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A wretched hive of scum and villainy

4 December 2010

Today’s post is, as you may have guessed, about villains. I love writing them — but I almost hate turning them into the bad guy.

My problem is that I sometimes make the villain (if it’s one person we’re talking about) too awesome. I end up liking him more than I like the hero of my story, and sometimes end up rooting for him more than I root for the guy I’m supposed to be rooting for.

On a couple of books, I’ve found my way around that by either a) making the villain into the hero, or b) giving the hero villainous elements. That actually ends up working out, because I have to up the evil ante for whatever scum and villainy the hero actually has to face, which makes the challenge more extreme and the tension a lot higher.

So, any stories out there where you liked the villain more than the hero?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 5 December 2010 0817

    That’s the thing. You can’t have a perfect hero. To tell any sort of a story worth reading there has to be effect, growth of the character, problems overcome, or even challenges failed.

    Everyone has flaws, but if you try to make the hero always do or say exactly the right thing, it will fall flat. Every time.

  2. Nate permalink
    6 December 2010 0858

    Recently, I read the first few installments in Terry Goodkind’s “Sword of Truth” series. I didn’t like the villains so much as I grew to detest the hero more with each book. Even in the first couple books, he’s written as an almost flawless individual, but as the books progress he becomes a narcissitic, navel-gazing windbag. There was nothing to like about the protagonist or any of the supporting characters, so I decided not to read any more of the series. That’s a rare thing for me.

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