How to make readers love and hate your villain

Make him one of the beautiful people.

Writing a villain and/or an antagonist is not as easy for me as the good guys.

A few days ago I wrote a post about the difference and similarities between the antagonist and a villain.  And think whether you choose to blend the bad guy into the antagonist or just let your villain go it alone, the information I discovered after reading Bonnie Randall’s article What The Well-Dressed Villain Is Wearing These Days may help us all to write better well-rounded bad guys.

 

Here’s what I discovered.

  1. I want a villain to look down and dirty. Road hard and put up wet. Know what I mean? Not like a beauty queen or movie star. But I realized Bonnie is right. Not all villains can look like the Joker in Batman. How many times have we heard, “He looked like such a nice young man, not a killer.” No, it’s scarier and more unsettling when he walks among us unrecognized.
  2. He’s smart. But, oh don’t we all want a villain/antagonist to be dumb as dirt? I certainly prefer to outsmart the bad guys than to be manipulated by one. Again, no one wants to end up blurting out, “I thought you were my friend,” just before the knife plunges. Yikes.
  3. The good guys may get irritated because the villain is right all the damn time. They want to feel and act superior to everyone. Yep. Think about it. How many times do you want to wipe the floor with a beautiful smug face? Nobody likes a know it all.
  4. They act like babies when threatened. Challenge their knowledge, their appearance, their knowledge, why challenge anything and temper tantrums abound. A good villain has suppressed anger issues that can’t stay hidden for long.
  5. They are harboring an imagined slight from their past which has stunted their maturity.

So far, I’ve gotten one thing right on Bonnie’s list. My antagonist/villain dresses like a fashionista. Now on to the other four. Lots to do, lots to do. Hmm, I’m beginning to see why actors agree to play bad guys, is more fun.

Now that you’ve read all the great tips on plumping up your villain/antagonist let me know what you think.

Me Let's Discuss - Jeanswriting.comDo you think an attractive bad guy is scarier?

Do you think using these tips will make a better villain?

How about other characteristics? What would you add to make a more believable bad guy?

 

YOU CAN FIND ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS BELOW.
AND DO STOP anytime at JEAN’S WRITING, I’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON. 

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Is the bad guy evil or just irritating?

So, what is the difference between an evil person and an aggravating person?

A villain is evil but not always the antagonist.

An antagonist is not always evil and therefore not always the villain.

What Confused! Bitmoji Jean M Cogdell

Confused yet?

Well, hang in there. In an article by Annika Griffith, she explains the difference.

Just because someone in your book opposes the protagonist doesn’t make them evil. That makes this character an antagonist.

But, a character who opposes your protagonist with evil actions can become a villain.

Hang on, stay with me.

Koala Bear hanging on to a branch Jean's Writing

However, a character whose evil actions and motives are harmful to the protagonist, now that’s a villain.

What all this gibberish means is that the villain and antagonist can be two different characters or the same person.

Villian:

Maleficent Disney Movie Villian
Maleficent
  • Evil actions and/or motives
  • Doesn’t always oppose the protagonist
  • Can be the protagonist in the story
  • Is a character “type” not a plot role

 

 

 

 

Elsa from Frozen
Elsa from Frozen

Antagonist:

  • Aren’t  evil, just a pain in the ass for the protagonist
  • Motives or actions aren’t evil
  • Is a character who conflicts with a protagonist
  • Opposes and causes conflict with the main character
  • Is a plot role and says nothing about their character or personality

 

Clear as mud right?

Well, I think Ms. Griffith explains it better, so click on the link below and get the nitty-gritty. Then meet me at the water cooler.

Me Let's Discuss - Jeanswriting.comIf the villain is not always an antagonist, do we need both in a story?

Do you use both or combine the attributes into one character?

What do you think? How do you interject a character conflict into a story?

The Difference Between Villains and Antagonist by Annika Griffith

YOU CAN FIND ME ON SOCIAL MEDIA BY CLICKING ON THE LINKS BELOW.
AND DO STOP BY JEAN’S WRITING ANYTIME, I’LL LEAVE A LIGHT ON. 

 

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