Everybody loves the good guy/gal right?
That main character who is above reproach and does everything with the motivation for good. He or she rescues the innocent, saves the day, rights the wrongs of the world and then rides off into the sunset on their white charger…or IN their white charger depending on your story, and the happy ending is complete.
However, sometimes your good guy does what society considers bad things in order to achieve the greater good and that’s okay! Like for instance, this incredibly handsome, brooding good guy who I love and miss already…where’s my next book George???
Please don’t ruin your Jon Snow by forcing a fake mental illness on another protagonist to end an epic fantasy because you want to go play with light sabers…OKAY? There is room for more than one good protagonist. Think Justice League or the Avengers. You don’t have to FORCE them into madness with no legitimate character build up, just to end your story. (Sorry they did that to you Daenerys.)
Listen, even fairy tales don’t always have happy endings so let’s do better than that. I know we can! I have faith!
Bittersweet endings? Yes! Salty sweet? Oh hell yes! Just don’t waste our time for eight seasons and then completely corrupt our heroes.
Okay…moving on now…
Let’s chat about the villain of the story, assuming there is one. What makes them worth reading about?
Personally, some of my favorite villains have been those whose motivations are greed and power. They’re not cartoon character baddies (JOKER) but rather have layers…of badness. Not everyone just wants to watch the world burn. Some of them want all the goodies before pushing that detonator or snapping their fingers!
Some villains are jealous or feel disconnected from the world. Maybe they didn’t want to be the bad guy/girl but a chain of events awakened them to who they really are and catapults them into their destiny of trying to achieve world domination. Maybe they just want people to understand that this is what is best for all! Maybe there is actual character buildup other than itty bitty threads of foreshadowing that causes them to evolve into a complete psychopathic killer. Give me some acts of pure madness, even small ones before you make her burn an entire city when she hears a bell ring…right ZuZu??
Maybe the villain is just a mean girl who hates everyone except a select few other mean girls/guys who want to be her ride or die bitches. She gets off on hurting people and making people feel insecure and insignificant. She doesn’t have some tragic back story where she was orphaned and passed around from foster home to foster home. She’s a spoiled brat who obviously was never told the word no. Think Varuca Salt – I mean imagine if she hadn’t fallen into that rotten egg machine but instead, grew up to be Cersei Lannister, who died like the wicked witch of the east. God help me I’m still in so much pain over this.
There are so many villain types but not all of them are worth reading about. We all know who they are:
The one who’s evil for evil’s sake with no real motivation. The one who likes to torture animals and believes everyone was put on earth for his amusement. No, not Joffrey Baratheon. Incest can cause madness but give him some substance, rather than making him/her/they/them just some one dimensional devil person. Please, we need more than that. This villain is overdone and he’s boring. We don’t need their life story but every villain is motivated by something. Just try to make that motivation believable, even if it’s as simple as greed.
The sexy hot guy who’s the tallest, best looking, most mysterious human in the story (or the equivalent female with the 18 inch waist and double D boobs.) Every man fears him and every stupid female wants the D and if she doesn’t, he’ll use his sexual prowess to convince her she does want it. Mkayyyyyy…Um…please don’t. Let’s not perpetuate the abusive, hyper-testosterone, toxically masculine bad guy who’s a beast in the sheets and on the streets. Ugh, just please don’t make women or men so stupid that they fall for this douche bag, at least not without some mind altering drugs.
Give me a villain who’s the neighbor down the street with the poodle and the Siamese cat named Bootsie, who spends his evenings working at a diner where oops, people come in to eat and are never seen again.
Give me the villain who’s obsessed with chemistry and accidentally discovers a formula that transforms her into an powerful wizard but changers her from a mild mannered scientist into an evil murderess.
Villains don’t always have to be out to rule the world. They can just wreak havoc on their town or use power and money to manipulate, dominate and destroy those they deem as the enemy. They’re jealous. They’ve been betrayed. The options are endless. Let’s not stop until we find them and write them all. Yes, even the bad guy deserves a great story.