Creating Compelling Villains – Stephanie Black – The Book Academy

We’re still on break from our series on plotting to bring you notes from The Book Academy, a conference I attended last week. We’ll pick up with plotting tomorrow—including a guest post later this week!

In suspense, you have to have a villain. You have to have a person who is fighting against a protagonist.

Exercise #1—Write down a villain who stands out on some level to you—and why

Class answers:

  • President Snow from Hunger Games? Description—smells like roses and blood
  • Hannibal Lecter—creepy, without morals
  • Brilliant manipulator
  • Gollum—obsessed, internal conflict
  • Darth Vader—layered, conflicted, simple appearance, memorable, willing to do what it takes to get his way
  • Nicholas Nickleby’s villain—Heartless, but there’s a moment in his past where he chose darkness
  • Voldemort
  • Javert—thinks he’s good, convinced of morality
  • Joker—flair for dramatic, feel emotional connection as killing, loved that connection
  • Clooney the scourge from Redwall—legend of fearsomeness, backs it up, crazy
  • Oliver Twist villain—utter disregard for reader’s sympathies
  • David Copperfield villains—bad, love to hate

black stetson“You have a choice when you’re going to introduce a very evil character. You can dress a guy up with loads of ammunition, put a black Stetson on him, and say, ‘Bad guy. Shoot him.’ I’m writing about shades of evil. You have Voldemort, a raging psychopath, devoid of the normal human responses to other people’s suffering, and there are people like that in the world. But then you have Wormtail, who out of cowardice will stand in the shadow of the strongest person.” —JK Rowling

How compelling your villain is doesn’t depend on how creepy and freaky he is, but that he seems real to your protagonist, and as real as your protagonist to your reader. They must also fit your story. A cozy mystery probably doesn’t need Voldemort. A global thriller probably wouldn’t be very thrilling with the biddies from Arsenic and Old Lace.

We can also have multiple villains in same novel with multiple levels of villainy:

  • Voldemort
  • Bellatrix LaStrange
  • Peter Pettigrew/Wormtail
  • Draco Malfoy
  • Severus Snape

Hints for creating villainous characters

In suspense fiction, plenty of people are causing trouble for your villain, but pick a primary villain. Find the main antagonist. Who’s your big guy? In mysteries, think about who this fight is really between.

Jack Bickham talks about how you must know whose story it is. (In her first novel, 250 single-spaced pages into it, she realized her story was going off in 3 different directions—she turned to Bickham). Don’t forget whose story it is. Who are we behind? Who are we rooting for? Who is our ball team?

On the flip side, whose story is this villainwise? Your protagonist has a story goal, something he wants from the beginning of the book. It’s important to him, important enough to fight for. It gives readers something to worry about (which is why they like reading mysteries in the first place). When you read a book with a story goal, you immediately start asking yourself story questions. Frodo must destroy the ring—will Frodo be able to destroy the ring?

In addition to your protagonist, your villain also needs to be goal-driven. He’s got something that he wants. When you’re picking a villain, you want it to be someone who will win or lose big depending on how the story plays out, just like the protagonist has a lot invested in whatever s/he is seeking. Winning and losing—if one wins, the other must lose.

Creating conflict in your novel

The last thing you want to do is give your protagonist an easy ride. Give him as much trouble as possible. If you answer the story question too quickly with a positive, the story’s over.

Shortest stories ever:

He always wanted her. And he got her.

She had to escape. And she did.

These complications are largely the job of the villain.

  1. Pick a good, strong primary villain. Someone who can really go head to head with the protagonist.
  2. Villain’s goal must clash with protagonist’s goal—so give one a goal and find a contrary goal for the other. This isn’t necessarily a direct opposition. Her current novel—protagonist’s story goal: heal the rift between her parents and her brother. This clashes with villain’s goal not because villain is set on destroying their family. His goal is to conceal a crime in his past (by killing someone and framing someone else—her brother). (Being accused of murder doesn’t sit real well with her parents, “who are strangely traditional in that way.”)

wicked queen from snow white

  • What does my villain want?! What is important to him/her? A really compelling villain isn’t evil for evil’s sake or because he’s got the laugh down. Chances are he doesn’t think he’s evil. He’s got a reason for everything. Jack Bickham: Self-concept. Inside, we all have a mental picture of who we are, our opinions of ourselves. We try hard to maintain consonance with this inward picture and we will fight to hold onto it when this picture is challenged. Hard to identify it for ourselves. What does the villain think of himself?
  • Usually villains are twisted on some level—his self-concept may be very different from how others view him. Ex: Zero in The Believer—he sees himself as someone who by virtue of lineage/intelligence, he has the right and responsibility to take over for the good of the nation. Doesn’t see himself as evil (though readers and other characters do). Villain in Fool Me Twice sees herself as a good mother. Have this in mind even if it doesn’t make it into print (especially if not in their POV).

Exercise #2—Write down a self-concept for a villain (one you’re working on)

Class responses:

  • Believes he should be a leader
  • Doesn’t believe in right/wrong
  • Humanity has outlived its purpose, cleanse the world of this scourge
  • (Possessed) Dark spirit protecting itself—self-preservation
  • Religion—convinced of his own moral righteousness
  • Sees the world crumbling around him—protect what he has and his fam
  • Get justice for the wrongs he’s suffered (victim)
  • Sees himself as a good guy
  • The best at what he does and he knows it, and gets away with what he wants b/c people are scared of him—devolves into fatal stalking situation

Your main villain (amidst others if you desire)

  1. Give your villain some shading—make them somewhat sympathetic. Use their backstory, events taking place before the present of the story. What’s their history? Make villain more rounded, even if you don’t get it all in there.

darth vaderEx: Voldemort—what makes you sympathize with him a little: Abandoned, orphan, stuck out, teased. Doesn’t justify his actions, but helps us to see him as a little more human. What might make the reader relate to him a little bit? See him as a little sympathetic?

Ex: Darth Vader in episodes I-III—starts out as a good guy, through his flaws and downfall, he loses everything that he valued, then becomes a dark evil person.

Give them a little bit of good. Zero—loves his wife, affectionate toward her, wants to please her. Even villainous types aren’t totally detestable. What about them can we admire?

Exercise #3—with the last villain, write down something good/admirable about your villain or something in his/her past that might make him sympathetic

Class responses:

  • (#5 above)—his parents disgusted at his parents, humans butcher his kind—thinks humans are no good
  • (#6 above)—Mother deprived of rightful throne
  • can’t die
  • Wants to be a pillar of the community—wants to look good—funds schools
  • Didn’t choose to be an addict
  • Weakness/soft spot for kids.
  • Hates weakness, but wants help people become better, lose their weaknesses

[Side note on this one: this is especially effective when you can combine this with their self-concept and have it directly relevant to their villany. For example, Snape is mean to Harry because in Harry he sees the image of the man who used to taunt him and destroy his self-concept. It wouldn’t make much sense if James Potter were mean to Snape and Snape took it out on long-haul truck drivers.]

Round them out with regular traits (neither sympathetic nor evil).

We have to branch out a bit. As you’re creating a protagonist, you want to create a fresh, compelling invidividual character with his own personality—same for his villain. [A good villain makes a good protagonist even stronger, and vice versa.]

  1. Three necessary attributes for principle villain:
    • Strong
    • Smart
    • Determined

He must be matched against the hero—a worthy opponent. Make him a worthy opponent—a battle with a wimp isn’t much of a battle. Your protagonist must stretch himself to defeat this guy. Doesn’t always mean villain is physically strong—psychologically, emotionally, mentally—a formidable opponent. He’s determined—what he wants, he must want it badly enough to not give up.

Bickham(?)—make sure your protagonist doesn’t quit and making it logical that he doesn’t quit. Ask yourself “Why doesn’t he just quit?”—compelling motivation to keep him going, keep fighting even when things get really rough. Villain who’s willing to keep battling to the end—don’t go all fuzzy at the end. Maybe pretend to, but don’t just give up!! [That’s just unsatisfying!]

He doesn’t have to be invincible—you do want him defeated at the end. Suspense/thriller/mystery—must end with good triumphing over evil! Have him defeated in some measure by the protagonist.

Ex: woman pursuing bad guy to get her kidnapped kids back. Fight scene, villain pulls weapon about to use it—struck by lightning. [Unsatisfying again!]

Don’t have him defeated by wimpiness, giving up (himself), deus ex machina.

  1. Give your villain believable flaws and weaknesses. It’s okay if he makes mistakes—but make sure they’re credible mistakes. Something believable, credible for his character. His flaws may spring from his self-concept—thinks he’s so smart, he’s proud—underestimates protagonist.

Ex in The Believer—a reader for her publisher asked if her villain’s monologuing was believable? But according to his motivation, yes—if he’s so proud of himself and his win, he might monologue, to utterly devastate the hero. (And because he tells his plan, the protagonist can defeat him.)

  1. Give your villain a character arc—let him change throughout the course of the story. How does he grow and change? Don’t make him the same person on the last page as he was on page one.
    Ex: one of her villain starts off not so bad, kind of mischievous, but by the end of the book she’s ready to kill.

Conclusion: You create compelling villains the same way you create compelling protagonists:

Make them real, make them rounded, give them a compelling story goal and believable flaws and weaknesses.

About the presenter
Stephanie Black is the author of The Believer, Fool Me Twice (winner of the 2008 Whitney Award for Best Mystery/Suspense) and the new release Methods of Madness. She. Is. Awesome. As per conference guidelines, I obtained written consent from Stephanie to blog the content of her presentation.

What do you think? What are your answers to the exercises? Who are your villains?

Photo credits: black cowboy hat—arbyreed; Wicked Queen—Loren Javier; Darth Vader—the Official Star Wars Blog; Villains—Anne the Librarian

19 thoughts on “Creating Compelling Villains – Stephanie Black – The Book Academy”

  1. Wow. I’m gonna need to start visiting your blog prepared Jordan!

    I’ll tell ya about my villains in Devil’s Daughter ~ I have two main ones, Satan, who is Luke Black in my story and the father of my protagonist, Desi; and Mr. Knowles, a demon, second in command to Satan, who is also a math teacher in Desi’s school. It’s not hard to see why Satan is a bad guy, but I’ve actually given him empathy, a goal and challenges. Knowles on the other hand shows up as the extra bad guy in this book. He’s trying to outdo the devil, not wanting to follow the same rules Satan has agreed to.

    I like these bad guys. I need to come up with some good ones for Jump Boys though. I have a ‘generalized’ bad guy or two, but I need to get down to the nitty gritty details so they really come alive and really FEEL threatening.

    Thanks for sharing these awesome notes!

  2. Wow that was a lot.
    I’m working on a new villain, and so far he’s the best villain I’ve ever created. He’s greedy, manipulative, deceptive, and will do anything and hurt anyone to achieve his goal.
    If there was a “story question” for him it would be
    “Can the villain trick the heroine to marry him before she realizes what a pathetic jerk he really is?”
    I like the concept because they start out with more or less the same goal, but his evil nature clashes more and more with her honest and caring nature, so he has to walk a tightrope of denial and deceit.

    The other you mention which I find interesting is having multiple villains. I believe that there’s a hierarchy of villains that a hero must conquer to earn the right to face off against the master villain. You have to get thru the evil henchmen first.

    The other deep dark secret of fiction is that there are no villains. The only way a hero can prevail is to conquer his own inner demons. Luke Skywalker must reject his dark side. Rocky must reject his own insecurity. The villain character is only there to expose the hero’s demons in a way that the hero has no choice but to face them.

  3. @Andrew—That’s an interesting point—all conflict really is more meaningful as internal conflict. External conflict doesn’t connect with us as readers until we see it connecting with the characters.

    But on the other hand, even if they conquered their inner demons, there’s not always a story there. I doubt you’ll be scintillated by a tale of overcoming insecurities to (dun dun DUUUUN) get the milk!

    I think the villains are often the sources of these internal conflicts, too. If Luke didn’t face off with Vader in the Jedi tradition, he wouldn’t have to reject his dark side. He could do whatever he wanted. Stay on Tatooine. Booooring. Rocky wouldn’t be insecure if there wasn’t someone better than him (and, well, a pretty girl. They never do anybody any favors).

  4. It’s on, JMC.
    I reject your example. There’s been plenty of novels dealing with agoraphobia, and getting the milk can be the exciting climax of their resurrection. I think either Koontz or King did one of these.

    If Luke never faced off with Vader…he would have *become* Vader. That’s the point. The hero and the villain should almost be the same person (I call it the “Evil Twin” villain). The villain serves as an example to the hero as to what will happen if they maintain their current path. If Rocky doesn’t face Creed than he goes on as a leg breaker, beating up weaker people and never learning what it means to be a champion. Villains are the mettle against which heroes are tested.

    Here’s the thing. If Luke didn’t have a dark side, then Vader and the Emperor would have no interest in him. He’d just be another goody-2-shoes Jedi. If Rocky wasn’t pissing his life away, he probably would already be champion, and there would be no Creed to fight. The hero’s weakness brings out the villains like ants to a rotting peach. In a sense, the hero creates the villain, not the other way around.

    In my WIP, my hero is drawn to the villain because he represents everything she believes she’s lacking. If she was confident and secure, she’d never give him a second look. But villains are irresistible to heroes. They’re the blacklight’s of attraction, the sirens’ call, the giant unwrapped chocolate bar of desire that heroes cannot avoid. They’re the asshole who cuts you off in traffic. He’s only an asshole because I want him to be an asshole. Maybe he was swerving to avoid debris in the road. So I cut him off, he responds, and all of a sudden I’m in a death race with some dude on the way to his kid’s recital. (hmm…this doesn’t make me sound like the good guy. Whatevs) My point is that the hero chooses to engage in conflict with the villain, making him the villain. The hero can’t necessarily control what the villain does, but he certainly can provide the mean to the villain’s actions.

  5. Bring it, boy. Like I said before, you raise an interesting point, and you have good supports. But I don’t think we can make these universal statements.

    Overcoming agoraphobia by itself isn’t much of a story. Overcoming one’s inner demons for their own sake = therapy, not fiction.

    Take your Rocky example. Is Creed somehow Rocky’s evil twin because he’s . . . successful and arrogant? Because he wins his fights? Because he’s somehow more morally repugnant than an “enforcer”? Like you said, if Rocky weren’t wasting his life, he would have already been the champion. By beating Creed, he becomes some of what Creed already is—successful.

    Stephanie was saying when you say “the hero creates the villain.” She said that when we create our villains, we have to give them story goals that are in opposition with the hero’s. It sounds like you’re arguing that they always have to be in direct opposition, polar opposites. You’re using examples from mythic stories.

    The context here is suspense/mystery/thriller—the story goals don’t have to be diametrically opposed, just mutually exclusive. Her example above: her protag’s story goal is to reconcile her estranged brother to their parents. The villain’s story goal is not to destroy her family because he just hates families and he never had one so nobody else can. He wants to get away with murder, and he frames her brother. Not having read Stephanie’s book (it’s not out yet), I doubt that her protagonist is going to become a murderer if she doesn’t try to exonerate her brother. In my current series, the hero’s probably not going to devolve into a terrorist or mobster if he doesn’t arrest them, or if he didn’t go into law enforcement.

    But if we want to stay in mythic structure, we can use the popular example above, Harry Potter. Note that both Harry and Tom Riddle were orphans who were mistreated as children. Even at the opening of the story, however, while Harry’s unhappy, he hasn’t developed the sociopathic tendencies that Riddle had. Your argument seems to state that if Harry didn’t have to fight Voldemort and his counterexample, he would have become Voldemort. But we see that he wasn’t on that path. He had similarly horrible events happen in his life, and yet he wasn’t on the path to megalomania. His call to Hogwarts would have come and he would have gone off to school and found the friends and family he always wanted. It’s a much shorter book this way πŸ˜‰ . It is in facing the villain that our protagonist becomes a hero—but for most stories (especially ones not in a mythic style), those aren’t our characters’ only choices.

    One of the points in the article above is that you have to give them compelling motivations. If the hero or the villain just simply “chooses to engage in conflict,” then yeah, they can end up like you cutting off that conscientious, good father—not much of a hero. We should make it so they have no better choice than to engage. Otherwise, why not walk away?

    As you say, the hero’s weakness attracts the villain—but on the other hand, you’re also arguing that it’s the villain that creates the hero. The way I understand your argument, you’re saying the villain’s counterexample is what keeps the hero from becoming a villain himself—and yet if there were no hero, there would be no villain. So maybe I’ll just bow out of this fight and let you and your evil twin duke it out. πŸ˜‰

  6. Jordan,

    Great post. In fact, several great posts in recent days. Now, more than ever, I am bummed I missed the conference. Thank you for taking so much time to put these posts together.

  7. Okay, where do I start, Jo-McCo?
    Plenty of stories out there dealing with therapy, with a strong moral that therapy is the answer to life’s problems. But I understand your point. It’s not big enough, and external conflict sells.

    Now for Rocky. You must remember that Rocky is an anti-hero, so of course the villain is going to actually be a good guy. He’s everything Rocky dreams of becoming, and is Rocky’s idol. The example of Creed’s life terrifies Rocky. So Creed is Rocky’s “good twin”, what would have happened if Rocky’s life had gone right and he had all the breaks that Creed had. It might not be the best example because of the good-guy bad-guy reversal.

    I don’t think I said they had to be polar opposites. In the example from my WIP I said they started out with similar, mutually beneficial goals. During an election, no one wants to hear how 2 candidates from the same party agree that health care and fighting terrorism are important. They want to know how they differ. In fiction, the story’s not that interesting if the hero and villain agree on most things. We’re only interested in how they differ.

    So not knowing your or Stephanie’s series, it’s hard to comment. But I would definitely say that if these characters aren’t pushed to edge of committing murder or terrorism, then you’re leaving something on the table. If they aren’t capable of these things, then I don’t think they’re capable of defeating the villain.

    Are you saying that Harry Potter is a realistic hero? That someone brought up in that environment would turn out “okay”? There’s this “Angelic Orphan” meme in there that’s hard to buy. This goes back to the Luke Skywalker thing. The bad guys try to use Potter’s pain and anguish for their own purposes. They want to turn him. Without dealing with his past, Potter probably would turn out like those guys. So I don’t buy your point. Power corrupts at some point, and without the example of a corrupted soul, you wind up with Anakin unable to conquer his demons and falling.

    The hero always has a choice. They choose to engage. It’s what makes them heroes. It’s what makes them answer the Call. Stories are about people who have goals and encounter resistance. Their choice is either change their goal or engage the resistance to achieve their goal.

    Now my head is spinning. How do we know that a villain is a villain? The hero must use his own past experiences as a guide to recognize that the villain is villainous. Why is murder and terrorism bad? When did the hero decide these things? Why does Holmes take on Moriarty instead of a ton of other types of villains? Why not take on child molesters or wife beaters? Heroes choose their villains because it’s what they understand. It’s what they’ve been fighting their whole life.

    We choose our fights, we choose our villains, just like we choose which blogs to comment on and which posts rile us up πŸ˜‰

  8. An antihero, by definition, is “is a protagonist whose character or goals are antithetical to traditional heroism.” (Traditional heroism: “in the face of danger and adversity or from a position of weakness, display courage and the will for self sacrifice – that is, heroism – for some greater good, originally of martial courage or excellence but extended to more general moral excellence.”) Rocky’s goal is to prove that he’s a person of value in epic battle, against all odds. Pretty much a classic Greek hero.

    I think a hero who’s capable of terrorism not much of a hero at all. Instilling terror in the masses by targeting noncombatants is pretty much antithetical to anything a hero should stand for. Sinking to the villain’s level—or being capable or willing to—doesn’t make someone heroic. A true hero has some principles that preclude that kind of wicked behavior. (And all killing isn’t murder. Someone who shoots an elderly hostage just because he doesn’t want to keep track of him and wants to scare the other hostages isn’t committing an act in the same league as a police sniper who takes that hostage-taker out or anyone who has to kill or be killed.)

    Actually, I prefaced the HP example by specifically saying that if we want to stay in the mythic structure, we can use that as an example. I didn’t say he’d be an “angelic orphan,” but if he found what was always lacking in his life—friends, family, acceptance, love—at Hogwarts (which he did, without opposition from Voldemort), there’s no reason to believe he’d become a villain. Yes, power corrupts, but do all powerful wizards turn evil in HP?

    And yes, the hero always has a choice. But if choosing to engage with the villain isn’t the right choice—sometimes the only choice which makes any sense—then they’re just looking for a fight. In most fiction, heroes don’t “choose” their villains. They’re confronted with them. The only choice we can give them is to fight—for themselves, for their honor, for their loved ones, for the greater good—or to turn tail and run and live a small life as a moisture farmer. Until he saw that his aunt and uncle were dead, Luke wasn’t willing to choose to leave the planet, even though he did have a romantic dream of rescuing a princess and standing against the empire. Had they not died—had Lucas not had them killed—Luke would have just gone home.

    But Lucas did kill them, and destroy the farm—and Luke knew they’d come for him, too. Once these characters reach a point where they have to fight, then yes, they choose that fight. The hero in facing the villain does make some choice that takes him down an opposite path. But really, to even be in that position, he’s already made a number of choices that differentiate him from the villain—usually before he ever meets or confronts the villain.

    The bottom line here is that your method of creating a villain is wonderful—if you need a mythic villain. I do believe that your hero needs a suitable villain. As Stephanie said, you have to create your villain to suit your hero—but also your story and your genre. Sherlock Holmes isn’t going to take on Voldemort. Luke Skywalker isn’t facing off against two old biddies “mercy killing” old bachelors. Does that mean that Luke is a better hero than Sherlock Holmes?

  9. The point is not that the hero has to sink to the villain’s level. It’s that he’s acutely aware of the consequences of the villain’s actions. A victim of terrorism may be more in touch with a terrorist’s mind. He may have to swallow feeling of revenge. He has to fight the temptation to firebomb the terrorists’ hideout. It’s like you think I’m saying that the hero has to become a villain which is the opposite of what I’m saying. I think we actually agree.

    I’m not giving up the “heroes choose their villains” idea. Luke could have easily chosen to fight with Vader and kill Obi-wan. He’d be the frickin new Sith Lord, ruler of the galaxy. Why is Han Solo good? Why is Jabba bad? I understand what you’re saying but a hero always has options.

    I don’t think villains have to be “mythic” for this to apply. I just think hero and villain are two pieces of the same puzzle. Hero and villain should be diametrically opposed (compared to orthogonally opposed in which case they can both win thru cooperation) where it’s a zero-sum game. Winner take all. The old biddies either “get away” with it or they don’t. Luke destroys Vader or he doesn’t. HP defeats Voldemort or he doesn’t.

    Anyways I don’t know if we’re even on topic anymore, but I think there should be enough here for someone to get a lot out of it, even if they don’t agree with everything πŸ™‚

    Anyways I think

  10. Andrew, as I’ve said in every comment—yes, you’re right.

    Well, you did say if it weren’t for the villain, the hero would become the villain, and if the hero isn’t capable of the same acts as the villain, then he’s not capable of defeating the villain. Appreciating the villain’s villainy is different than becoming him if it weren’t for the opportunity to oppose him.

    The statement that “heroes choose their villains” just rings wrong with me because, as authors, we design the heroes and we design the villains to match them, and we design the situations that guarantee that they’ll have to face off. We make the villains suited to our heroes confront the heroes (or vice versa), and not someone else. The hero chooses to fight their villain because of the situation we’ve created, but it’s not like we give our heroes a menu and they order a psychopathic killer with a twist of organized crime—and it’s seldom the case that our heroes pick a villain to fight because they’ve committed a crime the hero has some sort of understanding or history with (other than being a LEO or someone targeted by the villain, of course) or come from a similar background. (Although that does sound like an interesting idea. . . .)

    We do agree on the heart of the matter—that the hero and the villain must be in opposition and that they must be well-matched. But I think to say that “the hero and the villain should almost be the same person” is to overgeneralize. They do have to have similar strengths or there’s not going to be a battle. There should also be some complementary strengths and weaknesses (like in your WIP). But generalizations just make me want to argue back πŸ˜‰ .

    No comment on who’s the villain here. πŸ˜‰

  11. I was wondering when you would catch on that I was trying to be villainous. πŸ˜‰
    I love nothing better than to comment on posts I disagree with (or have a dift take on) and see how the author responds >:)

    I’m just pointing out what I feel is good story structure and design.
    It’s like when Q introduces Picard to the Borg. In some way, Picard was asking for it. He was being arrogant in his knowledge and rejects Q’s assistance. So Q sends Picard to meet the most arrogant race in the history of the galaxy. Now Picard didn’t specifically choose to fight the Borg, but they are the polar opposite in everything the Federation believes in and are the ultimate enemy. He cannot defeat the Borg until he comes down off his high horse and asks Q for help.

    My point is that the hero must choose to identify and fight the villain, and it’s something about the hero’s nature that puts him in direct conflict with the villain.

    The Borg serve as an example to Picard of what unfettered arrogance and thirst for knowledge can turn a people into. He learns there are limits to exploration. The Borg are not so different from Picard. On the surface yes, they’re far different, but deep inside, they share many of the same goals and desires. Knowledge. Power. Control. Perpetuation of the species/civilization. They just choose different methods of meeting these goals. The Borg are just Picard on steroids with no rules or Prime Directive to worry about.

  12. Now there’s a good example of a hero vs. villain. Oh, and the Star Trek one is good, too πŸ˜‰ .

    I like how you state your point there—that is something I can agree with.

  13. The villain in my junior fiction series is eight-year-old Angela Bloomfield. She’s tries to outsmart Molly Gumnut at ever opportunity. . Both children are strong, smart and determined, but the villain is a jealous and spiteful person who will do anything underhanded to get her own way. She’s spoilt, rich, pretty and snobby and loves nothing more than to put my protagonist down, especially in front of their classmates.

    I keep the friction going until the end, often letting Angela win along the way. It’s hard to let the villain in this story grow because I have a series of 11 books, so I have to keep her as mean and spiteful as an eight-year-old villain can be.

    After reading this post, Jordan, I will add the reason why the villain feels a need to put the protagonist down all the time. I haven’t done that yet. Their mothers are best friends and the two girls are rivals, but are totally opposite.

    I found this post extremely helpful, thanks, Jordan. πŸ™‚


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