Enjoyed reading Pat Newcombe’s blog post on villains in her Thriller Writers Blog. I am sure you will too, especially if you like the suspense/mystery/thriller genre. This set me thinking on what I would like to see and not see in a villain!
It’s a matter of preference really but I somehow like my villains to be more subtle. They aren’t always, as Pat points out in her blog, downright bad. Some could have a few qualities that you may actually like. I realized when I first wrote my thriller “It Can’t Be You” that people as indeed life is not always so clearly good or bad, black or white. People, even villains, do have shades of grey.
Some writers use villains who are so much in your face that they stand out as villains in a crowd of a thousand people. Movies have traditionally depicted them as such by their manner, their dress and their ability to make even a person with a below average IQ that they are bad! I like my villains to be people who don’t act or dress like villains. They could be the guy next door, your friend at work or someone you see in the street as Mr. John Doe.
Very few, if any, are born with villainy deeply entrenched in their psyche. I don’t believe this can happen at all. They are almost always made villains by a series of life events or circumstances that make them that way. Childhood events often leave them scarred for life. They develop all the characteristics of villains while believing for the most part that they are perfectly normal people.
As far as I am concerned, I find it more interesting and difficult, to portray a villain. It calls for tremendous skills in the writer to depict a villain who is someone other than the typical in your face, downright bad guy!
Your thoughts are welcome as always and thanks to Pat for prompting these thoughts and this post.