Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tip for April 14, 2010; How to Make an Evil Villain- and Author Tidbits

In pretty much every fantasy book, there is an evil character. That character is essential for a book.

But how do I make a character evil and chilling enough? There are several ways.

One; Make your character human. This is probably the most important of all three. He can't be just evil all the way through; there must be a mixture of good and bad. Of course, the bad must outweigh the good in order for the character to be evil, but if the character has real human desires and goals, it will make the character all the more chilling. He can't just be evil all the time.

Two; Use his/her actions. If his/her actions are enough to cause the reader to glare at the book, then you've succeeded. My sisters seem to be constantly watching the old Little House on the Prairie TV series on DVD, and one of my least favorite characters is Nellie Oleson. It's a terrible example, but she is just so annoying and mean that you get really disgusted. Now, you don't want an evil character to be annoying, but evil. Make the character do something unspeakable. Another good example is from the Door Within Trilogy. In it, Paragal (later Paragor) betrays the King, and offers the lives of the Elder Guard's families for the King's life. The King agrees, and after the deed is done, Paragal turns back on the agreement and burns the Elder Guards' families alive. Paragor is a very well-done evil character, one of the best I've ever read, and this example really helps show how evil he really is.

Third; Use his/her words. Taunting, threatening, and just insulting are all ways the villain can show his/her evilness. It makes the reader dislike him/her, and helps pave the way for the other ways the character can be shown as evil.

And on a side note; Names for evil characters are important. Do you think the reader will think the villain evil if his/her name is Pansy? No. Paragor: Now that's an evil name. Gs in the middle make for good, evil names.

So for those who want something to remember instead of just tediously reading the entire thing, there's three main points on how to make an evil villain; 1) Make the Character Human, 2) Use the Character's actions, and 3) Use the Character's words. There are other ways, too, but these are some of the really good ones.

And for the latter part of the title, I found a couple interesting tidbits about Daniel Defore that I thought I'd share.

Two things on Daniel Defoe; He has written perhaps more books, pamphlets, etc. than anyone else that has ever lived. That's a lot. And he initially recieved 100 pounds for Robinson Crusoe when submitting it and never received more money for it. It is now one of the most bestselling books of all time.

I'm still keeping a close eye on the poll , but I think my initial flash of visitors has died down. Here's an update on it (15 votes);

'How in the world do you expect me to PICK?!?!?' is still in first with 40%.

'C. S. Lewis' is close behind 26%.

'Wayne Thomas Batson' and 'Bryan Davis' are still tied for third with 13% each.

'J. R. R. Tolkien' is next with 6%.

'Christopher Hopper' and 'Brian Jacques' are in last with zero votes.

If you haven't voted yet, please do!

I'll be posting my review of The Word Unleashed soon, so keep on checking back.


Seth Skogerboe said...

Though the name "rule" so to speak, applies to all characters, not just the bad ones. Zephyr the Male Gryphon, Terra the Female Giant, and so on.

Seth Skogerboe said...


Squeaks said...

*gasp* How could you!! I was totally going to write about evil characters and you stole most of my good ideas XD oy oy oy

I just finished reading the Isle of Fire by Batson...soo good. Thorne chilled me to the bone! Especially in Isle of Swords when he was torturing Anne. I felt the need to talk of it...I guess I'll have to save it for later lolz! Good post, by the way :)


Jake said...

Thanks, Squeaks. I'm glad you liked my post.

Seth; I made the word background with Blogger's 'Make Your Own Template' experimental feature. It's only available on 'Blogger In Draft'.

Galadriel said...

It's important for your villians not just to be "Lords of Darkness." For example, I have a villean named "Deathroot:

Isaac Permann said...

Sweet post! Those were good points!

Archer said...

Well this is my first comment, and I just finished reading your post.
Here is a question for you, if your vilian is human and has good and bad in him but the is over powering the good then that means that their is still some good in him then that allows an option for the good guys in the story to say 'There is a chance we can turn him'. My question is how do you make sure that you make it clear that the in the man cannot be turned back to goodness?

Jake said...

Archer: In my opinion, there's always a chance for redemption from evil, no matter how high up you are in the chain. Kearn in The Door Within Trilogy is a good example of an evil character turned good.

But as for making it clear that the character WON'T be turned... Hm. You could have the main good character assume that he/she cannot be turned, but, of course, as you said, there is an option. You don't necessarily need for the character to recognize that there is a possiblity of the villain being turned.

Wow, good question. I might just write a post on this.

Squeaks said...

@ Archer...I know of some authors who make it clear that their villains have gone too far when they get them to sell their souls to the devil or some other evil character. (e.g. Thorne implied that he sold his soul when he signed the Merchant's parchment in blood in the story "Isle of Fire".)