Sunday, January 23, 2011

Is there such a thing as a good bad guy?

Well, yeah. Kinda. Since I write mysteries, I look at the villain a little differently. In my fictional world, the villains usually do some seriously nasty things—murder, kidnapping, theft, whatever.

I was told once, and I don't remember exactly where, that the antagonist is the hero of his or her own story.

My villains think they're doing the right thing. They usually aren't, but they think they are. Sometimes it's a case of doing the wrong things for the right reasons. At least in their minds.

That's what makes a good villain. Very few people in the non-fiction world are pure good or pure evil. A variety of factors make us who we are: our environment growing up, our friends, our families, even our eduction. None of us live in a bubble. Everything effects us, even if we don't realize it at the time.

One of the things about fiction is that we—as authors—can manipulate the lives of our characters in ways we can't do with the real people of the world.

So what makes a good villain? Being multi-demtional. Knowing that they think they're doing something right. Them having a reason for it (even if the reason isn't logical to the rest of the world).

What I want to know, though, is this: who is your favorite villain and why?


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