Being Evil

Some of my favorite characters to write are the evil ones. I’m not sure what that says about me, but it’s true.

Evil characters are often driven in their purpose, and so it’s pretty easy to figure out how they will handle any given situation. They will do whatever it takes to attain their goal and they don’t usually get hung up on the moral implications that might make a ‘normal’ character waver.

What really makes writing villains interesting is coming up with their back story. What makes them so evil? Nothing boring, that’s for sure. I think the best villains are the ones that have a good reason for doing what they do. Magneto tries to dominate regular humans because they have mistreated mutants for decades. Luke in the Percy Jackson series betrays the gods because his father, Hermes, abandoned him and his mentally ill mother. The evil ambassador in my fantasy series plots to take over the world because he feels his people are superior intellectually and spiritually. They’re evil, but they give you something to think about.

There’s also something cathartic about playing the villain. If I’m in a really rotten mood, I can just put on my villain suit, cackle wickedly, and behave badly (on paper, that is). I do this and diabolical dialogue and plots come easily. So do murder scenes, which is a bit unsettling.

Should I really be good at describing the sound a bat makes when it hits a person’s skull full swing? What made me think of that serial killer’s twisted M.O.? How long before the FBI comes knocking at my door for researching how car bombs are made? Sometimes I feel like I need a shower (and a lawyer) after writing in a bad guy’s point of view.



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