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  1. #61
    work in progress MElliott's Avatar
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    Haha well I landed somewhere in the upper 600s in the reading section, but I think I got the gist of what you were saying, Mage. It's definitely an interesting premise for a story. I'd put your villain under the manipulator category there. Sounds like he's pulling the strings of some of your other characters. I especially like how he's playing off of the monks' flaws.

    I personally don't have anything against evil for evil's sake villains if they exist under some sort of unique circumstance that hasn't been done before. If it's an uninspired LOTR clone though, I'll likely get fed up with the cliches and put the book down. But usually I gravitate toward morally ambiguous villains who could almost be good guys under different circumstances.

  2. #62
    Good question brough tup here, because i'm currently working on a major project for a series of fantasy books... and without saying too much, i've gone as far as i can with my villain.. however just to have an over view, i have a villain that is horrific and majestic at the same time... he has an extremly strong view for destrying what he thinks shouldn't exist and is seeking revenge on those that did him wrong.. but his views are some what seriously flawed, however his power is legendary... so would it be best to add unstoppable, mysterious and looking terrigying to the list would make him a better character too read about? just as robert jordan did with the Dark One... i think i've covered what your all more or less what you all think makes a good villain, but just one final judgement from fanstasy fans would help make my descision and probably sum up the answer to the question posted above quite well.

  3. #63
    bmalone.blogspot.com BrianC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred Gallney View Post
    But...Voldy, Sauron, ect were out to gain domaince accross the world - to be the most powerful - even godly. But they are pitiless towards others.
    My advice . . . try not to miss out on what makes Voldemort and Sauron such compelling villains. It's not how powerful they are, or the fact that they are merciless and ruthless. Being merciless for them, after all, is both a means to an end (power and dominance) and a central aspect of their psyche. In other words, for Voldemort and Sauron mercy, compassion, and love are weaknesses that they expunged from themselves in their pursuit of power. What makes them interesting as villains, however, is that their inability to show mercy, to be compassionate, to love are actually weaknesses so profound that they lead to the utter destruction of the seemingly invulnerable villain. Voldemort simply could not comprehend how Lily's love and compassion for her son, and how Harry's love and compassion for his friends, could defeat his undeniably awesome raw power. Sauron simply could not understand that mercy,compassion and love were not weaknesses of his enemies, but actually were the very strengths that fed their resistance of his power to the very end.

  4. #64
    Peckish hippokrene's Avatar
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    I'm knee deep in this question right now, and the answer I've come upon isn't very pretty but here it goes: The most important trait of a good villain is that they are willing, able, and motivated to make the hero's life hell.

    I’ve divided my WIP villains into three types.

    Mookers: They’re exist as part of a larger organization and function as minor antagonists. While their conflict with the hero is direct, they have no personal reason for wanting her dead.

    Nemesis: On an equal power level with the hero, in direct conflict, and with a personal stake in seeing her dead, destroyed, etc. These two are the most fleshed out.

    Mastermind: The ‘background’ villain, the head of a powerful organization with many resources but with no direct, personal conflict with the hero – she’s just an obstacle in the way of their much bigger plans.

    I also have a mini-mastermind who's less a villain than an antagonist. He's this fantasy society’s ‘police chief’ and believes the hero is a murder.

  5. #65
    Has a custom user title! Yjar's Avatar
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    I'll like either pure evil, mistaken, or 'grey' is it?--characters. So long as the super evil shows some intelligence or source of his power, and is not just some fat curly mustashe weakling who happened to gain his rank out of nowhere and just doesn't like the good guy.

    RA Salvatore's "The Thousand Orcs" was one of the first books I read. Even though it isn't really my tea now a'days to read, Obould was my favorite character. Brute, strategic, smart, leader, and on his own path, threatened by the protagonists goal.

  6. #66
    mystical muse Diane's Avatar
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    I can tell you what villains I don't like... the ones that are 'evil' because you get to read these horrible nasty things they do to women and children and the point is that they are vile and nasty but we like to force the readers to drown in it. Based on the few authors that I've read I think/feel that scenes where they take their villains this way is a cop-out. Instead of a very intricate character that earns your disgust we'll take the quick way to evil-hood. Most of the instances I've run into this the villain seems hollow and unbelievable. I'm not saying it isn't possible to have a good villain that does nasty things I'm saying that a lot of writers use nasty things to try and create a villain and it doesn't necessarily work.

  7. #67
    Peckish hippokrene's Avatar
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    Can you give a few examples of works where such a villain didn't work for you?

    I remember reading Silence of the Lamb and finding Buffalo Bill shallow despite the psychological profiling the characters give him, but he was scary. I spent time twitching in my seat while I found myself thinking Come on, Clarice! Figure it out! and worrying about the senator’s daughter.

    The thing was that I understood how important this was to Clarice and how much was riding on it for her personally, as well as my desire to see a rather icky murderer caught. I didn't need to find the villain deep or realistic.

  8. #68
    mystical muse Diane's Avatar
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    Some examples are Goodkind liked to throw that a lot on his villains in SoT series, also I've found a few of Lackey's books that the villains seemed completely flat to me for example in the last book of the Heralds of Valdemar series and also I thought her villains in the Obsidian trilogy were another example.

  9. #69
    The Ninth Avatar tdnewton's Avatar
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    Isn't the rule of a good villain that they have at least some probability of "winning?" The fact that they know that would be even better, because then they could be cocky and whatnot.

  10. #70
    Registered User theonefirestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tdnewton View Post
    Isn't the rule of a good villain that they have at least some probability of "winning?" The fact that they know that would be even better, because then they could be cocky and whatnot.


    Yes otherwise he or she may as well should just be taking on thugs.

    I think that there is nothing wrong with pure evil if you can make it work. The archenemy for my main super hero is a demon so he's perfect as pure evil because by nature demons are evil. But despite that he enjoy's thing's the same as other guys such as beer, beautiful women, has favorite sports teams, etc. Some don't need a whole bad event as some people are just born bad. The best thing about pure evil villains is without question you will hate them as in you want to see them smashed, and defeated.

    Style: There is something about him or her that makes them excellent. Sinestro Much like real world villains -terrorists he truely believes he's doing the right thing so you can't say what are you doing is bad because he's convinced without question he is right. Excellent visual, cunning brazen, does not want to kill people although he'll do it if has to, and uses the ends justify the means.
    Freddy Krueger You can't avoid him because all people need to sleep, he knows your worst fears, and is a smartass that takes enjoyment in bedeviling his victims, and killing them. Mozenartath of Aladdin He is the Lord of the Land of the Black Sand, smartass, excellent powerset, charismatic, is pure evil, arrogant, and a case of he was just born bad.

    Motivation: It needs to believable not moronic like a guy decides to become depraved because a person ran into him by accident spilling water on his soes, Lex Luthor originally because Superman made his hair fal outl to bad they didn't have hair club for men back then, he's making the world suffer for losing a game of cards more than 12 years ago, etc you get it.

  11. #71
    Shadow's Lure (June 2011)
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    Nice thread resurrection!

    Evil is in the eye of the beholder, or something.

    What makes a 'good' villain to one reader does not always work for someone else. Experiences vary.

  12. #72
    Registered User theonefirestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shashekar View Post
    The greatest villain is the person who believes what they are doing is absolutely right. They might not even be acting out of a selfish desire, and instead simply be doing what they feel to be the greater good.

    Who is scarier: The lord who burns a peasant village to the ground because it serves his selfish ends and knows he's wrong for doing it, or the one who does it because it's right to do it?

    I feel it's realistic and it casts the protagonists in an entirely different light: This lord would see them as evil for trying to stop him.
    The one who does it because he think's it's right. Hitler, Hussein, Castro, Stalin, Bin Laden, etc and plenty of other real world villains are all the more terrorfying because most villains do think of themselves as heroes.

    Also villains that want good things but go about getting them in bad ways. They want to be rich but don't mind going about it bad ways selling drugs, being apart of the Mob, autochopping cars, etc.

  13. #73
    Registered User theonefirestorm's Avatar
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    I think everyone can agree the villain must be a pos that without question you are going to hate him, or her. Afterall the villain is the minatory bane in the story that is causing misery, hurting people, and doing other deplorable things.

    Here is a tips writing article for writing a 3 dimensional villain.

    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2010/...3-dimensional/

  14. #74
    Registered User theonefirestorm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon Sprunk View Post
    Nice thread resurrection!

    Evil is in the eye of the beholder, or something.

    What makes a 'good' villain to one reader does not always work for someone else. Experiences vary.
    So how beauty is in the eye of the beholder the same could be said about evil.

    Exactly. There is no one size fits all.

  15. #75
    creatorofPreten
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    For me the best Villian is the hero who has gone too far. The scariest villain is the one who genuinely believes he is helping you as he casually shoves you off the edge of a cliff, or the man who truly believes he loves his girlfriend even as he is choking the life out of her.

    He/She begins their journey with the desire to help, to save, protect; but then somehow they lose their way, they sail beyond reason to the point where they will kill the people they are trying so hard to protect because they are standing in the way of him/her protecting them. This kind of villian is completely unpredicatable because they have gone off the rails so to speak, and you will find that they'll do anything in order to suceed in their mission even if their mission no longer makes sense to anyone but them.

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