A Villain-ing We Shall Go (Penny Rader)

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Happy Halloween!

My apologies for posting so late.

Since we've been discussing our favorite villains this month I thought I'd check out the internet to see what sort of tips I could find for villains.  Below are a few bullet points of what I found.

Please click through the links to read the entire articles. The authors have some really great suggestions.

And, as always, if you find something helpful, save it or print it because you never know when it might disappear from the 'net.
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3 Traits Your Hero and Villain Should Share (K.M. Weiland)

  1. Personality
  2. Values
  3. Goals

Guide to Writing a Villain

  • Name
  • Background
  • Personality
  • Morality
  • The 9 Alignments
  • Motive
  • How? Why?
  • Sympathize

Hannibal, Nurse Ratched, the Shark? Creating Your Villain (James Thayer)
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Roles of Villains:

  1. Adds tension
  2. Offers contrast
  3. Adds interest

Techniques for creating villains:

  1. Make him tough
  2. Make him understandable
  3. Make him odd
  4. Ration the badness

How to Create a Credible Villain in Fiction

  1. Start by reading Create a Fictional Character from Scratch 
  2. What's your story all about and how does a villain fit into the grand scheme of the story as whole? 
  3. Choose the degree of evilness or just plain "ick" you want to place into your villain. 
  4. Create a single, traumatic incident for your villain. 
  5. Expand on this singular incident. 
  6. Choose a single thing that the character adores without greed or malice.
  7. Combine the "turning point" and the "single thing" and bounce them back and forth in your mind.
  8. Take into account the hero of the story.
  9. Does the villain get eventually redeemed or does he stay a bad guy?
  10. Think of some fears
  11. Remember that a GOOD villain drives the conflict of the story.
  12. A good villain is still human.
  13. One last thing to remember is that the more evil and threatening a villain is, the more often their evil plans work.
  14. Only kill off the villain if they deserved it. 

How to Write a Villain (Mette Ivie Harrison)
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  1. What makes the villain evil?
  2. What does the villain want?
  3. How will the villain know that s/he has been successful?
  4. What is the world that will come about and what will be his/her place in it?
  5. What does the villain loves?
  6. What is the villain's weakness?
  7. What does the villain hate about the hero?

How to Write Better Heroes and Villains: Archetypes (Brian Klems)

The author gives several archetypes for women and men.  Also included are what the villain version of the archetype might be.  For example:

  • As a villain, the Seductive Muse becomes the Femme Fatale who deliberately uses her charms to control men
  • As a villain, the Matriarch becomes the Scorned Woman who is passive-aggressive and needs to be in control.
  • As a villain, the Businessman becomes the Traitor who will do anything to bring order into his life.
  • As a villain, the King becomes the Dictator whose need to control others becomes an obsession.

Villains: Because a Good Bad Guy Is the Author’s Best Friend (Hilari Bell)

A good villain must be:
  • Active
  • Smart
  • Sensibly motivated, and no worse than he has to be to achieve his goal 

The Villain’s Journey (Allison Brennan)
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  • Most villains don’t see themselves as bad. 
  • Disney villains are among the best villains out there … but they are clear and focused.
  • But my favorite villains are characters who aren’t all evil and, in fact, might play both sides of the coin. 
  • There are many other complex “villains” who aren’t really villains, but not necessarily good-guys either. 
  • Then you get a movie like FROZEN where you have layers of “villains.” 


Do you have special techniques for creating villains or references to share?

Miracles and Magic

In this season of ghosts, ghouls and magic, I want to relate a true-life miracle. This happened to a friend of mine. I went to the hospital. I was there when the doctor gave his report. I heard his story from his wife, his daughter, and out of his own mouth. You can doubt if you want, but I know what I know. Miracles still happen.

I received a text on Tuesday Oct. 7th that L. had been run over at work and Life-Watched to the hospital. I went up for prayer support and was there when the doctor came in. Even though L. had been knocked down and ran over, as in the machine was still sitting on him when they found him, he had no broken bones or internal injuries. The large array of doctors waiting when he arrived were sorely disappointed. They had nothing to do.

We were all amazed. Doctors too. But the rest of the story is even better.

L’s boss and co-workers began trickling in and this is what they said. When they found L. he was dead. No pulse, no heartbeat, skin turning from purple to grey. Dead. The Genie (a small cherry picker at only 6,000 lbs) had caught his right foot and pulled his leg up onto his chest, knee bent, as it climbed him. Then the machine stopped which kept it from crushing his chest. It was still running. I can’t fathom one leg being enough to stop a three-ton machine, can you? 

One co-worker prayed for him. Nothing happened. They got a forklift to remove the machine. The same co-worker again knelt down, spoke directly in L’s ear, and told him to come back. His arm started twitching. His pulse started up. His eyes popped open. L. was quickly coherent and asked his boss to call his wife. It totally freaked out his co-workers.

I’m not a medical person but from what I understand, the weight of the machine cut off all blood flow and L. stated he was unable to draw breath. He knew he was in serious trouble before he passed out. I’m not sure how long he lay there before they found him, but you do the math on what we do know. 

Someone in another building saw the machine and came over to investigate. It would take several minutes to get help, assess the situation, get a forklift and remove the Genie. The only forklift they had that was big enough to pick up a Genie was, for some unknown reason, in the same building. It is normally ¼ mile away.

Small towns are often understaffed and poorly equipped. The EMS workers couldn't shock L’s heart or give him oxygen because of equipment deficiencies. Pretty sad when you have an oxygen tank but no air in it.

Brain cells start dying after four minutes. According to MedLine Plus Medical Encyclopedia, United States National Library of Medicine, “The brain needs a constant supply of oxygen and nutrients (blood) to function. Brain hypoxia can rapidly cause severe brain damage or death. The sooner the oxygen supply is restored to the brain, the lower the risk of severe brain damage and death.”

Hmm, he was dead. That tells me he should have severe brain damage. Both oxygen and blood were cut off from the brain. I would estimate for at least five to ten minutes. But God had His hand on L. He protected L. from start to finish. He’s walking, talking, and lazing around the house catching up on his reading while his bruises and scabs heal. No, he didn't see a bright light, which I think he found a tad bit disappointing, but he did die and lived to tell about it :)

This is no trick or treat. No magic. No slight of hand. This is a real live, bona fide miracle. How awesome is that?

My Favorite Villains (Penny Rader)

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This month's topic is Who Is Your Favorite Villain?  Since I can never pick just one of anything, here are a dozen of my favorites:

  1. Mags Bennett from the second season of TV series Justified.
  2. Boyd Crowder from the TV series Justified -- I'm bummed the upcoming season will be the final season. I love watching the interaction between Raylan and Boyd.
  3. Beast from the fairy tale Beauty & the Beast -- I am fond of redeemed villains (or least those who many people might consider to be villains) as you'll see from most of my choices for this post.
  4. Jason Morgan from the soap opera General Hospital -- I haven't seen the show for a while, but he had his own code.  I never felt like he was evil, but would do what he had to in order to protect those he loved. 
  5. Sonny Corinthos from the soap opera General Hospital -- I don't usually like mobsters, but there's just something about him.  Amazing eyes.  So much emotion revealed through them.
  6. Julianne Potter (played by Julia Roberts) in the movie My Best Friend's Wedding -- yes, she's trying her darnedest to break up a wedding, but I love her anyway.
  7. Ebenezer Scrooge from The Christmas Carol -- again, my kind of villain.  Redeemed by the end of the movie(s).  I haven't  read the book.  Must remedy that.
  8. Castor Troy (played by Nicholas Cage & John Travolta) in the movie Face/Off. Both actors did a fabulous job playing both Sean Archer (hero of the movie) and Castor Troy.  And while Castor Troy was never redeemed, he did teach Sean's daughter a handy trick.  
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  9. Mr Gold/Rumpelstiltskin from the TV series Once Upon a Time -- about the time I think he's
    completely nonredeemable, something happens to make me hope he'll change his ways and make better choices.
  10. Regina/Evil Queen from the TV series Once Upon a Time -- about the time I think she's completely nonredeemable, something happens to make me hope she'll change her ways because we saw that she wasn't born evil.
  11. Neal McCaffery from the TV series White Collar -- he's a con man who works with the FBI.  I don't usually go for con men, but inside he's a really good guy. And super hot.  Again, bummed the series is ending.
  12. Mozzy from the TV series White Collar -- I'm really going to miss him, too, when the show ends.  He's a criminal...but he doesn't go after innocents.  He makes me laugh and his back story made me go "awww." 
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Do you have any favorite villains?  Please share!

Who’s Your Favorite Villain?

Hmm-mmm. Too hard. How about I describe the characteristics of all of my favorite villains?

They are:
1.     Strong-minded men used to getting their way in a man’s world
2.     Successful at what they do in their profession—no matter what it is
3.     They are demanding in their requirements around them and not very nice if they don’t get it
4.     Have lethal skills
5.     Are devious
6.     They lust

Yikes! They are also hero material…..Uh, oh. Note to self, check my own work for possible hero/villain shades.

The difference in the Villain/Hero can be in:
1.     Mental stability
2.     Sense of protectiveness or absence thereof
3.     Driven in purpose
4.     Object of their greed

I thought that determining who my favorite villain is would be a ‘fluff’ piece of a blog, but as I thought about my favorite villains, trying to pick one, I started to realize how much they resemble my favorite heroes.  That was a bit of a surprise for me. Now I am driven to spend the next rainy day searching through my beloved ‘stash’ and doing a little hero/villain research.   Oh, how awful for me….

WARA's October 12, 2014 Meeting

Hi, this is Penny. We're still having some technical issues with our website, so I just wanted to make sure everyone knows the October meeting will be held today.  Here are the details:

When: October 12, 2014

Where: Yorktown Estates Apartments Clubhouse
             9520 W. 21st Street
             Wichita, KS

(The first apartment complex west of the 21st Warren Theater. Drive to the back of the complex and look for the WARA sign. There is plenty of parking. If the sign isn't up when you arrive, go through the office entrance.)

Time: 4 p.m.

The winner of the Right Hook contest will be announced.  Since we're celebrating, feel free to bring treats.

My Favoite Villain? by J Vincent

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Villain.  Favorite? Not two words I would usually put together. In fact, when I read the topic my dimwittedness showed in a muttered, “Huh?”  Several moments, rather days later, I had to admit I could recall very few villains. In a lot of the books I read, character flaws are the “villains.”  In my favorite murder mysteries, the killer is the villain.  I find very little to admire or like in any of those. The only villain I could originally think of as anything close to favorite is Donatien in my Honour Series. When I contemplated why I decided it was because I have been in his mind and skin far deeper than in any book I’ve ever read.  He has surprised me by being good as well as evil when I didn’t think there was an ounce of good in him.  Perhaps he’ll turn out to be like Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord, prince de Bénévent.  Tallyrand was initially a bishop in pre-revolutionary France.  He joined the heroes of the Terror, changed once again in the Directory and then again when Napoleon declared himself Emperor.  Tallyrand even managed to forge a place for himself in the Bourbon Restoration after Napoleon’s defeat.  He would make an excellent villain.

So, what makes a good villain.  Taking a page from Penny’s always informative posts, I did some searching. 

Villainous Characters  begins with the definition:  "The classic villain is the antithesis of the  hero, being bad where the hero is good, selfish where the hero is selfless, harming others where the hero saves them.” This opposite-ness is particularly useful in the contrast that it provides between the hero and the villain. In this way, they each define the other.”  There follows eighteen villain types with brief definitions.

On Some Loose Change: A Movie Blog I found a very interesting article A Dime On: 10 Traits of Highly-Effective Villains. In short:

1.         How strong/powerful they are.

2.         How they used said strength and power.

3.         How they are defeated.

4.         Their character and motivations.

5.         Ironic Origins and Relationships with the Hero

6.         Composure

7.         The Distinctive Look

8.         Ruthless Conviction

9.         Mystery

10.       Being “Relatable”


The innovateus site has an article  What are the Characteristics of a Good Literary Villain? which may clarify the villain image.


On Mythic Scribes I found a very precise definition which you should read in full.  This article condenses traits of villainous traits to  “Powerful. Intelligent. Immoral. Wounded. Determined” adding that they are not meant to be all inclusive.


All this information got me thinking.  I’ve learned or rather re-learned, quite a bit about villains. What I need to find somewhere in my mind is a villain on a book like the movie villain Darth Vadar in Star Wars.  Or the Wicked Witch in Oz. Here’s a site that gives one version of a Top 50 Literary Villains. Check it out and see if any of the make your list.