Trust Me: Creating the perfect Villian
Come ask questions or give advice, or just talk about your fav villian :
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I'm writing a sort of supernatural thriller/horror at the minute and wonder if you might be able to give me some help with my "evil supernatural being" lol. I'll give a few details. The story I'm writing is called Kiki and basically all ive got at the moment is: All of kiki's relatives have died suspiciously and have left her an island (in the will). The island has a small village, of which all of its inhabitants have been collected up (primarily for torture) by the impersonators. The impersonators (charactor i'm looking for any tips for) are weird "creatures" that dress thoughoughly in black and kind of look like ghouls. I need any tips/advice on how to make them utterly evil. ( or any adive in general lol :P) will be glad of any help you can give, you can reply in here, via my email address/hotmail address: [email protected] or any other way possible lol :) thanks, bex x
8/17/2007 #1
When it comes to creating "evil" characters, I always try to figure out their motivation. What twisted them, what effected them, and how it effected them. One of my villians hates and repeatedly tries to kill the one man he feels responsible for him losing his obsession--a woman who happens to be married to the man he hates. Generally, how a villian acts is based on their past experiences. A lot of men abuse women because they either witnessed their father abusing their mother or they were victims of abuse. Also, if a character has a certain person who they feel has "wronged" them in the past then they are likely to be more aggressive towards people who remind them of the person who "wronged" them. Here's an example of one of my killers: Jonathan Weiss is a contract killer. He was once married, but his wife left him. She was average height, had red, curly hair, and a slender body. Weiss feels betrayed by her, especially when he learns she has re-married and is pregnant. He is motivated by revenge against her and strikes out at young woman who represent her at various stages at her life. My expertise is killers (mainly serial) and obsessive love as well as abuse/domestic violence. Here's some good questions to answer to help you set up your villians (I'm using "he" as a generalization, same as killing--it could be torturing or whatever you wish): 1. Who is he? (age, gender, race, employment--describe as much as possible) 2. Who are his victims? (age, gender, race, employment, etc.) 3. What does he do with his victims? Anything that makes him unique from other villains? 4. What is his background/unbringing? (i.e. was he abused? Did he witness abuse? How did it effect him as an adult?) 5. What motivates him? 6. Why does he pick the victims he does? What is his ideal victim? (All villians have a type.) 7. How does he abduct his victims? 8. How does he torture/kill his victims? 9. How long has he been killing? Was there a trigger for him to start? Here's five general types of killers: ~Visionary~ -voices or visions demanding that he kills -psychosis -severe break with reality, likely insane -ex. Joseph Kallinger ~Missionary~ -eliminate certain identifiable groups from world -perceives certain groups as less worthy of being in the world (such as prostitutes, old people, kids, and certain races) -ex. Wayne Williams ~Hedonistic~ -pleasure is highest good -3 types of Hedonistic - financial gain (comfort) killer - lust killer - thrill killer -ex. Cary Stayner (lust) -ex. Edmund Emil Kemper III (lust) -ex. David Richard Beckowitz - "Son of Sam" (lust) ~Power/Control~ -kills to recieve gratifications from control of victim -tortures victims -likes the begging -ex. Donald Harvey When it comes to help making decisions on villians, I often look back at true cases. CrimeLibrary is a great online resource ( to look at true-life crimes and learn more about killers. With a fan fic series (that I'm turning into novels) I wrote a section on one of my webpages with some more villian creating helps ( I hope I gave you some ideas to think about. If you have any more questions and need more help, please let me know. You can reply in here or send me a PM or e-mail at [email protected] Hope this helps! :)
8/24/2007 #2
My Brighter Darkness
What do you mean by a supernatural being? Is like a demond or just some wacko with powers?
9/7/2007 #3
By a 'supernatural being', I mean an unusual supernatural creature-so not one thats already existant - (that actually is going to be kinda described (image-wise) similar to the dementors in harry potter lol). They have evolved on, and inhabit, this island and have decided to start a killing rampage of the human islanders. The full story isn't complete yet lol, so tis open to any suggestions :P - even though two chapters are already written haha ^_^. want any more info feel free to contact :) all the best, bex xxx
9/7/2007 #4
To me, this sounds like you're writing more of a horror story than a thriller. Horror stories have these "supernatural" aspects to them, while thrillers are more reality based, suspense stories. Though the second post gave you good advice.
3/26/2008 #5

Artzcreator –

I agree that the first person to reply definitely gave you the most help. However you should also know that, under certain circumstances or depending on how you want to set up your story, a villain doesn’t necessarily need a traumatic past or psychological reason for what they’re doing. Obviously when people go to war or start fighting/torturing another group of people different than themselves they’re not killing because they’ve got some emotional problems. Since you’ve got these strange creatures you could very easily make it a cultural thing, or offer some kind of unknown piece of information to explain their behaviour. A lot of books and movies offer one central villain that is different from the rest that provokes or leads the others in tormenting the main character for their own hidden reason.

4/12/2008 #6

Laeden –

Actually the genres (horror and thriller) are pretty much interchangeable these days. There are only a few loose details that differentiate them. True, most people consider thrillers to deal more with realistic elements but a number of classic horror movies are also considered thrillers because they fit the general criteria. For example; A Nightmare on Elm Street, Friday the 13th, and The Amityville Horror. Just because a story has supernatural creations in it doesn’t mean it is instantly relegated to horror. It all depends on how she pulls off the plot. The genre itself is very broad and it would be easy for her to fit the story she’s described into it.

4/12/2008 #7
Kalista Jia

Oh I see we share same interest LOL.

Yep yep criminal stories are the best to write. Especially when the main is a villian.

Mine is a police name Jeremiah, who goes around in a secret identity as Criki to kill of former criminals released from prison. He just decapitated them in any manner, using whatever tools even remote control. muhahahaha

Ok ok enough randomness and creepiness.

8/14/2008 #8

I personally vote for the first person, though I can understand if you decide to not bas eit off historical serial killers. However, I recommend you keep from making them "evil" simply because they are a specific creature. I feel that those characters are always the least interesting and least challenging to read. Make it something cultural, something that is based off the way they live, how they interact--hell, maybe it's even just hallucinogenic plants they eat (like shaman ancestors used to. Though they did it to commune with spirits). Just make sure to explain and give it a reason. I find the ones that believe something that crawls beneath my skin are far more frightening than people who are simply naturally evil.

7/4/2009 #9

I'll disagree with FuneralForAMarker - the best villains for me are ones I can see really happening. I feel an alienated and amoral genius is most memorable because it is so possible. I think two things make for a good villain:

1. They must not think they're evil. They have to have some motivating factor other than, "I hate you, bwah-ha-ha." Someone who can truly say, "I'm very sorry to have to do this to you, but this will save so many more people".

2. They should have a more varied repertoire than simple torture and murder. Someone who can talk a person into suicide is much more memorable to me than a person with a gun. Even better is someone who can seduce another person into joining him or her in working harm.

While not scariest, the best villain in my eyes is the Agent from the movie Serendipity. He admits he's a monster, and he has no place in the utopia he hopes to bring out by bring violence to bear against our protagonists. He does it because he must, and kills even children in his duties because he feels it a necessary evil to bring about a greater good.

As for the ghouls, a possibility is for them to subtly attack the protagonists, such as whispering into their near-subconscious, or shaping their dreams, forcing the protags to deny themselves sleep for fear of being lied to. Another aspect that would make them memorable is to have them gradually take over their victims, repressing the victim's consciousness into the background so he or she is aware of the evil and reduced to begging his or her comrades to kill him or her lest more harm occur.

Anime-style 'monsters suddenly reforming their flesh into claws and talons', then rushing into battle are flashy. They look great when animated, and are dynamic, but don't translate well into prose. Also, in my eyes, they aren't all that special - they don't show any significant investment or creativity on the part of their creator.

12/27/2009 #10

I have a villain who can influence (but not control) other peoples actions, does that count? He does force someone to kill his coworker and then himself, as they were in his way.

I aggree with your first point, no-one tries to be evil, whatever they are doing must seem right in their eyes. However I find what they are doing isn't what's interesting, it's how they do it. Murder still works if there's something interesting about how or they why they murder people. If they just stand there and look pretty there is no point in a seduction scene, it adds nothing to the plot or characters.

1/11/2010 #11

I should also add - don't have the baddie threaten your protagonist with death.

I dare you to kill hir. I double-dog-dare you. And I mean The True Death, not a resurrection or "I faked it, Dr. Evil!"

Hardly any kills their main character. If you're going to have the villain, who is doing good or evil or simply a necessary evil in hir mind, want to make the protag scared, threaten someone close in heart. A friend, a relative, a city.

There's a reason you rarely see Superman tied up, and often see Lois Lane in dire straits (aside from the fact that they want to attract leering teen boys, that is...)


Back to WolfletteMoon's question - Does that count? I don't know - will your reader walk away remembering that villain? That's the goal - you want the villain to be memorable. Killing with style? That's risky - you'll get people like me (and WolfletteMoon, from the sounds of it) who don't really care if the kill is flashy but lacking emotion.

Killing with subtlety? That's better, in my eyes. There's that 'look over your shoulder' aspect, where the reader will wonder if someone can really do that, and ... what if that's being done to the reader hirself?

However, there's that pesky requirement that it should be believable. If it's an unbelievable kill, then there isn't that 'look over your shoulder' nervousness.

1/11/2010 #12

Very risky indeed. I like suspense with killings, a build up. It helps to put in plannimg scenes, when they're deciding what to do. Then the reader wonders whether or not it will go to plan, and you can always have things go wrong if you want to put a twist in.

1/11/2010 #13
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