All writers have a different style – some are plotters, some write by the seats of their pants, some work with a combo of the above or their very own construct. It doesn’t matter how the author creates, but what the author creates – and what the writer creates is a story filled with characters we root for and against.
There is a great deal of information available about heroes – alpha or beta, romantic or hard-boiled. Is he tall, athletic and handsome, or do the ladies adore his geekiness?
Our favorite heroines are generally smart, funny, and accomplished. But then again, there are the Stephanie Plums of the world, too! She’s smart, she’s funny, she’s klutzy!
But villains – where do the villains come from? Are they archetypes, constructs from our days of hearing fairy tales and myths? Are they the product of nightmares or do we pick our boss’ least appealing characteristics and make them bigger than life? Do we build him or her from people we read or hear about in the news? In documentaries? Or are they only a product of the writer's fertile imagination?
As far back as man has created, the villain has been a crucial component of the storyteller’s craft. The villain – or villainess, as the case may be – creates a great deal of stress and angst for our lovely hero and heroine. The villain will thwart them at every turn, for a while, and then their brilliance, bravery and moxie will shine as the villain is conquered.
What was our bad guy’s fatal flaw – hubris, stupidity, inexperience? Whatever it is, it brings him down in the end.
And isn’t that what we all want – to see justice done, the villain stopped and our hero or heroine win the day?
Who is your favorite fictional villain and why?
Romance with an edge
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