"I like villains because there's something so attractive about a committed person- they have a plan, an ideology, no matter how twisted. They're motivated." -Russell Crowe
What about you- do you have a favorite fictional villain? What do you find especially attractive about them?
When I'm reading a book (or watching a movie) and the bad guy is someone whose plight I can empathize with and whose plans are devised with frighteningly obsessive yet genius detail, this makes the story a million times more interesting!
I think it can be difficult to write a "villain" because there's this tendency to put all of the focus on the hero's motivations, making sure readers feel connected to her/him, while the villain's motivations aren't quite explained. In other words, the villain often lacks depth.
This is something I struggle with when I'm writing the bad guy.
So, just below I've created a brief list of villains who I admire as well as the reasons why I like them. Then, I'll keep these qualities in mind as I write my bad guys. Hopefully, this will help me to remember that villains are people too- they usually have some good qualities. I think the trick to creating a great villain may be to figure out what makes them admirable/relatable. So anyway, here's the list...
Professor Moriarty is a genius. He choreographs elaborate plans that often work because he's an expert at, among other things, understanding and predicting human nature. He's a scary guy but I admire his mind.
Catwoman's survival instincts and desire for justice make her relatable.
She does bad things for the sake of her own survival (which often leaves fans questioning whether or not she's even a real villain or simply someone who's trying to get by). When Catwoman feels that another villain has gone too far, she kicks their butt because she has something of a conscience- except for when it comes to doing things for the sake of her own survival.
Javert is heartbreaking. Sure, he's hellbent on seeing justice carried out um, to the point of insanity. But I also find him heartbreaking because knowing a few things about his past (such as the fact that he was born in a jail) help me to understand why he is the way he is. He must have order in his life and he must see "the wicked" punished, this includes him deeming himself wicked and inflicting self-punishment.
Hopefully, the next time I write a villain I can find a way to make them, not flat-out evil, but relatable.
Who are your favorite villains and why?
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