1. WordWitch
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    WordWitch New Member

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    Question regarding villains

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by WordWitch, Feb 24, 2008.

    Hi, my name is Sara. I'm an eighteen-year-old aspiring Canadian writer. I've been working on this story for a long time, and I've come to a little rift.

    Basically, two of my characters are sisters. The elder sister committed matricide and this was witnessed by the younger sister. This murder negatively effected both sisters: the older sister more or less lost her mind, and acts as the "villain" for my story; the younger sister was torn apart by seeing the sister she so admired commit the unthinkable. The younger sister is more of a main character, and I want the reader to sympathise with her. At times I want people to hate the elder sister, but I find at other times I want them to feel her pain as well.

    I am unsure of whether I should include the events leading up to the murder from the elder sister's side so that the reader may feel some empathy for her, or if I should just do a side story, or if I should just leave it out entirely.

    I figured I'd ask a general question about character development regarding villains. How do you guys make a "villain" real but still wicked? I don't want her to be a monster, but I don't want the reader to feel too much for her because that would take away from the other sister.

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    Any advice is greatly appreciated. :) Thank you.

    p. s.
    It's a "graphic novel". It doesn't change my question at all, but I thought I should mention that regardless. It sort of changes what I mean by side story. :)
  2. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    To your first question regarding the input of details before the murder to bring in empathy for the elder sister, I'd say that if it doesn't make the story lose it's spark, do a full recap of what happened to cause the elder sister to do what she did. Or, flashback could be a way to do it.

    Secondly, I make my villains real by picking them up from real people. The real people don't have to be Hitler or anyone - they can be the lady next door who throws all her garbage in our porch, or my ex-best friend who always gossips around about me. You just need to see what defines your villain's evil traits. You can always use the 'opposite' technique. If a good guy would save a girl from being raped, what would a bad guy do? Laugh it off? Support? Help the girl, but blackmail her afterwards/rape her himself? It's how you shape up the villain. Moreover, a 'real' villain can do good things once in a while, and then get angry at himself, he cries, laughs, loves...it's just that he doesn't follow a basic moral code.
  3. Navy
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    Navy New Member

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    For me, whenever I'm writing a story that's heavily based on past events (such as this sister's death), I like to add suspense. Personally, clueing in the reader as the story goes on is far better for me. I love to entertain people by having them find out what's happening. My favorite method is the flashback. Second foreshadowing that technically gives details of the past :p.

    As for making villains real, I have one word: memories. Look yourself in the mirror, and think of every bad thing you've ever done, and ever have happend to you. Think of your and other people's reactions. In order to make a villain real, you have to make them act the way a real person would. And what person do you know better than yourself? The fun part is adding in evil aspects. Play with the personality a bit and twist it up, and you have your villain.
  4. HeinleinFan
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    It very much depends upon her motivation for matricide. Was the mother abusive? Did the mother try to stop her older daughter from marrying someone? Was the older daughter known for fits of rage, so that when she kills her mother for not putting enough chocolate in the cookies (or some other petty reason) it makes sense? Was the older daughter delusional, or hopped up on drugs at the time? Was the death an "accident" in the sense that she didn't mean to strike her mother so hard?

    For many of these motives, selfishness and cynicism might work together to make her "wicked" but understandable. For example, if the mother was abusive and targeted the older daughter more due to a personality conflict, I could see the older daughter killing her and then threatening the younger sister before fleeing the scene. After that, the older sister might become progressively more paranoid - convinced that if she is caught, she will be sent to jail or permanently hospitalized for something that her mother "was bringing on herself." From her point of view, everything she did was justified and the younger sister cannot understand because she was not the target of her mother's wrath.

    I hope that makes sense ... Readers would have some sympathy for the older sister while being struck by her consistent selfishness and paranoid nature.
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