Last week we talked about characters in general, but this week, we’ll talk about a special kind of character: the villain.
The bad guy or gal. The nasty person that’s in our hero’s way.
And it’s so easy to fall into those common supervillain tropes and make the villain cardboard nasty, stupid and psychotic. Here’s a good resource of things your villain should avoid: Peter’s Evil Overlord List (Oldie but Goodie).
But if you really think about it, the villain is simply another character. He or she simply happen to oppose our good, handsome or beautiful lead.
Imagine one of those “playgrounds” for miniature roleplaying, set up on a table you can walk around.
You can see the terrain, all the individual pieces of an army sorted and planted into their places, the orks, trolls, humans, maybe battlemachines. You’re standing on the side of the yellow ones, and you admire the smart battleline and how well they are arranged to take advantage of the hill on one side of the table. Yes, this lady knows her stuff.
That’s your hero.
Now step around to the blue side. Take a good look at how this player arranged his pieces. Are they really less well placed? Is there really no strategy behind them? Actually, this player might have made even better use of his heavy battlemachines, and he has already taken the hill. He’s clever, you realize.
That’s your villain.
He is also doing his best.
You see, these two players know what they are doing. They have practiced for years. They are looking forward to a long, entertaining game of wits, luck and strategy.
Just as your reader does.
Make your villain a person, with a personal background, things he or she wants, hates or fears. These people love and hate just as a hero does. They are like the other side of a coin – similar but different. And definitely in the story together.
And if you manage to develop a soft spot for your villain, you’re right on target. That will make them real.
Here’s some tapping to help you with your villain.
Even if I don’t even want to think about the bad guy, I just need him in the game to make life hard for the hero, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I’m open to giving my villain a motivation and a goal so my readers can understand him better.
Even though I want to go all overboard with the bad lady and her evil ways, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I can now choose to understand why she is the way she is, and make her real for my readers.
Even though it’s so much fun to create over-the-top villains and make them worse than Blofeld, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I can now choose to give my hero a worthy opponent to satisfy my readers.
Who’s your favorite bad guy?
What do you like about him or her?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what are you creating right now?
Please share in a comment!
Image Source: National Novel Writing Month
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