1. Marcushunterwolf
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    Marcushunterwolf New Member

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    Suggestions for a villain

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Marcushunterwolf, Jun 3, 2011.

    I have created a villain that I am not entirely confident in. Does anybody have any thoughts on what makes a good villain?

    Some concerns that I have are:
    How evil is too evil?
    How much of an appearance should a good villain have throughout the story?
    Is it a good thing if you hate your own villain?
     
  2. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    With villains, I don't think there's such a thing as too evil. But it has to fit the story -- if it's a children's story and the antagonist is a murderer, obviously that won't fit. (A bit intense of an example, but you get the point. :p )

    I think authors both love and hate their villains a bit.
     
  3. Unsavory
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    Unsavory Active Member

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    However evil the villain is, it's always important to give them an understandable motivation. In the villain's own head, what he's doing is needs to have logic. Many of the best villains consider themselves heroes.
     
  4. Marcushunterwolf
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    Marcushunterwolf New Member

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    Thanks for the help. It really made me feel more confident in this villain. He does consider himself to be a sort of hero/ great leader. Thanks again.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    "Destroying the world/universe" is probably too evil, unless you're The Crimson King and plan on ruling the Todash forever, or if you're Sephiroth and plan on riding the world until you find a new Promised Land (excuse any inconsistencies with Sephiroth there. I haven't played FF7 in a long time).

    The appearances of a villain should be logical. I suggest you watch Christopher Nolan's Memento (2000). The antagonist in that film shows up at all the right times.
    The appearance of the villain should also be extremely logical. Don't just have a scene with them in it just to confirm that yes, they are in fact still evil. The adaptation of that heap of crap "Eragon" was ridiculous in this regard. Occasionally it would just show the evil dude having a random bit of a monologue in an emotionless voice, and at the end it was the same, except it was punctuated by a dragon roaring. That's dumb. You can do better than Paolini.

    I think it is an okay thing to hate your villain. If you hate WRITING your villain, you've got a problem. If you have a character that you hate writing about, you need to do something about that character, because they obviously don't fit. You need to love writing about your villain BECAUSE you hate him, for example. Hate the villain, love to write them, pretty much.

    Like Hitler. It's really all about perspective. The German people wouldn't have allowed Hitler in if they saw him how the Americans saw him. The German people wouldn't have put up with Hitler if he hadn't done things right by them. He helped them a lot. He gave them great motivation and they persevered through troubled times.
    He also brought them Fanta (the company that made Coca-cola didn't want to be seen double-dealing to the Nazis, so they made a new soft drink and called it Fanta. They sent Fanta to the Nazis and sent Coca-cola to the Americans), and the Volkswagen.

    Again, it's all perspective. If your hero is the only person who sees the antagonist as an antagonist, it'll make your hero look like a paranoid idiot, even if the reader knows the antagonist is an antagonist.
     
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  6. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I couldn't have stated it better myself. :D If you despise writing a certain character, you probably should revise the character. You may hate what he stands for, but you should love writing about his exploits.
     
  7. wallomrslug
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    wallomrslug Member

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    My villains are always my favourite to write for as I can push the boundaries and write some quite outrageous things that I would never dream of saying in the real world!

    I like to make my villains cruel and quite detestable. A good villain, in my view, is someone that the reader gets quite passionate about hating.
    But I agree, that you must know your villain's driving force and must have a sense of understanding for them in order to write for them realistically.

    As for how evil, I try to make my villains as despicable as possible. Villains can end up being your most memorable characters and this is no bad thing.
     
  8. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Why wouldn't you say them? Do you fear using language?

    QFT in the case of the bolded.
    That last part... mm. See, I, as a reader, have no need to understand a villain. I can somewhat understand the need to understand the villain as a writer, though. Really, the main part of this is for the bolded. Brilliant stuff, that "hate" thing. Love it.
     
  9. CottonCandi
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    CottonCandi Active Member

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    I like villains who are like every day cool people, but just in a bad situation. Like if you were starving, what would you do? Kill? Steal for food? Bad example but I hope you see what I mean.
     
  10. Lord Malum
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    Lord Malum Senior Member

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    Villains are human too (usually). They have flaws of their own. Make him/her believable as a person first. Give the character a believable, appropriate motivation to do the "evil" things they do. Be sure to show their human side.
     
  11. Reggie
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    Reggie I Like 'Em hot "N Spicy Contributor

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    It depends how your villian react to situations. A villian, in my own terms, has an opposition against the main character and is not necessarily an evil villian. If you mean in terms of physically acttacking the main character, the best approach to take is to give us a reason as to why they are acting like this towards the main character. Actions doesn't just happen for a reason, in my opinion. But being evil in general can mean a number of things. Trying to focus on how evil the villian should be with perfection only works in the mind of the writer and not in reality. Thus, a villian can still be a villian and not be evil at all.
     
  12. Infinitytruth
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    Infinitytruth Senior Member

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    turn everyone into icecream cones
     
  13. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    I agree with Reggie. There's the more common type of villan such as someone that simply doesn't like your MC, or your MC is in their way (think property developers vs the lone elderly resident). They are not inherently evil, but behaving in possibly evil ways.

    Then there's the comic book villan who starts evil, does evil things to everyone and ends the story just as evil.

    I prefer villans that have a reason for their behavior, and you can see the poor choices or unfortunate circumstances that send them on their path during the course of the story.

    To me at least the sort of villan in the story is dictated by the sort of story being written.

    Hating your villan is a good thing because it makes it easy to make them do hateful things, so you can hate them more :p
    I don't think you can make them too evil, but I would say be mindful of how much description you put into the things they do. To infer they have horribly murdered or raped someone is fine, but describing exactly what and how they did it is probably going too far.
     
  14. SteamWolf
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    SteamWolf Senior Member

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    That's what I call a sticky situation! [/cartman]
     
  15. M. J. Demsworth
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    M. J. Demsworth New Member

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    The only time people should be concerned about a too evil is if they're trying to appeal to a younger audience. As far as appearance, how often the reader should be noticing him varies with how mysterious you want said villain's identity, personality, attributes, etc. to be. And you have to have a hate/love relationship with your villain. You can love who you've made them out to be, and what you've created them to do. But you can also hate your own villain for some despicable acts he or she may commit.
     
  16. ScaryMonster
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    ScaryMonster Active Member

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    I think the best villains are the ones that are really likable and their evil arises from a lack of empathy.

    That is the inability to relate to other peoples pain, Jean-Paul Sartre said that hell is other people, certainly "Evil" is the product of the ability of humans to make abstract that which is concrete.

    But what makes compelling reading is to actually make reader empathize with the villain, for his or her logic to strike a cord with the reader.

    Conceiving a hatred of a certain group is an abstract notion and building and running death camp to systematically dispose of this group is a concrete thing.
    But Evil is not necessarily defined by the number of its victims, but by the way it kills them.
    I'd say that simplistic Evil is too evil! Or at least its unsatisfying to a reader, remember one mans evil might well be considered another man good.

    A good example of this is the character Harry Lime from "The 3rd Man."

    Quotes from “The Third Man.”

    Harry Lime: (Opens door of Ferris Wheel compartment) Look Down there, would you feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you 20 thousand pounds for every dot that stopped would you really, old man tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spend? Free of income tax old man, free of income tax!……

    Harry Lime: Nobody thinks in terms of human beings. Governments don't. Why should we? They talk about the people and the proletariat, I talk about the suckers and the mugs - it's the same thing. They have their five-year plans, so have I.

    Martins: You used to believe in God.

    Harry Lime: Oh, I still do believe in God, old man. I believe in God and Mercy and all that. But the dead are happier dead. They don't miss much here, poor devils.

    Harry Lime: In Italy, for 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they have brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? - The cuckoo clock!
     
  17. Lothgar
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    Lothgar Contributing Member

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    There is no line you can cross for a villain to be "too" evil, but to make a quality villain for you story, he/she/it can't be totally evil without any redeeming qualities. There has to be an ounce of virtue, good, remorse, falsely accused, unjustly wronged...something that makes your reader give a measure of sympathy for the villain, even if they don't endorse or approve of his deeds, they can at least understand WHY he commits his acts of villainy.

    In the Lord of the Rings, Sauron doesn't actually show up at all...but his agents, minions, armies, the effects of his supernatural powers and the soul chilling glare of his conjured lidless eye, wreathed in flame, peering from beyond the boundaries of the material world were more than enough to convey the message that he was one bad mofo. :)

    At my age and its corresponding level of cynicism, I find it difficult to muster the energy to actually hate anything anymore (It would have to be REALLY bad for me to care enough, to evoke that much passion out of myself).

    I have better things to do than hate fictional characters with my dark, sinister, searing hatred, that burns deep within my soul like an infernal flame that shall never die...

    ...I reserve that for the government at tax time.

    If you are old enough to be part of the work force...you KNOW what I mean.
     
  18. MindscrewMin
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    MindscrewMin New Member

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    How evil is too evil?

    It all depends on the villain's circumstances and how much you want the reader to be able to half-justify this villain. A villain who has suffered horribly at the hands of his opposition and is in turn a Well-Intentioned Extremist is likely to take things further than a villain who does it all For The Lulz. Conversely, a villain who has been wronged may end up being more humane and merciful than your typical Joker-esque colorful psychopath of ambiguous motivations, due to his ability to see things from the victim's PoV.

    How much of an appearance should a good villain have throughout the story?


    I like a lot of villain-time. Personally, I like to see the villains plotting and going head-to-head with the heroes. But that's mostly because...

    Is it a good thing if you hate your own villain?

    I often love and hate my own villains because they are me. Or, they started out as someone like me, and now they're the people I'm afraid to become but can easily see myself becoming if I'm not careful. They're typically exaggerated versions of one or more of my weaknesses, so yeah, I end up hating/resenting them, but at the same time, I can't ENTIRELY hate them. It's complicated.
     
  19. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it's important to remember too, that a villain doesn't always have to be EVIL, he could just have a different agenda than the mc, which makes him an obstacle to the goals of the mc. Everyone seem to think that villains necessarily has to be pure evil, but I think that is kind of a... clichée, hehe ;)
     

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