Creating Villains: Part 2

Monday, March 29

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What makes the villain such a threat? Do they have an army at their command, magic powers, control of the entire city, or just their skills and wits?

Why does the villain take action against the protagonist? For glory, money, fame?
One of the biggest mistakes people make in creating villains is through their motive. Villains don't sit around thinking, "How could I do more evil today?"
Realistically, villains usually don't recognize what they're doing as evil. They will rationalize, tell themselves that they deserve power, or feel that what they're doing is for a greater good.

Differentiating Villains
I tend to have more than one villain per book. Not only is there the main antagonist, but other secondary characters who make life hard for the hero.
With three different personalities to choose from, why don't all the villains end up the same?
I separate their personalities three ways. (Three times is a charm.)

One way is by determining the villains build.
A lightweight, quick villain will have different methods of fighting/striking fear than a large, powerfully-built one.
The small one will probably use subterfuge rather than brawn.
It's also good to take into note the gender of your villain. A female antagonist tends to use looks and lies to her advantage, whereas most male antagonists are classified by violence.

Quirks also help to differentiate characters. It could be anything from a fondness for chess, being clumsy, or superstitious.
The smallest difference helps.

The way a character speak says a lot about them.
Long words mark their intelligence and upbringing.
Slang signifies that they're less likely to be from a posh family.
Anything from stuttering, whining, lilting, guttural, to deceptively sweet  tells us important character traits.

7 comment(s):

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