Villains and Monsters and Anti-heroes Oh My!

Villains and Monsters and Anti-heroes Oh My!

I have always loved comic books. The Incredible Hulk, X-men, Ghost Rider, Daredevil, you name it.  I listened to the Shadow and Green Hornet radio shows with my dad growing up. I was a sucker for vigilantly justice and those who worked outside the law to get the bad guys. Even today, I love a good old-fashioned misunderstood hero.

When I play video games, I always play the bad guys.  The horde, the dark elves, dark dwarves of characters who create chaos.  Why?  Because I like it.  So it should come as no surprise that I love villains you can root for. Villains that are misunderstood and forced into the way they are by circumstances or society. Villains that think they are doing what is best. Villains who are so traumatized by their past they can’t move beyond it.

When I read Peter Pan, I root for Hook. When I read, Jekyll and Hyde or Frankenstein, or Dracula, I root for the bad guy. In Tim Burton’s Sweeney Todd, I wanted nothing more than for Johnny Depp’s character to kill all of the bad guys to get revenge for what they had done to him and his family. The Count of Monte Cristo… well, you get the picture.

When we write, our villains, anti-heroes, antagonists and monsters all need to be written with as much depth and thought as our heroes. No one wants a mustache twirling, cackling villain in a black cape and top hat who ties a heroine to the train tracks.

They want a Delores Umbridge that is so painful to read you want her dead more than Voldemort. We want a Sherriff of Nottingham that we can’t wait to see Robin Hood shoot and arrow through. We want a Cersei Lannister that we just pray will get a bloody and horrible end. Or, we want a Loki that we cringe and cry when we see him die. (Spoiler – he’s not really dead) But you get the point.

Flat and 2D villains, monsters, anti-heroes and antagonists don’t work anymore. We have to do better and be better at creating our characters. Making them have flaws and good points. Making them be strong yet have soft underbellies as well. We need to make them chaotic. Not all bad. Not all good but somewhere in between. In short – we need to make them human.

Want to know how to write better 3D Villains, Anti-heroes, Antagonists, and Monsters? Join me for my class next week! September 12- 25 

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