1. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    What Does Your Villain Do for a Living?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Catrin Lewis, Jul 29, 2014.

    Besides being The Villain, that is?

    Case in point: Gru, the villain-turned-protagonist in the Despicable Me movies is a stereotypical Professional Villain. That's why he makes such a great cartoon character. He's filthy rich with no explanation of how he got that way, he's got hoards of minions at his beck and call, his house/headquarters sits in plain sight in the middle of a large city and no one seems to wonder what on earth he's getting up to in there or even care . . .

    The James Bond villains are more of the same.

    If you're writing fantasy you just make him the biggest, baddest wizard or mage in the kingdom. Or she can be the Evil Monarch. But what about stories set in real life? What if you're trying to write a villain/evil antagonist who's a little more real, a little-- no, a lot-- more rounded?

    Are you making his or her profession the field for his villainy? Or is his villainy a separate thing like a hobby or cause? And in that case, what finances it?
     
  2. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    The queen in my fantasy is a despot who is doing what she thinks is best for the kingdom. What she does for a living? Well, that's the problem with Evil Monarchs for me. Ruling a kingdom is literally their living, they just don't rule it all that well. Granted she doesn't sit on her throne all day plotting the next atrocity. What does she do? The usual queen thing: deal with politics, nosy politicians/nobles, ambassadors, and make the occasional visit to a village/town. In fact...that just gave me an idea... <hurries to scratch down some notes>
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  3. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Any corporate fatcat makes for an easy bad guy. Their greed and often unethical methods are both what make them the bad guy and what make them wealthy.
     
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  4. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    My villain is a scientist. There are plenty of antagonists who are corporate fatcats, though :D
     
  5. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    He's a horse thief. No good will ever come of it, I tell you...
     
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  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Policemen and high school principals (also parents, judges, landlords, parking enforcement officers, and most of the regulars in the WF debate subforum) make for very good villains ',..,'
     
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  7. Charisma
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    Charisma Transposon Contributor

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    Don't give away our plans for reconstruction of the cosmos! T_T
     
  8. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    My villain washes car windows at traffic lights, deals drugs on the side, and prostitutes street kids he lures into his home.
     
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  9. archerfenris
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    archerfenris Active Member

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    In all seriousness: My second novel is still in the planning phase (when I should be hammering out the last of the first one) but the villain is a college student studying art design.
     
  10. Renee J
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    Renee J Contributing Member

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    I don't have a villian. I have two antogonists who aren't bad people - they just keep getting in the two protagonists' way. One is a real estate agent. The other is a woman who got married right out of college decades ago and never held a job.
     
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  11. obsidian_cicatrix
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    obsidian_cicatrix I ink, therefore I am. Contributor

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    High Confessor of the Church of the Creator. He's a complete BEEP.
     
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  12. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the sci-fi story I'm working on, the "lead antagonist" is just a cog in a military program, so her "day job" is technically more of a villain than she is ;)
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was in a hurry so didn't get to answer this part. My novel is sci-fi vampire novel, so even though 'fantastical' the characters and relationships I strive to portray should be relatable and representative of ordinary life. My villain became a scientist in order to correct a terrible wrong he once committed. His job provides everything he needs and he virtually lives in his lab. He's quite obsessed with making restitution, and in that, he loses sight of all perspectives except for his own. This makes him very dangerous and single-minded about achieving his goal, and he is unconcerned about morality, just a means to an end. He is obviously very hurt, which made him quite twisted, but the reader gets to know him and he isn't entirely unsympathetic.
     
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  14. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    My villain is one of the five leaders, called "Luminaries," of an advanced civilization that fought a war with the people of a larger continent. He is a villain because he is bitter about all the sadness and destruction in the world, so he wishes to destroy it and recreate the world. What really pushed him over the edge was his race's persecution of the union between the woman that he loved and her actual lover.

    His race can directly absorb energy from the surroundings and use it as sustenance, and they can only die from being slain; therefore, he has no need for money and focuses solely on his goals, but in the event that he needs something, he can easily obtain it through his status or one of his many connections. He is also patient enough to work toward it slowly, often taking the long way for the sake of caution, but since he is also going against the will of his race, he has to be extra cautious.

    However, he is not so crazily evil or wicked, and he is often playful and easy-going, which is a remnant of his original behavior before the dramatic events in his life. He is a bit of a mystery to the protagonists because he only seems to be he antagonist half of the time when their interests happen to conflict.
     
  15. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    My Villain is the head editor of a major cable news network and her villainy is related to that pursuit (she has a view of reality that she is trying to impose and to that extent takes a lot of actions to drive the news cycle her way - including blackmail, sabotaging careers of reporters she doesn't like, and even trying to manipulate the content available to other outlets by suppressing sources). In her mind this is all justified in the pursuit of truth and justice, and her manipulation ensures the public receives "the truth"...but she loses grip and becomes more irrational and agressive as her version of "truth" becomes more distant from reality.
     
  16. Domino355
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    Domino355 Contributing Member

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    I haven't decided really who my story's villains are, as some of them are actually heroes fighting each other. (The novel is written from four different perspectives). One of them I call villain because he is the MC's enemy, but he's actually a freedom fighter trying to overthrow a corrupt civilization.
     
  17. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    My "villains" are all kinds of things. The elder brother of the MC and a Lord, a high tech hacker and corporate executive, a Roman Senator, a Latin American dictator, a Tudor nobleman, a Victorian doctor, a Czarist Russian agent and assassin, the head of a deadly kidnapping organisation, a pilot cum werewolf, and many more.
     
  18. Ulramar
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    Ulramar Contributing Member Contributor

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    My villain tries to hold together a totalitarianistic government controlling a nation of magical casters while being attacked by multiple assailants.
     
  19. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    I don't have a lot of villains in my stories. My characters are usually their own worst enemy. But whenever I pick a role for a bad guy - bad cop, bad preacher, bad corporate manager - I don't like to have him stand out as though he is the embodiment or representative of that faction, belief, job. It feels a bit slanderous so I like contrast. For every bad cop there's a good cop, for every bad preacher there's a good preacher.
     
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  20. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Urban fantasy: He works for the U.S. Federal government. (Kind of redundant?)

    2d part of your question:
    He's just a greedy person who sees an avenue of opportunity. His position in government allows him the opportunity to discover this 'ultimate villainy' but it is really distinctly apart from his gov't work.

    And he likes to kill people and he likes the comforts of money.
     
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2014
  21. Sheriff Woody
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    Sheriff Woody Active Member

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    Deals drugs.
     
  22. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmm. Looks like the preponderance of villains here do their dirty work through their professions. My antagonist in my WIR is, conversely, a villain by avocation. He's a demagogue who appeals to the worst in humanity by seeming to appeal to their best, but he's not an elected politician. Money, he has to have money . . . I think I may make him a successful real estate entrepreneur or maybe a brilliant stock trader who uses the proceeds to finance his "transformative" vision.
     
  23. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    If that's your concept, study people who throw money around in politics.

    Read up on the Koch Brothers, Sheldon Adelson, and Foster Friess on the right... Tom Steyer and George Soros on the left.. and post-mayoral Mike Bloomberg for someone with an agenda that cuts both ways. They have common threads in methodology but offer a range of personalities and motivations.
     
  24. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thinking about it, I probably want Ted Kaczynski with a lot more charisma and rather more subtlety. The idea of money in politics might work well. I don't want to get off-topic from my original question, but his quietly buying off elected officials so they'll look the other way as he gains power might be a good touch.
     
  25. maskedhero
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    maskedhero Active Member

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    It depends on the story, but my villains have all had semi-real professions before becoming monstrous. Though some professions are monstrous.

    1. Construction worker
    2. Mob man
    3. District Attorney
    4. Military Intelligence
    5. Drone maker
    6. Investment Banker
     

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