September 17, 2020-Today we’re talking about antagonists and what characteristics they tend to have. As writers, it’s essential to know what makes our characters who they are, what makes them tick, and why they do what they do/don’t do. Antagonists, in my opinion, are far more fascinating than Protagonists, becasue I always wonder what pushed them over the edge and caused them to become a villain.
First, let’s start by defining what an antagonist is: An antagonist is a character that stands in the way of the main character getting what they want. The Antagonist is referred to as the villain as mentioned above. Some notable antagonists are:
And my personal favourite, Bane.
Antagonists have particular personality traits and can often be described as having personality disorders (narcissists). Some traits include:
A sense of superiority and an inflated sense of ego
Loyal to their cause and a willingness to do whatever it takes to complete their mission no matter the cost, a risk-taker mentality
Intelligent and strong
Diabolical, calculated, methodical in some cases
Adapts to changing situations easily
A distorted sense of justice, the world, and self
Keep these traits and characteristics in mind when writing your villains. Villains are people too, perhaps just more interesting and complex if you ask me!
August 31, 2020- Let’s talk about writing characters with certain behavioural disorders. I’ve chosen to touch on Narcissism, which is defined as selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration as characterizing a personality type. Self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as of feature of mental disorder.
I’m not suggesting that all villains are characters with behavioural disorders, and I’m certainly not minimizing that for those who battle with this in real life. What I’m saying is that some characters are given these traits when we write them because they exist in the people around us, and that’s where our inspiration comes from. I’m also not suggesting that anyone with a behavioural disorder is a villain, either.
I’d like to focus on one character in particular who exhibits all of the traits below to give you a point of reference; Gaston from Beauty and the Beast is the ultimate Narcissist.
Lack Empathy: Gaston doesn’t care about anyone but himself and getting what he wants. He doesn’t care that Belle’s father has been taken by the beast and locked up and considered a crazy old man.
Conversation Hogger: Gaston never lets Le Fou, or anyone else, get a word in edgewise. He always controls the conversation, talks over others, shouts, interrupts, and dominates the conversation to suit himself.
Self-Importance: Remember this song? “Who’s the man among men? Who’s the super success? Don’t you know? Can’t you guess? Ask his fans and his five hangers-on. There’s just one man in town who’s got all of it down and his name’s G-A-S-T-O-N!” No additional information is needed about what Gaston thinks of himself.
False Image Projection: “Gaston is the best, and the rest is all drips”… “I’m roughly the size of a barge!” Enough said.
Rule Breaking: Gaston feels as though he’s above the rules. He goes to Belle’s house uninvited and unwelcomed, muscles his way in, and expects her to oblige to his every whim. He stands on the table in the bar, wrecks the place, and doesn’t think the rules apply to him.
Blame: “Who does that girl think she is?” speaking about Belle when she “rejects, humiliates” him.
When writing your characters, be sure to do your research on specific traits that you want them to have so that you can build your author credibility and write your characters the way they need to be written to move your story forward.
July 31, 2020-Do you know the difference between a villain and anti-hero? Is there a difference? There sure is! Let’s explore.
A villain is the character that readers love to hate. They’re usually devoted to crime, malicious, and devious. They’ll do whatever it takes to get what they want no matter what the cost. They usually have little regard for anything other than the execution of their cause or master plan.
An anti-hero is who the reader roots for even though they have major flaws. They’re a heroic character that does the right thing, but usually for the wrong reasons and only to serve themselves. They lack conventional heroic qualities. Anti-heroes are usually not trustworthy, courageous, or honest. They are the definition of “grey area”.
So, why does this matter? Using villains and anti-heroes can help round out your writing, they can add depth, conflict, and drama where your story needs it most. Don’t be afraid to play around with your characters and develop them into one or the other or add both to liven up your plot. Life isn’t black and white and your characters shouldn’t be either!
July 16, 2018- I absolutely love this quote from Chris Colfer, “A villain is just a victim whose story hasn’t been told.”
Ever since I was a child, I always rooted for the bad guy and I have to confess that as an adult, I still find villains more interesting. What interests me is the why behind what they do, how they act, and who they are and how they got to that point. The villain is always more intriguing than the hero I think because after all, they mustn’t have always been that way.
A part of them must have been good at one point; what changed? And don’t you think that we all teeter on the edge of becoming villains? What stops us? What separates us (the good guys) from them (the bad guys)? I urge you to consider writing your story from the villain’s perspective; change things up and let your readers experience a different point of view! Happy Writing!
April 4, 2018- I love this! Female villains are their own type of fascinating because of the layers involved with telling their stories. Emotion plays a huge role and the differential course of action between male and female leads when it comes to being a villain couldn’t be more opposite. I’m very excited to tell you that my next thriller will cast a female villain as the main character! You won’t believe what she does… #thefutureisfemale
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