Creating Villains Part 1

Monday, March 15

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Next to the protagonist, the antagonist is the most important force in your story. They are the one who prevents the hero from achieving his/her goal and causes problems.

Of course, while the main character's problems can be caused by anything from a natural disaster to their own internal battle, I'd like to focus on the human antagonist. (By 'human' I mean all intelligent creatures, mythical or otherwise.)

There are hundreds of different personalities you can pin on a villain. But I think there are three main ones that influence their dialogue and actions.

Eerily calm
This is the bad guy that's 'calm and calculating.'
They refrain from taking rash action and spend most of their time plotting and quietly forwarding their interests.
When faced with the protagonist, they tend to smile coldly and say lines like, "No last words? How disappointing." (Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary by Brandon Mull)
Outwardly they feign indifference and confidence. Whether they feel the same on the inside is less certain.

This is the opposite of eerily calm. They jump into action and take pleasure in fighting their own fights. They're bold and rash with enemies and allies alike.
They anger easily and are prone to violence.

This antagonist is a mixture of the two. While they can hide their feelings and tend to plan (eerily calm), they also believe in the power of fear, and will use violence to achieve their ends (rough).
They don't usually mask their displeasure (unlike the eerily calm), but will show it in other ways than immediately striking out.

4 comment(s):

Marian Monday, March 15, 2010  

Good post!! I think that the eerily calm villains are often the most scary, and the most interesting. My main problem with writing that kind is that it's hard to have more than one villain like that, and still be able to distinguish them as different characters. :P

Story Weaver Tuesday, March 16, 2010  

That's an excellent point. So as not confuse villains I tend to give each one a strange trait like a fondness for chess, or an accent so rough that it misleads other characters...
You know what? That sounds like a new post. :)

Milli Saturday, March 20, 2010  

Really interesting. Voldemort kinda sounds like the 'in the middle' villan:]

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