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 Tips: Villians

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Brax
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PostSubject: Tips: Villians   Sun Feb 08, 2015 6:28 am

I've got to admit never having written a tutorial but I felt I'd like to give you some of what I've picked up when writing characters with a darker side.

So, what makes a villain? Many would say a psychotic killer (or a cackling man with a fancy mustache, we'll get on to that later.) but villains are not so black and white, they do have areas where maybe they're pushed into that certain situation and simply followed the path that fate has created for them, sometimes, it's a simple criminal who robs painting for a living or simply an outcast who wants to get back at society for marginalizing them.

Motivation plays a rather big part in creating a villain. We'll use Richard as an example. He had been raised in a completely different environment, tortured and made to be the best killer. The fact that he was tortured and kept within the facility had pushed his mental state over the threshold and snapped, wanting nothing more than revenge.

Not every single villain you meet has the same reason for doing what they do. Sometimes, the villain you meet simply want to do (insert reason) because they have nothing else to do. As stated previously, they may have been forced to become a career criminal because they are blackmailed, etc.

This does slightly overlap onto writing description (by Meta) but let's zoom in on the words "Didn't feel sorry" for a moment. WHY was your character not sorry for killing someone? Was it that they have a malfunction with the amygdala? Have they become desensitized to violence? Or is it something else? It's useful to consider the layers underneath even if it's a criminal who simply 'wants to do it.' You also have to take in and consider why they do what they do.

But when time comes, the character has it's big moment and encounters a person...HOW do they react to the situations around them? Not many would admit to being straight out 'evil and want to kill you', many would rather keep it quiet and down low. Are they a smooth talker? A thug? Sometimes, they give the person chills because they can feel the coldness off your character/ villain.

Most villains or bad guys will see themselves as a hero of their own 'story', doing what they presume is right and just. I hope this helps with the 'bad guy'

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PostSubject: Re: Tips: Villians   Tue Feb 10, 2015 11:10 pm

I know I've not been on a lot, but I'd like to add a little something to this.

And the thing I want to add is a little thing I like to call the absolute top tier villains.

Now, this is obviously opinion, but I will say that whether you consider them to be the best type of villain or not doesn't change the fact that they are incredibly difficult to write for. There aren't many of the type I'm about to delve into, and when a lot of people think about the best motivations for a villain, they think of something like Mr. Freeze, driven to his life by severe tragedy and loss, not wanting to do evil deeds, but trapped in this lifestyle and unwilling to part with his own past and let go of the one he loves.

...But there's an even better type.

There exists the rare breed of villain that doesn't just do what they do because they feel they have no option, or have been driven into the life, but rather because they want to make the world a better place. And I don't mean the insane Kefka types who want to destroy the world because 'destruction is the true nature of being' or whatever, or the people who want to rule the planet with an iron fist to try to keep the peace. No, I mean an intricate, well laid plan, the end goal of which may, or even definitely WILL, save millions of lives and create a more peaceful planet. This plan should be so good that, as the story progresses, you begin to be unsure of whether the 'heroes' are doing the right thing. In fact, they may be doing the wrong thing. Generally, this plan will involve casualties or other caveats that make the plan seem, on the surface, pure evil. However, in the end more people will be saved, maybe entire planets or systems or even the entire universe, at the cost of a fraction of the lives that would be lost anyway.

Now, again, this plan needs to be really, REALLY good and, more importantly, it needs to be really, REALLY well explained. Alternatives to achieve the same goals as this plan either should not exist or should be questionably or demonstrably worse than the plan itself. It should be hard, if not impossible, to argue against this thing.

Example: You should read and/or watch Watchmen. If you have, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. If not...just go do it. One of the best written villains of all time. True story.

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