Villains & Martin Luther King: Day (22) of Project 365

“Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal.” – Martin Luther King

Martin Luther King Jr.

Let’s talk about villains.

What villains does your story have? Villainy in writing can take many different forms, be it personified by a specific “bad guy” character or simply an attribute of one of your not-so-bad characters. For now, I’m going to focus on villains who exist as characters in your story.

I have a list of rules in my head when I’m writing about the antagonist, but I always find those rules easier said than done.

1. Don’t be evil for evil’s sake. Your bad guy character should never be a static “prop” who simply works against your antogonist to forward your story. You should know your bad guy character just as (or more) intimately as your main character. If your baddie’s motivation seems unrealistic, your reader will tap into it and it will affect the entire push of your story.

2. Find the good in your bad guy. (I use the term “guy” loosely. Your antagonist could be a girl, a child, a talking reptile, etc.) If you take the time to discover the good things your bad guy does (maybe he has a history of donating to charities or likes to help old ladies cross the street), you can create depth, dichotomy, and a far more interesting character that may surprise you as well as the reader.

Most of all, remember that your bad guy doesn’t ever think of himself as the bad guy. In his mind, however much the writer (and hopefully the reader) disagrees with him, the bad guy must believe 100% in his purpose, and have internal logic to what he does.

Good luck creating your baddies!

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