Scribe Scrawlings


Two Book Give Away--Contest Ends 10/15/09
Winner Announced: Kayla! See post below for full details!


Melissa Rose

What Do You Listen To When You Write?

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Villians, Neer Do Wells, Bad Guys, Misguided Individuals Part 1

Hullo all you tarbs* in aspiring authordom, this post is just for you. I've had three of you ask in less than a week "How do you write your villains?"

I haven't been published recently, but if you really are that curious, I'll go ahead and show how I do it. Mind you, there are other published authors that can give better advice but here's how I go about it.

Let's start with the words that define the black-hats, because it's fun to know the vocabulary regarding the doers of evil deeds. The technical term for anyone dead set against the hero of your tale is antagonist. Merriam Webster defines that title as 1." one that contends with or opposes another''. You can see that the word antagonize has the same root that antagonist does. Villains are also called adversaries, or enemies when referenced in the same breath as the hero. Oh and if you want to sound like you know what you're talking about when discussing what you do with people who don't write, you can always reference the hero as the protagonist.

Now, back to the bad guys.

In most people's minds bad guy=evil and dark with nothing at all redeemable about them. I don't think about them this way. In my mind, the line between antagonist and protagonist is rather thin. After all, from the perspective of the villain, the hero is the ''bad guy''. No self respecting antagonist sees the hero as the hero.

When I start writing the antagonist, I ask myself some questions:

1) What do they hold most dear?

They've got to have something they can lose to get them to act to keep it, whether it's plans of world domination, a girl/guy they love, a peanut brittle factory, it has to be something of value to them.

2) How is the hero threatening this?

It's a given that they are, because there is has to be something they both want and only one can have, that's what generates the conflict. If it helps, keep in mind the tip off in a basketball game. Both teams want the ball, only one is going to get it.

Maybe they both want to rule the world, or are both in love with the same person, or have a chance at the perfect peanut brittle recipe.

3) Could it be said that the hero in this story is really the antagonist of the villain?

Now I just said that from the villain's perspective that is true, but this question makes me check and make sure they are loggerheads with one another. Mediation isn't going to work and neither is compromise.

All right, that's all for right now. Tomorrow, getting inside the skin of your villain!

No comments:

Poll Results

What Do You Notice First About A Book?
RESULTS! Closed 11/11/09

My attention's always grabbed by the cover-53%

I look on the spine for the author's name-6%

The thicker books are the one that grab my notice-26%

I open the book up to the middle and burry my nose in the pages, sniffing. Scent is important-0%

I flip the book over, ignore the cover and the spine and get to the book blurb-13%

Pick Your Weapon! RESULTS! Closed-11/03/09

Hand and Half Sword-16%
Long Bow-25%
Pen-25 %

What Kind of Fan Are You? RESULTS! Closed-10/22/09

Shy. I like reading books but I don't want to meet the authors-15%

Avid. I've read everything my favorite author has written!-38%

Curious. I've e-mailed my favorite author or left comments on the blog and asked them questions-38%

What Kind of Word Smith Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/15/09

I focus on setting-22%
I focus on dialogue-22%
I focus on action-22%
I focus on characters-33%

What Kind of Reader Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/07/09

I try and guess where the story is going to go-44%
I read the book and think how I would have written it differently-0%
I race through the story, riding the words like a rollarcoaster-22%
I race through the book and then go back and read my favorite parts again and again-33%

What Kind of Writer Are You? RESULTS!

Character first--1%
Plot First--4%
Balanced Between Plot and Character--5%
All Over The Place--5%

So All Over The Place and Balanced Between Plot and Character tie for the win! All I can say is that there must be some wicked stories out there. I can't wait to read them!

Scribe is Listening to:


Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian Sound Track.

Books on CD: The Moving Finger Read by Martin Jarvis. Original story by: Agatha Christie

Scribe is Reading:

I am? COOL!

I'm apparently referring to myself in the third person too. Go figure.


Nightmare's Edge by: Bryan Davis

The Invention of Hugo Cabert (Caldecott Book) by: Brian Selzinck-FINISHED. Mind blowing! Every storyteller should read this book.

FEARLESS by: Max Lucado-FINISHED. Excellent!

NLT Chronological 24/7 Bible paperback
NASB Online at Bible Gateway


Psalm 49

Psalm 49
A Psalm of Repentance

About Me

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I tell stories all day long. Some with my pen, some with my keyboard and if you can find me, buy me a coffee and I'll tell you one too!