Late again, I see. Bad poster, no biscuit!
So, um, characters... We all love to talk about our Heros and Heroines. Thinking about what makes them tick--and what makes them run screaming for the hills--is part of the fun of writing, at least for me. Hopefully they come alive for us in ways that make it to the page and into readers' hearts.
But I'd like to talk about another character. One that doesn't get quite as much attention in these kind of discussions. The Villain. I know a lot of stories don't have or need villains, but I'd like to talk about stories that do. There's nothing more disappointing than a story with a bad guy (or girl or...thing) who is supposed to be truly evil, but that never really fleshes him/her/it out. The Hero and Heroine are well rounded, with strengths and weakness, goals and motivations -- all nicely done up with a bow. But the poor Villain never takes the stage to show us what he's made of -- why, he might as well be Snidely Whiplash for all the dimension he possesses.
Wait. That's almost an insult to Snidely (who's now sulking over there in the corner), because even Snidely might be considered "just a guy with a weird fetish." 1
All joking aside, I've often wished writers would give as much thought to their Villain as they do to the "good" characters. A Villain who is one dimensional, who only exists to put roadblocks in the path of the Hero/Heroine is a disappointing Villain, indeed.
The best quote (paraphrased) I've ever heard (and wish I could remember the source) in regards to Villain character creation is: "A Villain doesn't think he's a villain -- to him, he's the hero of the story."
The stories I write all tend to have villains of one kind or another. None of them are completely evil. Each one of them believes his/her actions are justified. They all believe they're the real heros of the story.
And you know what? I let them.
Have any favorite Villains you'd like to share?