Villains – Round Robin

Honestly, villains are hard for me to write.

They were always hard for me to play when I was a kid, too. My brother and I would have our G.I. Joe’s out and stuff and he would be all for the bad guy coming in and causing mayhem and I would be more for the “natural disaster” sort of plot because I didn’t like seeing character’s die.

(Ironic, I know, since I kill so many characters in my fiction.)

Marsali from Sedition was my first antagonist, the first time I’d ever delved into the mindset of someone who was clearly ruthless. The only way I managed to write her was to focus on why she was willing to be ruthless, and in her case it was the fact that she quite literally believed her home was in danger.

Reonne from Witch-Born had a huge back-story that never fully made it into the books. For her, she’d been passed over one too many times and she was bitter because of it. She had a false sense of entitlement that took her to dark places.

And now that I look at it, I see a clear pattern. Both women were powerful, refined, educated, capable and ambitious. I like those kinds of villains. I like the villain who knows precisely who they are, who can use good manners to cover their malice, and who are intelligent.

That’s the kind of villain I like to write, read, and watch on the screen.

Saboteur didn’t have one of these. Saboteur’s main villain was prejudice and ignorance and I personified those two inside Brodis Windringham. And I’ll admit … that was tough.

For me as a person I see nothing more dangerous in this world than ignorance and prejudice. History has shown us that together they are deadly. It drives people to do terrible things.

But I think the most fun I’ve had with an antagonist was with my up-and-coming Deviation. In that book the hero becomes the villain and the villain becomes the hero, and I totally did that on purpose. The idea was to show that even hero’s have a breaking point, and we watch as Hedric Prosser is run down until he literally has nothing left. Rather than finding that spark that makes a hero push on, Hedric goes dark.

And the arrogant, refined, powerful Matthew Borden (See what I mean about the pattern?) is given a chance to become something other than the antagonist. I’m not going to tell you how, you have to read it when it comes out. (In August.)

Anyway! That’s my very personal take on villains. The more refined the better, because intelligence is a scary opponent.

Round Robin Continues! Check out what some of my fellow author’s have to say about their villains and what they look for.

Anne Graham writing as Anne Stenhouse at http://wp.me/31Isq
A.J. Maguire at https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/ (You are Here)
Marci Baun  http://www.marcibaun.com/
Diane Bator at http://dbator.blogspot.ca
Fiona McGier at http://www.fionamcgier.com
Ginger Simpson at http://mizging.blogspot.com
Geeta Kakade at http://geetakakade.blogspot.com/
Connie Vines at http://connievines.blogspot.com/
Beverley Bateman – http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Rhobin Courtright – http://rhobinleecourtright.com

11 thoughts on “Villains – Round Robin

  1. If you read my post today, you’ll see I also have a hard time with villains. “Never met a person I didn’t like” might apply if it were true, but I’ve met many that raised the hackles on my neck. Still, I tend to create situations and obstacles to interfere with my stories rather than actual people. I may have to change that perspective. So far, it works.

    1. Yeah, I’ve had people who frustrated me, too. But the hard thing for me is that I automatically revert to what someone’s motivations are. As soon as I know that I just can’t dislike them.

  2. Hi AJ, I’m doing this shared subject for the first time today and I love hearing how others tackle their villains or antagonists. I use real people, I think, but there are some social evils lurking in the fabric of my novels which are historical. Anne Stenhouse

      1. Hi Fiona, Reading your reply, I realise my comment was a bit ambiguous. I mean ‘real’ as opposed to caricature or, as we’d say in Scotland, pantomime. I don’t lift from real life – Scotland is too small! Anne

  3. I’m not into the “turn the other cheek” thing. No matter what causes someone to become malevolent, that doesn’t give them the right to hurt me or mine. That being said, evil is in the eye of the beholder. If the villain really feels what he/she is doing is justified, those are the scariest kinds of antagonists to me. My dad used to say to beware of zealots for any cause, because if they’re willing to sacrifice their own lives for their cause, they sure as hell don’t mind taking you with them. And they won’t change because they don’t see themselves as evil.

    I’m too much of a wuss to read books or watch movies with “real-life” villains. I’d rather be entertained by villains like vampires, that I can be afraid of for just a minute, then laugh it off because I don’t really believe they exist or can harm me. But real-life killers? (Shudder!)

  4. I don’t set out to write villains. Matter of fact, two of my stories don’t have villains. Okay. I take that back. All of my stories have villains, although one of them is not really actively involved in the story. It’s more of a bad relationship with a stinky man than anything. LOL The one I am currently working on doesn’t have a villain, but has some really nasty paranormal beings.

    I think it depends on the villain whether or not they need a history. If they have one, I don’t want an info dump. Reveal it slowly. 🙂

  5. I love your description of villains -refined, educated, capable and ambitious ..the villain who knows precisely who they are, who can use good manners to cover their malice, and who are intelligent.
    Those are the kinds of villains that people like to read and who challenge the hero/heroine. Beverley

  6. Reading about villains that make you shiver and shake have me jumping at every sound. Good post. i’m intrigued by the two who actually switch roles. Great idea.

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