep 3, 2012.

    So this is a villain I am having trouble with. I have my evil overlord from the third installment in the series and I am happy with him, he has a fleshed out background and is three dimensional evil a very old man who is defeated at the end of the story. In my fourth one I started introducing new villains. There is a villain who has the power of telekinses who is also a criminal working for the enemy company, I am fairly happy with him since afterall he is mostly a device to alert the main character of the presence of an enemy gang forming against him.

    In the fifth story they hire a demon who was known as a famous serial killer, he lives in underground caves and enjoys torturing people. He was once defeated by a team of heroes years back but the current gang raise him from the dead to keep him on their side as an asset. Long story short one of my female characters' friend's is kidnapped by the demon (I just called him Burgon Devil for now, a play on the Jersey Devil name) and she goes to find her. She winds up kidnapped too and of course the main character has to eventually go to this cave.

    I am having problems with him though. He is a 7ft tall demon who doesn't speak or anything he just shows up around people's houses and his face appears on walls. Do I need a backstory for him? Do I need to make him interesting? I think my other villains have fleshed out backgrounds and personalites is it okay for me to have one villain be just a demon, just pure evil. Afterall, he was born on a planet where that kind of behaviour is normal, so he doesn't know anything different and he isn't like the others who grew into their role.

    One of the main things is that instead of a mental battle (like some of the others before) he offers more of a physical battle, so knowing that is it still important to flesh him out. Thanks!
     
  2. J. Blake
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    J. Blake Member

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    If he's important to the story, he should be interesting. 'Interesting' doesn't necessarily mean providing backstory. If he doesn't talk, you can liven him up and give him depth through what action he takes and the decisions he makes.
     
  3. Danvok
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    Danvok Senior Member

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    Couldn't you show some of his personality in the "interrogation" of the female prisoner? Doesn't that offer a good opportunity? I don't know about demons but couldn't you expand on the whole serial killer thing? Maybe he keeps a diary of his "recordings" or something like that? Just because he can't speak doesn't mean he is imparted from knowing how to write, correct?

    Anyway, just some thoughts.
     
  4. JonSpear360
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    JonSpear360 Member

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    He doesn't necessarily have to speak. You say he is a well known serial killer, that adds a ton of backstory right there! You can have other characters talking about him and that can make him interesting in the readers mind.

    Is the demon unable to speak? Or are all demons unable to speak? He can have little idiosyncrasies around not being able to speak. Maybe he moves in a certain way, maybe he communicates by writing or by some psychic power?

    If the story doesn't focus around him or have him be a central character in a lot of scenes, I think you can definitely get away with him being interesting in a lot of different ways. His infamy can make him interesting, his body language and style, maybe the way he dresses (do demons wear clothes?).

    A cool point of reference would be Buffy Villains. A lot of Buffy villans weren't overtly interesting because they weren't the central point of the story (notable exception being Spike) They were there purely to be an obstacle for the already interesting main characters.

    You also say this is the fifth story, what do your readers expect? Making a character drastically different from the last bad guy can be a bad thing if your readers want more of the same. It can also be a blessing if your readers want a new, yet comfortably familiar experience. If the comfortable experience is achieved by the MCs, you're villan is significantly less important and can be that force of nature to be reckoned with (ie most slasher film bad guys).

    Here is a useful link - (link removed) Google Villans that Don't Speak. Theres a cool list for reference as the number one response.
     
  5. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Create fear around your demon, have your characters read and hear stories and rumours about this demon and then have the demon do something that seems to confirm these beliefs. I've read somewhere something called "soft magic" where the rules aren't really explained and this is best used to create a sense of confusion, the supernatural and generally, fear and disorientation for your characters. What matters is how you build it up.

    Your villain does need a "backstory" but that doesn't mean this backstory has to be included in your novel. You should always know more than the reader and if you don't, the reader can usually see through it.

    Btw are you writing a comic book series or something? It doesn't make sense that in a single series you should have so many key villains - the overall goal of the entire series should be the same and if you're going off killing key villains just to raise another one up, you run the risk of getting boring. What's so exciting about the defeat of one villain when you know a new one will just get created in the next book? For example this is why I stopped reading a book by Dan Brown - he had MC running from A to B to find a ring, but when the MC gets to B, the ring has gone to location C. MC goes from B to C, oh but the ring has now gone to location D. MC goes from C to D and, well, guess what? The ring has gone to location E! At this point I stopped reading. Watch out there.
     
  6. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    The main ringleader is introduced fully in the third one. He gets defeated and my MC thinks it's all over with. In the fourth he finds out their is a new rebelleion against him. He finds this out by the villain in number 4 cropping up (who I am so far happy with) he has a fairly dynamic backstory and he is human. This other villain is semi introduced in this fourth but not fully. We know he has done some horrible things and has risen again. He was actually somewhat based on The Creeper from 'Jeepers Creeps' what with the not talking and rising again thing. But those were some good ideas. I thought I would have have paintings on the walls. I just don't want him to feel too boring or stock villain or anything I guess. :/
     
  7. MilesTro
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    MilesTro Active Member

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    You could add like flash backs about a little information about his past. Like why is he a demon, why is he like that, and was there something that made him into the way he is? Not all villains can be sympathetic or interesting. Like Voldemort in Harry Potter, we learn about his origin, but it seems like he was just born to be evil. The only character we cared the most and found interesting is Harry Potter.

    It is really hard to make a demon interesting unless he is a unique demon than the typical Christian devil. Perhaps you can make him act human although he is evil.
     
  8. Baz the WarriorDreamer
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    Baz the WarriorDreamer Member

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    Great advice MilesTro! Flashbacks may be a good option because I dont use that for any other character. I agree it could make him stand out more.
     
  9. Ettina
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    Ettina Active Member

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    That adds an interesting element. Could he be an 'innocent evil' type? You know, he's evil because he has no clue what good and evil are? (I'm thinking of the Howlers from Animorphs, who were basically a race of perpetual children who thought death and destruction was a game because they didn't realize other species were actually alive.) Could possibly form the basis for a heel face turn if he learns something new, or else just add an element of sympathy because they're forced to kill some creature that didn't have any real intent to be evil.
     
  10. Pythonforger
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    Pythonforger Carrier of Insanity

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    Why does the demon kill people?
    Why does he enjoy torturing people?
    What are his goals, his motivations, his hopes?
    What is his backstory like?

    If the answer to the first two questions are not "BECAUSE EVIL" and the answer to the last two questions are not "evilness" and "he was an evil person from eviltown" you're pretty much assured that he isn't boring. Much.
     

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