Friday, October 7, 2016

Writing the Villains

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net
An avid reader and aspiring young author recently asked me how I developed the villains in my Keeper series.  If you've read the books, you'll know there are several! I recently chatted to Amanda from One More Page about creating my villains - I'm reposting it here for those who missed it.

When I first created Sienna, I knew she was a powerful, modern day, good witch coming to terms with the full throttle of powers she’d inherited from her grandmother. But I also figured that a woman of her status and magical abilities would meet great adversaries and would need some serious back-up.

And so the concept of the Keepers was born - three warrior brothers duty-bound to protect her with their lives. Together, they protect the balance of nature and the innocent people of the world. And yes, they’ve faced many villains throughout the series.

Who are the villains?

I played on the concept of good vs. evil and developed a story about an ongoing feud between three families:

The Bennett brothers (The Keepers) and the Beckham witches (Sienna) vs. the Brogan family (the villains). (In hindsight, I have NO idea why I had all the surnames starting with the same letter as that became a frequent tongue twister for me! )

The Brogans are a group of magical witches and warlocks who love to flaunt their magic in a world where it’s forbidden. Their aim is to expose themselves and others like them, to cause havoc with the balance of nature and to take control of the innocent humans around them by using fear, violence and magic. They’re also accused of killing Sienna and the brothers’ parents, as well as many other innocent people.

But Sienna and her Keepers are determined to stop them and maintain the balance – hence a lot of conflict between the two families throughout all four books.

So what makes a good villain?

There’s a variety of traits that make up a good villain so my list can be added to but here’s a basic idea:

He (or she) has an opposite goal to the hero and heroine – this makes for great conflict!
He has to be convincing and realistic – create a villain that a reader will loathe or fear if faced in real life.
He should be smart and vindictive.
He should try and outsmart the hero and heroine at every turn – and frequently succeed. (Again, more conflict!)
Not a necessity but it helps to have a few beefy sidekicks at his side – and offers more opportunity for even more conflict.
He should come across as interesting and compelling.
He has a background that backs up his villainess.
He has a real or valid goal.
Everyone has a weakness so it’s important that villains do too. And it’s up to the author as to how this weakness will be used against him. (Always a fun opportunity to create some real havoc between the hero, heroine and villain.)

There are many more traits to consider so feel free to add them in the comments section. I’d love to hear what you think makes a good antagonist in a story!

Thanks for reading,
Rae Rivers

4 comments:

  1. I'm fascinated by this topic as I admit I'm not too good at creating a good villain. Thanks for the tips. I've heard that getting the reader to sympathize with the villain actually helps - that it's brokenness that's made them bad, but I battle with this one a bit. I've put a book down before that took me too much into the villain's thoughts. I don't want to be in a sick person's head too much so I didn't want to read it. It's definitely a topic worthy of discussion. I enjoyed the movie "Maleficent" though, but she was redeemable in the end, so it was different. She actually was the heroine, not the villain.

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    1. Developing the villain is always tricky but can be fun too - especially if you've nailed their goals and conflicts. Thanks for reading and for the comment, Kathy!

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  2. Thanks for another great how-to! This will be great to do with Auto Link Dengan Smart Link Blogspot.

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