Writing 'Good' Villains



Recently, I've been working on writing my own villains. What makes them tick, why they're painted as the bad guys and what their motivations are. It's been an interesting exercise to say the least and being inside a villains head is a lot of fun!

I was listening to the author strong podcast (http://authorstrong.com/?s=villains) recently on what makes a good villain and it really got me thinking about some of the bad guys I love to hate. Getting your audience to hate your bad guys as much as they love your hero can be tricky. The best example of this, is Geoffrey from Game of Thrones. Every time he was on screen I could feel my blood pressure rise. He was a character you loved to hate and it gave you someone to root against, which is what you want in a story. If you know that the good guys are going to win out no matter what, then the thrill of the story is lost. But not knowing if your hero's are going to get their heads chopped off or not, really raised the stakes.

Another great way to write a villain that Mat Morris brought up, is the villain you root for. For example in House of Cards, you are on Frank Underwood's side, you understand his motivations and make excuses for the heinous acts he commits. What makes this villain so interesting is that you know you shouldn't root for them, but you can't help it. You want to see them win.

It stands to reason, that if you take bits and pieces from Geoffrey's character and mold it with some of Frank's charisma, you'll have a villain everyone will want to read more about. In order to do this, I need to know more about my villains and why they turned to the dark side in the first place. Personally, I like to write from a characters POV to get to know them better. It helps me find their voice and allows their inner monologue to come out.

While working with my latest villain, I realized there was a catalysts for her turning to evil. She wasn't always bad and really, what she is trying to accomplish, anyone can understand and empathize with. The way she goes about achieving her goals is another story altogether and that's what makes her the bad guy. She is willing to do things other won't in order to get what she wants.

There are several other characters I cant wait to flesh out. Some start out good and turn, others are as bad as it gets but find redemption. All of these characters have motivations, just like us and it so awesome that I get to explore all the different ways in which people justify their actions!

So, who's your favorite fictional villain and why? Sound off below!

Until Next Time!

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