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June 24th, 2002, 10:41 PM
Two questions...

1. What is your opinion of having two main villains (or more) in a story? Specifically, the story I am working on has evolved into the following:

- One main villain (righteous ends justify the horrific means mentality)

- One sub-villain group (vicious and terrifying species, completely alien)

- One reluctant villain (paired with main villain) (redeems self at end of story)

- One main hero (vulnerable then reluctant then nearly villainous (no, not the dark side) then finally altruistic)

- One sub-hero group (part benevolent, part skeptical, part ruthless)

2. Who was the most terrifying villain you ever encountered in your reading? (Physical appearance terrifying? Psychologically terrifying?) What made them so terrifying for you?

June 25th, 2002, 01:23 AM
I think it's perfectly fine to have more than one villian. It can add dynamics to the "other side of the story." And a lot of people use more than one Villian. It isn't all that rare. I would just be careful not to talk too much about villians, because I have read some fantasy novels where the author obviously wanted to flesh out the evil guys, but went into it so much that it became boring.

As for me, the scariest villians I've ever read were not in fantasy or sci-fi. I'm much more creeped out by the "bad guys" that could very well be my next door neighbor and I'd never even know. For example, In Harlan Coben's latest book, Gone For Good, (he's a mystery writer) the Villian, Ghost, was pretty damn creepy.

But I couldn't name just one, all-time creepiest villian. I've read a lot of good ones.

June 25th, 2002, 01:54 AM
That's an interesting question, Colossus. You could actually try to define what makes a villain in your work.

For example, in Matt Stover's book, "Heroes Die", he also had several villains:

1) Mael'Koth, a being with god-like powers who actually cared for his followers (and a person you could sympathize with)
2) Berne, a master swordsman who is motivated by plain and simple thoughts of revenge, ambition, loyalty, and perverse desires
3) the Corporate, rulers of a future earth that are only concerned about one thing: profit.

So, are these truly villains? What makes a villain anyway?


June 25th, 2002, 05:29 PM
A fun twist on that question is how you can start a character out as seeming to be a villain, and then turn him or her around so that they're really not the baddie after all.

Jane Fancher did this nicely with her Dance of the Rings series, which starts off with one of three brothers, Mikhyel, appearing with all the hallmarks of what you'd expect to be the "villain." But as the story evolves, you come to see his perspective, and realize that he is just a different "side" of events (efficient, seeking order, etc.) versus one of the other brothers, who is carefree and well-liked (and also disorganized and not really on top of things). Having gotten into the "rhythm" of the usual fantasy tale, I was lulled into thinking Mikhyel would be the guy I'm supposed to dislike, and found it intriguing how Jane turned that completely around.

June 25th, 2002, 06:02 PM
The opposite is also true, Radthorne. I have read a number of books where one of the protagonists, whom I liked in the beginning, turned out to be a complete psycho and ended up as the villian of the story. When done well, it's an interesting thing to read about.

June 25th, 2002, 06:51 PM
Hmm, that one though seems rather too much like what I find in real life... :D

July 2nd, 2002, 03:11 AM
Good examples of villians would be in my opinion , Cyric, Rastlin, all the bad guys in the black company series save the evil goddess. Also a good read for a villian point view would be a ron hubbard series called conflict earth (Not sure of name but damn good). Also read the series which had the black cauldren in it a earlier villian changes her ways.

July 2nd, 2002, 07:09 AM
man, the best villain ever is from this dan simmons sci-fi book, Hyperion, and he/it is called Shrike. the thing is, though, that this "villain" is very, very shrouded in mystery and stuff, so you consider him a true villain only in the first book of the saga (there's four) because, as you find out more about him, you can choose to like him and not think of him as a villain anymore. but still, this Shrike character is the meanest thing in the universe. and it looks really, really evil. (also an excellent book, finest science-fiction)

July 4th, 2002, 11:16 PM
1. This depends on your story, I suppose. In fiction "the more, the merrier" isn't always true. If the story is centred on the villians then it may work to have a number of different characters. Of course it is always nice for the central antagonist to have someone to play against - something that occurs all the time in the Disney formula. The obstacles this presents lie in the fact that with each new character you add a new dimension to the story - a different motivation, different conflicts that kind of thing. As long as you can keep them integrated in the story you'll be fine. Just don't get too side-tracked - you could lose your readers. (On the other hand a good side-track can off shoot an entirely different story, better than the original.)

2. The scariest villains, in my opinion, are the ones that connect with the reader somehow - drawing on inherent fears. Hannibal did it for me. The thing is different people find different things frightening. What "connected" me with Hannibal was that there is a funny logic about him, that showed me how a psychopath couldl view the world.

Pirate Jenn
July 10th, 2002, 06:05 AM
The more villans the merrier--aren't we about conflict? Of the list, the reluctant villain sounds like the most interesting character.

My only question is: do the villains get along? Bounty hunters seldom love each other. Pirates envy each other their gold. (I always love watching bad guys duke it out. Esp. in Kung-Fu movies)