As part of his blog tour for The Kingdom of Vosh, I have a guest post from author Jason C Conley titled “How To Write A Villain”.
The villain of your story could possibly be the most important character of the entire book, even more so than your hero. If you don’t have an interesting ‘bringer of the apocalypse’ then you probably don’t have an interesting book either. What does it take to break a hero’s heart? How do you get inside that evil-doer’s head? Let’s see if we can dissect and examine the all important villain.
First of all, your hero has to have an obstacle, someone or something so opposed to your hero’s journey that they would do anything, anything, to stop them. It is called a foil, they are a ruiner of dreams, yes I
said ruiner. They have to be so diametrically opposed to your hero that there is no alternative but to go on this quest to stop them. But why? That’s what we have to get to the root of.
Understanding your villain leads directly to understanding your hero. What are they opposed to, exactly? That should be what your hero is for. If your hero needs to travel the world on the fastest ship, then your villain needs to have a faster ship, the old champion. If your hero needs to cure the world of some plague, then your villain needs to be the cause of the plague. Opposites, pros and cons, foil and counter foil, this tension makes for good story telling and will bring forth good ideas to get you to the finish line.
The villain needs to have a back story that’s just as compelling as the hero’s. What is their motivation? Why should your villain want to rule the world or destroy that continent or poison the water supply? What’s in it for them? They shouldn’t be dastardly for the sake of being dastardly. Good villains don’t just wring their hands and laugh in the shadows. They have struggles too, and it’s those struggles that make them relatable.
Now you’ve just got the secret ingredient, you have to relate to your villain somehow. They have to be understandable to some degree. Make it so you might actually, possible, under the right circumstances do the very thing your villain did if you grew up the way they did. If I can’t relate to the villain somehow then I can’t really understand or comprehend the villain and that leaves a disconnect with the audience. You don’t want to alienate your reader, you want to compel them forward, to keep reading and turning those pages. If your villain is just a jerk because … he’s a jerk, well that’s kind of a dead end and not very interesting. Did his daddy beat him when he was little? Well people can relate to that. There aren’t that many well written crazy, evil characters out there with no background. “Yes, Joker, I kind of actually would like to know how you got those scars.” What’s in it for them other than money, fame, sex, and power? That’s just not enough! You’ve got to go spelunking in their junk.
You also need to have an end to their beginning. How is the hero going to overcome the villain successfully? How do they triumph? What is the villains overall weakness? Are they afraid of something? Does sunlight turn them to ash? Well, the hero needs to drag their sorry butt out into the light at the end. You can’t have the villain invincible. Just like how people get bored of sports teams that are dominating year after year and actually root for their defeat, people like the bad guys to lose in the end. No one likes to feel defeated after investing in a long read. Yes, it’s okay if it’s maybe in the mid part of a trilogy, an overall arch, but in the long run your character should finally throw that ring in the volcano and bring peace back to the land. It’s rare, dare I say impossible, to write an awesome story where the bad guy wins at the end with no hope left. People get defeated enough in real life. Who wants to read about it in fiction as well?
In The Kingdom of Vosh, I wrote the main villain, Lord Buul, as an exact opposite to the hero, Jasper. They are brother and sister, one is beautiful and filled with life, the other is twisted, crippled from birth, and sickly poisoned by his own mechanical machines. Buul seeks out help from the moon spirit named Shath who heals his broken body, for a price, and it is through this deal with the devil that sets our villain on his path of destruction.
I hope you learned a little bit about writing an arch nemesis. Give those characters character, a motivation to that black heart, make them relatable and give them a well deserved end.
Until next time, let’s GO ADVENTURING!The Kingdom of Vosh by Jason C Conley
Published by Kerlak Enterprises on Jun 10, 2013
Find the book: Amazon, Goodreads
Secrets have been formed in the dark corners of the kingdom. Change is in the air and whispers of new ideas and technologies have swept the land. Unfortunately, the King is old and simple and his daughter is concerned only with worldly possessions. A man by the name of Buul, a man long forgotten, has returned to pay a visit to the King on the day of his birthday. He has not come empty handed and will be the King’s undoing.
The King, in moments of panic and war, can trust no one with the protection of his daughter. He quickly decides to entrust her life with a creature most vile and uncommon and chains her to a Vork. He does not leave her empty handed though. His last gift to the Princess is an amulet with powers even he does not comprehend. The land’s only chance, the only one loyal to the King’s memory, is the daughter that cares nothing of the Kingdom of Vosh.