Friday, January 14, 2011

Good V. Evil


Welcome to The Fantastic Friday Writers!

I think I'll focus on evil today.

TIP:  you have my permission to make your villain as despicable as you want, just please, please GIVE him or her a redeeming quality. Why deny the opportunity for your readers to connect with your villain?

IE: Sinister Van Arson loves setting forests on fire, but not before he rescues his most favorite animal. The bunny rabbits. Okay, I know that's quite the exaggeration, but I bet you know what I mean.

A perfect example of a villain, according to me, is Megamind. He failed in his early life in accomplishing positive goals because they naturally turned into disasters. So he gave up and gave into his ability to destroy, and his main objective was to vex the hero Metro Man until he believes he succeeds.

My early books start out with tangible villains. You know, the kind that live in dark, evil castles atop jagged hills. Or those that hunt you down with a bow and an arrow, relishing in ending your life. Or a demon that lives in the deepest part of earth, waiting to feed on everyone's souls.

It's fun to watch my MCs struggle. Until  one day . . .

I broke from villains to internal conflict in one novel. I got stuck with writer's block for about 4 months. It was horrible. I wondered how I could create a great story without a villain. I pored over and over while I helped fellow authors with their WiP. Then one day, it just jumped out and slapped me big.

All I had to do was give myself permission to write a novel without a villain. Yes, as simple as that. My Muse's yin and yang battled so hard, it threw me way off. Internal conflict! It also fit quite nicely for the novel.

Is it cliche to have the villain stronger than the hero? To give the villain an immunity? I know it would make for a weak story if the villain posed hardly a threat to the hero, but to be so all powerful that not even a bullet can harm him? What do you think?

Let's see what the other Fantastic Friday Writers say about the good and evil!

Next posting :
Jan 28, 2011. Working around family and finding the time to write

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  1. Villans can be fun. I do a variety, which might not surprise anyone. In my adult mutant series, the villain in book one is a manipulator who is powerful in the sense of capitalism but he'd definitely vulnerable. He knows how to manipulate the hero, which is how he uses him till the end. On the other hand, the YA mutant first book has a generic villain known as the Suits, who are a government agency, so they are only doing their job technically.

    While I enjoy a good character villain, a great internal conflict can be just as good. Giving yourself permission is an interesting solution. I might have to do that with a female main character since I have a few ideas for novels with them but haven't written any yet.

  2. I agree... and it definitely makes them more interesting!

  3. I created a villain once, so evil, that my mind had to go someplace other than my head when I wrote about him. Very disturbing. Him? No, me!

  4. Villains!! I love em and I think they come in all sorts of entities - like you said they could be internal villains too - that's a great twist - I like that!!! It develops the character!!

    I recently watched "The Talented Mr Rippley" (I must must read the book) and Mr Ripley WINS!! and he is as evil as they come - what a villain!!! I like that - complex evil triumphs over good. No redemption, no last minute saves. This uneasiness at the triumph of evil lingers long after the film finishes.

    Take care

  5. Love villians with redeeming qualities!

  6. Okay, my post officially sucked.
    I don't write with a specific villian either. My main character has enough hangups that he's his own worst enemy.

  7. Great post. My favorite part is the maniacal laughter.

  8. I have trouble with villains, but you are right, it is definitely more interesting to read them if you can sort of understand them. I think the ones who think they are in the right are the worst.

  9. Villains can be such interesting characters. Great post!

  10. I don't think stronger needs to be physical. I think that a stronger will or desire for an outcome can work. The important thing is that this "stronger" quality pulls something out of the hero that he didn't realize he had. Having to dig deeper to rise to the challenge of a worthy foe is my favorite part of the story ride.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

  11. I love writing villains. I do think the villain needs to have a lot of power, but also a weakness. Whether it's a person he can't bear to destroy, an object, etc. Villain's always have to have a way for the hero to defeat them. Even though sometimes I love villains so much, I hate it when they die! :D

  12. Villains are some of the most interesting characters.

  13. I think a bit of subtlety works best for villians. Over-the-top bad guys don't work for me. And yes, they definitely need at elast one redeeming quality.
    W.I.P. It: A Writer's Journey

  14. I love it when the villain is relatable. It makes the story so much better.

    Thanks for reminding me, I hadn't thought about that aspect when writing.

  15. I love a strong villain who has a redeeming quality tucked away somewhere. I need to go check out my villain again. Thanks!

  16. The very idea of having a villian come out on top for once is soooo intriguing! I say, why not? Villians are only characters, just like heroes and heroines. Keeping a villian just that-vile-while making them lovable, wow, what a concept. Great post that has me thinking!

  17. I don't have that problem, since I don't write good vs evil or villains/heroes. I write about people.

  18. I can't believe I missed this before I blogged about villains this week! I love them, they're the best--and I agree, some of the best ones are internal.


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