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How to write a good villain

by Liston Flowers 2 months ago in Excerpt
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Its line can be punished, its sentiment can be forgiven

When we read novels or watch movies and television works, we often feel that the villain is more impressive than the main character, and even has a kind of indescribable charm, so how to make these "childhood shadow" or "dark horse prince" like villain in our own works become "both lovely and hateful"?

Generally speaking, a villain is a character who is opposed to a positive character or who is at odds with the main character in the work. Therefore, the villain in the story is set to conflict with the protagonist, or even completely opposite. These Settings include character character, character mission, three views and so on, in order to effectively enhance the contradictions and conflicts between the characters in the story, promote the development and trend of the story, and foil the character image of the protagonist.

Of course, it's important to note that all the characters serve the main character and his story anyway, and the villain is no exception, so you can set the role and function of the villain in the story according to the content of the story. In other words, how much the villain is in your story.

In brief, there are four main types of villains:

The first, Public Enemy type:

In a nutshell, the villain is the one who sets out to prevent the positive character -- the main character -- from achieving his goals. The existence of this kind of villain not only affects the development of the story, but also forces the positive characters to take the initiative to change because of his existence. For example, in terms of character and way of doing things, they and the protagonist of the story have opposite motives and opposite needs. For example, the protagonist wants to liberate the world, the villain wants to destroy the world; The protagonist wants a hamburger, the villain steals it; In short, this type of villain is the biggest obstacle to the main character's mission, also known as "public enemy number one". For example, the protagonist in the Antiques Bureau makes a wish and the "old emperor" who opposes him everywhere, and the Sherlock Holmes and Professor Moriarty in the Sherlock Holmes series are similar to this relationship.

The second, needle-threading villain:

These types of villains often serve as a thread in the story, often providing twists and turns that make the story feel more choppiness. Compared to the Public Enemy No. 1 type mentioned above, the needle-threading villain is in some ways more hated. Because they don't have the same aura and personality as Public Enemy No. 1, they usually prey on other characters in the story for their own ends and gain. For example, Lord Henry in Oscar Wilde's "The Portrait of Dorian Gray", he does not appear many times, but in a few words, he can persuade Dorian Gray from a kind and handsome young man to gradually go to the road of prostitution and selling his soul.

Third, the role villain

As the name suggests, they play a small role in the story, or even have no name at all. But being an element of the story can sometimes be a catalyst. In the fifty-sixth episode of Journey to the West, the Monkey King is expelled from his teacher's school by Tang Seng for killing a group of fur thieves, which leads to the six-eared macaque incident, which is the wonderful passage of The True and False Monkey King.

The fourth, gray villain

In fiction, all "bad guys" are bad guys, but that doesn't mean all villains are "bad guys." Absolute "bad guys" does exist in some works, the dark Lord sauron as "Lord of the rings" series, "harry potter" series of voldemort, these are all belong to a "bad" role, but in most of the works and real life, the villain in fact are grey, and there is no absolute "good" and "bad" dichotomy.

In Seiichi Morimura's Proof of Humanity, Kyoko Yashugi, the half-protagonist and villain, is not a "bad person" after all, but she makes some bad decisions in order to save her reputation and cover up her dark history, but she is not evil in herself. The character traits of this type of villain are fluid.

So how do we make a villain?

First of all, there is no such thing as a gratuitous villain, you need a reasonable motive. No matter good people or bad people, they will rationalize their behavior and believe that their motivation is sacred and correct. However, such motivation and behavior need not only the villain's own recognition, but also the reader's recognition. To set the motivation that everyone can agree with, we must think and look at the problem from the villain's perspective.

Given this motivation, the villain's actions are taken for granted. Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, for example, turns to the dark side of the Force only because he wants to save his wife Padme. This motivation is understandable for him and for the audience, and it is still forgivable even after he becomes the Dark Lord.

Secondly, people's personalities are complex and changeable, so how to make characters three-dimensional and character diversification is also one of the key elements in shaping a successful villain. Of course, this is not to split the villain's personality, but to add some more impressive elements to the character of the tone. These elements can be the imprint of the character's original personality, or the other side of his personality to foil his original characteristics. For example, Vito Don Corleone in "The Godfather" is a Mafia leader, who can do illegal activities and handle cats at the same time. At the same time, he is the protector of many weak civilians, which is deeply loved by people. This strong personality contrast makes him one of the classic villains.

A villain is A villain because he has an arc of personality change. Instead of starting at point A and ending at point A, there is always A series of events that push him from A to B. The villain cannot remain unchanged, or merely act as A tool to create conflict for the protagonist.

In many works, we will see the villain put on a coat of "good guy", and there will always be a sense of "surprise" or "shock" after removing this veil. Therefore, we can use similar smoke and mirrors to create the villain, and then uncover the final truth.

For a long time, we always have the impression that "bad guys die by talking too much", so there are a few "taboos" when it comes to creating bad guys:

First of all, if villain just for mischief and mischief, just act according to routine, finally can only get a boring, untenable, readers will find the villain is very boring, my suggestion is that in the villains and heroes must follow work world view, under the premise of not in the CARDS to each other, it will be more interesting to read.

If we compare the protagonist and the villain to the two ends of the scale, then the scale must be relatively balanced. This balance can be understood as the struggle between the two sides, even if occasionally tilted, but not completely in favor of one side of the scale, too strong of the villain is just as bad as too strong of the protagonist. On the other hand, a weak villain will not work either. Such a character will appear to have no tension in the work. We make the villain as strong as the main character, or a little bit stronger in some ways, a little bit more thoughtful, a little bit more capable, and almost beat the main character in doing so, and that's what makes the story really great. Such as the sentimental swordsman heartless sword "master li and master shangguan, two people in the weapon spectrum ranked third and second place respectively, can be said to be close, close, but in the end by master li a wisdom, seized the fleeting opportunity to latter slay, duel scene exciting very wonderful to read. Imagine if Li Xunhuan and Shangguan Jinhong strength gap is very big, no matter who wins, presumably readers will not buy it.

In addition, to write a good work, in addition to the story clear, each character's ending is also necessary, even if the ending is open. As the opposite of the main character, the villain should let the reader know the end of the character, rather than being left unsolved and become a rotten ending character.

In fact, to establish a character, the most basic, or to find out from life, the villain is the same, everyone in the world, no matter how good the character, will have negative emotions and negative personality, but this emotional vent and the outbreak of character will cause what kind of explosive consequences? What happens after that happens? This requires us to carefully observe "his" every move, every word and every action. Or you can focus the negative personalities of many people in your life on the villain of the story. After all, art comes from life. The archetypes of many villains may be all around us. For example, when you were in the rebellious period, weren't teachers and parents the villains for you at that time?

Of course, it's nice to let the villain win a temporary victory, and occasionally let evil win over good, which can keep the reader's appetite hooked.

To sum up what we've learned in this class, a good work needs not only an impressive protagonist, but also a well-understood villain. Let the reader walk into the villain's inner world, establish a connection with the villain, and resonate with him. After knowing everything about the villain, the reader can agree with some of his ideas, and achieve the effect of "love is deep and responsibility is deep". A successful villain also needs to be created by the author with as much pen power as the main character. Whether a good story is true or not is often done by the protagonist and the villain together.

The imagination question in this lesson is:

Pick a favorite "charming villain" and write a story about him.

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About the author

Liston Flowers

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Comments (5)

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  • Julie Cicco2 months ago

    Villainous!! Great article!

  • Latisha Roshell2 months ago

    I think the best way to write the best Villain is to become 1. Summon your inner dark side

  • NJ Gallegos 2 months ago

    I absolutely adore a gray villain. Give me someone that does horrible things for good reasons and I will love them forever. Anakin Skywalker is the perfect example for that! He force strangles people to get information to help the people he loves, etc.

  • Deasun T. Smyth2 months ago

    I have this one bad guy in my book but I don't have a great motive for him. what should I do to spruce him up? he is a villain who wants to conquer worlds, and destroy all humanity. but how would that be justified to him?

  • Veronica Coldiron2 months ago

    Great article! I'm subscribed!

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