Villains in Stories: We Hate the Fact That We Love Them

Villains in Stories: We Hate the Fact That We Love Them

Darth Vader

When they appear on the screen, they are usually followed by intimidating music. That “Ta-da-da-dam” which makes your blood run cold. This is the right moment you realize that something bad is about to happen, that camera is going to change its angle abruptly and some scary face will show up. Even though you know this is going to happen, you still shudder, don`t you? Relax, we are here in this situation for you.

When you read about them in books, you still make that “Ta-da-da-dam” sound effect in your head. Because a villain always has to make some fuss when he (or she) is entering the story. You want to know the trick how to make the villain in your narration become a character that will add flavor for some high drama? Follow these steps and let all the Jokers and Darth Vaders be jealous of the character you`ve created.

Switching Lanes

Every villain has to have a story. Probably a bit teary, a bit embarrassing or full of sorrow. You have to create a path by which he or she moved from Mr./Ms. Hugging-Kittens to Mr./Ms. I`m-Going-to-Destroy-This-Planet. Writing a life story of a villain is never easy, mostly because it is hard for the author to relate to it. Therefore, it`s almost impossible for the readers to catch up with the whole idea.

Why is this person so bad? Why do they have such cruel intentions? What has led to such behavior? Perhaps, they have done some poor choices in his life? Or this is all because of their messed-up childhood? These are the questions your readers are eager to get the answer for. And you`d better give it to them.

A villain cannot just generally mean a person (or a creature, if you are considering Sci-Fi, you are a daredevil of the literary world). They always have to have their own reasons, their own beliefs, their own mental instabilities. Then the story gets all the drama it deserves. Because there is always a hint left in a plot: what if a bad guy turns good?

It`s not like Taylor Swift is going to come and change their minds with all her lyrics: “I can make bad guys good for a weekend”, but still people hopelessly believe in the victory of the Good over the Evil. At least in movies. Give it to them at least in a story!

Sympathy for the Devil

Cartoon Devil

I`m just on fire right now with songs references! Have you ever noticed that villains in movies and cartoons almost always differ in one specific characteristic? Cartoonish evil characters are accepted by the audience with total antipathy. Meanwhile, in movies, we can actually like villains on some inexplicable subconscious level.

I`m going to give an example with, guess whom, a devil himself of course. The image of almighty Prince of Hell has been exploited by Hollywood movie machine in an extensive manner recently. What image of a devil do we keep in our heads? It does not even matter whether you are a believer or an atheist, we all know the story about Eve, the apple, hell, and so on. The devil is meant to be evil! This is why Christians do not swear! They are scared of him.

Such TV-shows as “Lucifer” and “Supernatural” have shown us the plot twist in which a character, who is supposed to be “one of the bad guys”, turns out to be the smartest and the most charming hero of the story. The audience suddenly realizes that everything that the villain says is true and people can totally understand his intentions.

In the case of a devil, it can be a monologue about why he hates humanity. It can go something like: “What not to hate? They all are just filthy selfish animals. They are creating weapons to kill each other. They are working hard only to shove their wealthiness and success down the throats of other human beings. They love only because they are scared to be lonely”. You are free to share a tear or two over the whole situation.

Madness, cruelty, fury. It all suddenly makes sense and the villain turns into a protagonist of a story.

My Emotions, My Emotions!

Emotional Girl

People are like emotion-producing machines and while reading your story, they should experience everything the first six rows of Facebook emoticons demonstrate. Love, hate, outrage, surprise, sadness, perplexity. Just cry, baby, cry. People are very attached to characters who make them give certain emotional feedback. Without it, the story would seem simply boring.

Just imagine Sherlock Holmes with Moriarty. That might not be the biggest on-screen bromance, but their relationship just kept you hooked up to the storyline the whole time. Long live the villains in the stories! We need them so much.

Make your audience angry, make the readers believe that the Evil is almost winning and then twist the plot in the right direction. It is well known that happy end is the best option for finishing your story. Of course, you may choose an unusual path and let the villain finish their dirty business, but you have to do it in the subtlest way possible.

People believe in the victory of the Good. If you don`t give it to them, you might leave them dissatisfied or even empty after reading your story. We have a crazy tendency in our mind to wrap everything up. We need to finish everything, it`s like an itch on your back you can`t reach. But this one is happening in your brain. The end with the victory of a villain will leave that itch unscratched.

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