How do you plan your Evil Character?

Hi, I thought this was something that should be dissected and talked about. And while the forum has made some suggestions on existing topics like ‘Vilain profile’ as in what makes the perfect Vilain, I like to dig a bit deeper.

For those who wrote games, are in the middle of writing, have written novels (Like Meh!), or fanfic (Hey, don’t shit on those!):

  • How do you figure out this is the Vilain?

  • What makes him a villain besides the usual 'Kicked puppies, stole my cookies, and spit in my orange juice, is there more to the Vilain?

  • How do you deal when the lines blur, your story mutates and suddenly your Vilain looks more like Magneto and wants to switch sides?

  • When is it okay to have more than 1 villain in a story and when is it not okay?

And finally, taken from the Manga called ‘Naruto’, how do you deal when you write your villain in a way that you find yourself boxed in a corner to the point that you end up screwing your ending (Like Kishimoto did), and end up with an Overpowered Asshole you don’t know how to get him killed. Hey, that shit happens more often than you know!

I’m calling you dear @malinryden because you are my chosen Deity when it come to writing! Bless us with your experience and knowledge!

For everyone else, let’s hear your wisdom as well!

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38 views and no comments? Dudes, you ‘Luckers’ are a bunch of wuss! Come on!

We wanna hear what you think! We don’t bites…

Be Brave! :blush:

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I have no issues with multiple villains so long as they serve a role. In the end a villain is just a part in the story at large. They are a focal point for the reader and main character to latch on to in the journey and change the main character is to go through.

I often will need a role to be filled, then fill that with an existing character if I can. When I cannot I make a character, weather benevolent or malevolent. In the case of villains, I first make sure they fit the roll needed, then I will try to figure out motivation. If they are a main antagonist, I will often have a small background written up, maybe even a personality and motivations write up. Once this is done, I will know how likely they are to kick puppies or if they are just misunderstood.

In the end the villain is whatever is getting in the way of the main character from completing the story. This could be an enemy or even their own doubts. Not all villains are external demons, some are internal.

If a villain ever become something so powerful that the main character could never best them, then you should probably look over the story as a whole and rewrite things. Assuming it is an ongoing series and you cannot go back, you could always Deus Ex Machina or introduce a late-game kryptonite like in Harry Potter.

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I suppose that the easiest way to go with this is to make their goals/motivation the opposite of the MC. This will serve to make them an interesting character, an obstacle, and not the kind of person in your second point.

My thought is that their goal/motivation isn’t very acceptable to wider perspectives. Not necessarily overthrowing or world domination, it can be something less ambitious such as a classic betrayal, a killer with a gray morality, or back to my first point, opposite goals. You don’t necessarily have to kill or do atrocities to be a villain. Another option can be desperation, not only is it easy to relate to for some, but it will also make the character more alive in a sense because it’s very possible that they can be someone who can actually exist in this world. Making them an actual threat is somewhat obvious, but it goes underlooked a lot of the time. After all, it’s easier to say one will kill than one has killed. My last point is to make them the hero of their own story. It’ll help with making them less flat and makes them feel more like an active character in the story than just a piece that moves around when the story needs it to.

And If you knocked my tea over, I’d probably call you one, just saying.

That will depend. Try figuring that out first while making the character, do you really want them to stick with the “villain” label until the end or not? The concept is very interesting but executed poorly too often from what I’ve seen. Because the transition is either too fast or the situation didn’t warrant the transition at all. And the most common reason for that to happen is through the introduction of a greater evil, which I’m not fond of, but I can understand why. As long as you make it clear why, and can deliver on their goal/motivation, it should be fine.

It’s your story, so when is it okay or not will ultimately be up for you to decide. That said, try not to introduce them all at the same time, and don’t let them overlap too much.

The last part, I’m not very sure about. Haven’t really read Naruto or stumbled upon the said problem, so we’ll have to wait for someone with more experience than me for that. And of course, take my statements with a grain of salt as always.

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Guys thats gold! keep them coming!

here from my own personal experience (even if right now I’m going through a storm of ‘feeling’…ew) lol

To my dear @malinryden when I wrote my stories, I noticed I have a tendency to ‘Self Insert’ (especially with my last story). So I ask you some wisdom if you don’t mind. During my writing of one of my old stories, I noticed because I was ‘Self inserting’ (Keep in mind this was done years back before I had my anxiety pills, fucking pills arent doing shit for my wanna die feeling), and I noticed, I hated my villain. Therefor, I end up…kinda not working on them as much as I should have.

My question for you is: how do you disconnect when you connect so deeply to the point that you self insert to the point you can see the world…through your character eyes? I mean, I was planning to fix that during the editing…but part me, still hate that asshole to the point that I don’t wanna fix it.

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When it comes to writing villains, I like to present them as humans rather than just a diabolical entity that wishes to destroy the world just because.

A villain should be someone the reader can relate to, someone the reader can see themselves becoming if presented with the same circumstances(at least in my opinion). We all have a shadow side, and a villain is a character that encompasses that side of humanity. Anger, betrayal, hatred, oppression, injustice, etc…These all are emotions and situations we deal with on the basis and they make a good incentive to give birth to a villain.

A villain will wish to destroy the world because they’ve been hurt by it. Through annihilation, they will gain the control and power to create the world they always wanted -albeit with a twisted sense of heroism- in the villain’s mind they will feel like they are doing the right thing. And, I really dislike it when a villain suddenly has a change of heart. Beliefs aren’t so easy to forgo.

I think that villains and heroes are basically two sides of the same coin, they both wish to change the world but one resorts to extreme measures to achieve his goals.

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Yes this is Important, homewhever, keep in mind the ‘Muahahaha Die! Die Die Die!’ can also be fun.

I mean, let’s face it. we can’t relate to ‘Sociopath’ and ‘Psychopath’ in real life, who have no conscience or remorse. And pushing them aside, doesn’t erase them. They still exist, we still need to deal with them. And there are cases in real life, where it was often just that…‘For fun’, ‘Cause I wanted to see that reaction’, ‘Cause I could’…

I would say ‘,Making them relatable’ is important, but the ‘Psycho’ is also a feasible villain. Maybe many wouldn’t ‘Connect’, but the villain doesn’t need ALWAYS a ‘Connection’…it just need to be.

Think of Ted Bundy, think of Charles Manson…do we really need to Connect to those assholes to get what they did was Atrocious???

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Well, as a reader who is fond of storytelling, I can tell you this. I have met someone who does film analysis of characters, mainly villains. FIRST emphasize the “evil” actions that said character has done in the story, killing, stealing, etc. And then analyze if any of these actions had any reason to be or what kind of consequences that action had in the rest of the story.

With this he reviews villain points and Machiavellian points. (His concept of Machiavellian is to do a lesser evil for a greater good, which means to benefit others. If it is for the antagonist then it is not Machiavellian but villainous because it is selfish)

For example (this is not me, this was his analysis) he concluded that the Disney villain of The Hunchback of Notre Dame has many nuances as a villain and is more complex than we think. Mainly drawing on realistic notions of the characters and not Disney’s romanticized view of the characters.

And also I prefer the term “antagonist” than “villain” because then there are stories where you are the bad guy like Breaking Bad and it only has antagonists that get in the way of Walter Withe.

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Yes, you make a good point. The psycho villain is just as good, and I enjoy it if written well. Yet, sometimes the villain comes off as comical and his whole role in the book/game is to press the big red button and BOOM-desctruction, madness, chaos!! Then the hero comes and saves the day. Not saying I don’t like it, some tv shows, movies, books/games pull it off well.

Maybe I am overreaching, but I just like it when the villain has a tragic story and you feel yourself almost rooting for him at times. It’s just a personal preference of mine. (Think Solas from DAI, Eren from AOT-even tho Eren is more antihero than villain, I still think he falls into the same category as the rest.)

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But is that because we can’t ‘Connect’ or because we are afraid of facing what exist before us?

Think of Frieza in DBZ? Think of serial Killers?

They aren’t all ‘Muahahah chaos and mayhem’. Thats a ‘Caricature’ of what they are…

But often, they are ‘Chilling’, ‘Without remorse’, and ‘real’.

I blame mostly bad writing, because ‘Exemples’ exist…since the stone ages.

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I think I tend to differentiate the villain that’s only there because of, plot needs a villain, and it needs to kick puppies because of, hero needs something to do besides living his life. In which case you should rethink if your villain can be replaced with a monster that’s only purpose is killing things that moves and make noise, which for me seems too hollow to have a good reason to exist.
To the other villain in which you can make another book from their point of view and you can just write the same amounts of words telling their story, with relationships, conflicts, and everything that your hero already has.

Villains can start as your best inseparable friends, for them to become the villain you only need to have a conflict of goals or interest, and take it to the point in which it gets too big of a thing between that friendship or relation to not have to do something about it.

Switching sides means that the goals for the villain and the hero align, at least for that moment, so they fight for the same, or similar reason.
I don’t see switching sides as a bad thing, but you’ll loose the villain in that case, so either you find another one or make someone replace that empty spot, unless that’s hot your story ends.

More than 1 villain, when you need more conflicts with another interest, when your 1rst villain doesn’t fit on the new conflict cause it doesn’t have that goals, when you want to lift the stakes to your hero.

I didn’t watched naruto, but if your villain gets too powerful, well, your hero loses, and it’ll have to keep going with that over his shoulders and find another way to achieve what he wants. Too powerful doesn’t means invincible, but the hero may not know at that point, I don’t know, it seems like more plot to cover and another chapter to advance the story more than an issue. If that doesn’t work, the writer is the one that has the magical keyboard that gives the power to the villain, so, don’t let him be so powerful that it takes over your keyboard?

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Yea I guess in the end there’s no such thing as a lame villain, only bad writing.

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Thank you for taking the time to reply, what I can tell you about ‘Kishimoto’ is that he didn’t believe in the ‘An eye for an eye’. Which frustrated his readers to no ends…

Meaning, all the Vilains he created in ‘Naruto’, never got to what they deserved. He went with ‘All the Vilains get some redemptions in the end, no matter what kind of atrocity they commited’. Therefor, when his big bad villain showed up in the end? he decided to use him like a ‘Sacrifice’. A bigger villain show up, suck him in and TADAM! the guy die…because he was killed by a bigger and badder evil.

Which left the fans who have been following the series for years, beyond frustrated and bitter like hell…

Remember kids: Don’t write it like that! :joy:

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In fact, what you mention is interesting. Eren Yeager’s transition in the fight reasons of him going from revenge to surviving everyone on the ramparts. That would be a Machiavellian reason: survival. Is it them or us?

Perhaps it is the concept of the shadow in our hidden psyche that our society tends to repress for fear of falling into a dark state again. How is the case of the Japanese and Germans in their opinion regarding nationalism. (That feeling is a taboo in those nations because they fear falling back to what they did in their fascist stage)

How I study it and said Carl Jung

Or also expressed in these literary novels; Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo and Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. It is that representation of the ethereal in the darkest of the environment that surrounds the protagonist that explores the darkest stages of the human being throughout his journey so that in the end he processes all the events and makes a decision about it. Here the villains or antagonists of both novels: Pedro Páramo and Kurtz respectively.

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Well, sometimes if all ends up as you hope it doesn’t get better. Look, you still remember naruto because of that, it made you feel something that you still get your head around, I’m not defending or saying that its good or bad, but for what you say it seems to have done something different.
How many stories have a hero, a villain, and at the end the hero kills the villain as all the audience expected? do you remember a particular one? cause they are all kind of the same, they all go to the same bucket of “hero saves the day from the villain”.
Naruto doesn’t. Maybe that’s what the author wanted, I don’t know. Adding something different can make or break your success.

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I think that depand on the viewer, I personally I can’t get tired of watching the villain get his due.

I loved when Goku took down Frieza, making Frieza arc my favorite. Nothing like tearing down a Dictator’s empire and bitch slap him good while you are at it.

We also live in a world where ‘justice’ is a joke and a randomly generated outcome. You ‘May’ or ‘May not’ get justice… it’s a roll of the dice.

Therefore, I for one, want to see evil get NUKED.

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My short answer to everything would be “it depends”… I’m pretty sure that’s not useful to anyone. :sweat_smile:

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Always so cryptic… :smile:

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Indeed. While there are ways to improve, writing is still a creative process, so it’ll really depend on the author at the end of the day if they wish to follow the tips and advice.

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And the story.

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