AU PROMPT Where Saitama wants to spread evil, but no one takes him seriously (cuz he’s plain looking, yah). AND every time he tries to wreak havoc, another monster shows up, stole his spotlight and out of frustration, he ends up killing the monster and got praised by the people. or an AU Where Saitama is supposedly a villain, but end up doing heroic deeds instead. 


rp pet peeve ; when writing with a villain, one continues to poke the bear but once said villain retaliates, other’s grow upset or perturbed.

always remember ; if you choose poke the bear, you will get bitten. 

VILLAINS are not punching bags, they are opposition that pose a TRUE & REAL THREAT. antagonize one & you incur the wrath. do not smite the writer for their chosen direction as they are simply reacting as their muse commands. ( & believe me, if you’re writing a villain, the muse is in control ). villains are not teddy bears. villains are complex, multi-faceted. perhaps they react in one way to one & differently to another. bonds are formed different. villains can sometimes be unhinged mentally where reasoning is skewed or twisted. they are not to be underwritten as little puppies with attitude issues. they are rabid dog most tend to shy away from. they don’t need a little love or a sprinkle of fairy dust to feel better, to be good. some villains don’t want to be redeemed. some villains don’t want emotional connection. many are selfish & if an emotional connection is sought after the villain will usually ( ALWAYS ) put themselves first. always talk to the mun, get a feel for the muse, get to know the limits - what lines to cross, what lines to avoid like the plague. 

mynamesdrstuff asked:

In your opinion, what makes a good villain?

  1. The ability to actually do evil deeds.  None of this ‘oh, he’s evil’ 'why’ 'because of all his evilness!’ stuff.  Actual, concrete, bad deeds.
  2. Some frakin responsibility.  If her evil deeds are more easily ascribed to a large government, you don’t have a villain, you have a figurehead.
  3. Put a personal spin on things.  Appeal to the pain and fears of your readers.  If all he does is kill masses of faceless people who all live…over somewhere off-page, who cares?  I know that sounds callus, but it’s true.  Their evil needs to be an immediate presence, not a checklist.  They can still murder masses, that’s fine, but put something personal into the act.  Kick the hero’s puppy along the way, raze her hometown to the ground, cancel Quidditch, something.  The most memorable villains in literature are those that committed some small, personal, targeted act of aggression.  The ones that just sit around 'being evil’ are a dime a dozen.
  4. If you want to have a 'big’ bad, consider letting her be bland (I mean, c'mon, dictators exist) and leave her in the background.  That’s fine.  Bring in the plucky evil lieutenant who just started last week and has an evil-boner for destroying the heroes and proving herself.  The main antagonist of the story is the person directly opposing your protagonist, not necessarily the most evil baddie in the room.

Literally everything else is just being a good character.  Everything that goes into making a good protagonist will go into making a good antagonist.  But the 'evil’ part of 'evildoer’ needs to be…you know, evil.

Writing Tip February 17th

A great villain can sometimes be the difference between a novel that is good and a novel that is great. Here are some questions you can ask yourself in creating that great villain:

  • How evil is your villain? Knowing how far this character is willing to go is crucial. Will your villain stab your protagonist in the back through vicious gossip and manipulation, or is your villain willing to literally go around stabbing people in the back? It is important to establish these limits early on so that you can set reader expectations. For example, if a sibling rivalry is going to turn deadly later in your book, you need to establish early on that the murderous sibling is capable of such an act. How far your villain is willing to go also needs to be consistent with the type of book you are writing. For example, a grisly torture scene does not belong in a cosy mystery novel.
  • What does your villain want? This is a question you should always ask of your protagonist, but you should ask it about your villain as well. You should also know what your villain is most afraid of. Understanding your villain’s most important desire and deepest fear will give you both the character’s motivation and major weakness.
  • Is your villain well-matched with your protagonist? The reader should get a sense that the villain is very difficult but not impossible to defeat. A villain that is too weak in comparison to the protagonist will rob the story of suspense. A villain that is too strong will stretch the limits of credulity. Another thing you may want to consider is the relationship between the protagonist and the villain. The conflict between the two may be strengthened if there is a strong connection between the two such as family, former friends or something similar.
  • How does your villain see himself or herself? Keep in mind that even the worst people rarely see themselves as the villains of any particular story. Instead, they will tend to go to a great deal of trouble to justify and excuse their actions and to paint themselves as the hero of the story or at least as misunderstood. Think about your villain’s point of view and keep in mind that while it doesn’t have to be a point of view that makes sense to you, it does need to make sense to the villain.Has your villain always been a villain? A character who once fought on the side of good but who has turned to the other side due to disillusionment, trauma, temptation by things the other side has to offer or for other compelling reasons can be particularly interesting.
  • When is your villain not a villain? Just as villains rarely think of themselves as evil, few villains lack any redeeming qualities whatsoever. Does your villain love his mother or find herself unable to pass a stray animal without offering it something to eat? Perhaps your villain never does anything nice for a single living thing, but you should still consider how you might make that villain more unexpectedly human such as giving the character a weakness for ice cream cones, a certain type of sentimental music or another unexpected quirk.How transparent is your villain to others? Do the other characters know this person is evil and working against their best interests, or are they being deceived? Is your villain a well-rounded character? All the work you do to develop other characters needs to be done to develop your villain as well. In addition to knowing your character’s fears and desires, what is your villain’s background? Where did the character grow up and in what kind of environment? What is the villain’s speech like? Is there anything important in your character’s past? You may not need to share all of this information with your readers, but you’ll want to keep these points in mind for your own purposes.
  • Is the villain overshadowing the protagonist? If you have done a great job of developing your villain, there is one more pitfall to watch out for: is your villain more interesting than your protagonist? Sometimes, even the most evil of villains can bring out a kind of glee in audiences while the protagonist begins to seem ever more dour and devoid of fun. How attractive or unattractive you want your villain to be will depend on the story that you are telling, but make sure your villain is not the most compelling character in the book.

Now Novel

anonymous asked:

Are there any other reasons for a villain to "destroy the earth?" Cause reasons like "to start a new" and "revenge!" is just so boring to me.

Plenty. Before I start though, I’m going to point out, “destroy the earth” is a very cheap narrative device. It’s an attempt to generate tension with the reader by saying, “hey, you live on Earth, you care about living, hey, I’m going to try to make you care by blowing up something you know.” This also runs under the surface of the “New York/Paris/Wherever gets blown up,” and “terrorists will detonate a nuclear weapon,” narrative.

That said, you can uses them. 24 managed to crank out 9 or 10 seasons of threatening to blow up cities or otherwise annihilate western civilization on a remarkably short schedule. But it is a cheap device, and it’s entirely possible to lose your readers on this.

Blowing the place up is probably more interesting than the threat to do so, and can catch your readers off balance. “Of course your heroes are going to save the day, that’s what they… oh…” Just make sure you’ve got someplace to go, once you cross that line.

So, here’s some random reasons:

It was in the way: This might be to create the Douglas Adams Memorial Hyperspace Overpass, or it could be someone just wants to shatter the planet, so the mineral wealth is easier to mine in an asteroid field. It could be the planet is in the path of an interstellar super weapon.

An Accident: This could be your villain is just that bumbling, however it could also be that they really don’t care.

The aliens in Roadside Picnic come to mind as an example of the latter, along with nearly all of the aliens in Lovecraft’s Cthulhu mythos. These are beings which barely even perceive humans, or view the as stray pests.

This is also possible as an unintended outcome of some technological development. For example, during the Manhattan Project there was reportedly a fear that detonating a nuclear device inside the atmosphere would result in a chain reaction, burning off the atmosphere.

A similar possibility would be the danger of an engineered bio-weapon getting into the wild and annihilating the population.

Prophesied: I’m throwing this one in here because it’s legitimate, but I’m going to start with a warning: Writing prophecies can be very tricky. They run the real risk of being horribly cliche in their own right. As a writer it can be very tempting to say, “well, yeah, that’s how it will play out,” because you’re the one controlling the future of your setting.

With that in mind, it’s entirely possible to have someone who is trying to destroy the world because they want to summon some apocalyptic horror, or usher in a new golden age for their sect in the aftermath. This could be real, or they could be cribbing off a 300 year old fast food menu, and drawing their conclusions on how to bring about a new era that way.

We Can’t Let The Reds Win:

Scorched Earth is adult version of saying, “if I can’t have it, no one can.” It’s entirely possible to have a villain who would rather see the world burn than in the hands of your heroes, or some third faction.

This could be some variation of WWIII, or it could be a lone crazy falsifying a nuclear retaliation when none is called for.

An Object Lesson: As with prophecies, this one can be tricky to handle. But, if your villain is threatening to blow up the planet to ensure fealty, sometimes it’s just going to be more efficient to get it over with.

If you’re a comically exaggerated super villain: Stop telling me how you’re going to blow up the planet to “send a message” and just do it.

Obviously, you can mix and match these as you see fit. They’re not mutually exclusive. You can have a mix of the above in play. This also certainly isn’t a comprehensive list, so you don’t need to feel constrained by the examples above.

Your villain wants to destroy the world, obviously they feel they’re getting something out of it. You just need to ask yourself, “what is it?”


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A Good Villain

Trying to keep your villains from being too two dimensional?

Here are five tips for trying to write a good villain:

Your villain is a person too: A good villain needs to be relatable, and they need to have a good backstory. You want your readers to be able to synthesize with the villain in your story, but not enough to agree with what they’re doing. It should be clear why they have their “evil plot”, but it should still be portrayed as a negative thing that was brought on by their backstory.

A hero of a different story: When you’re writing for a villain, you need to be able to see things the way they see things. A villain always sees themselves as the hero of the story. Villains are rarely 100% evil. They way they see things needs to be a skewed version of reality, twisted to fit their cause.

A good Match: Your villain should match your protagonist at least enough to make a good story. It’s important that you don’t give them the same characteristics. If your hero is physically strong, make your villain’s mind stronger.

Give him a personal connection to your hero: You want your protagonist and antagonist to connect on a certain level. You could have them start off working together, or if you want to be cheesy about it, make them long lost siblings separated at birth. (That was a joke. Don’t actually do that.)

Give them an actual plan: Your villain has to have some motivation. Why would you make a villain who doesn’t have a reason for his evil plan? Give them a good background. Have them seek revenge, a better life, a better world, or a way to save someone they care about.

My favorite type of villain is the one that wants to be evil, and is evil, but then they find a reason to not be, and they spend the entire movie hating the fact that they’re slowly softening, trying to prove that they’re super villainous.

But they’ve found something to love, and the unselfish want is eating away at them.

What I love more is the hero that, witnessing their identity crisis, tries to do everything in their power to get their villain back. And, very slowly, turns into the villain themselves.

Dear god, give me more true villains becoming heroes and true heroes becoming villains. 

anonymous asked:

Any tips for making an attractive villain? Someone you know is evil, but makes you feel tempted to serve him all the same?

  • Make him nice. There is a difference between being a villain and being wantonly cruel.  He can be charming, polite, and attentive to the needs of those around him while still wanting to enslave all of humanity.
  • Give her a real goal.  Some villains are Voldemort: they’re just gonna burn shit down because they’re angry and anyone with half a brain would look at them go “you got more issues than a magazine stand.”  And then some villains are actually trying to accomplish something.  Something real, mind you, not just “take over the world.”  She should have articulate goals and an actual plan for accomplishing them.  They should be noble or semi-noble goals, and her villain-i-tude should come from her methods rather than her end game.  Enslaving the world for shits and giggles (or because your boyfriend dumped you) is not attractive, but establishing draconian martial law because she thinks crime is out of control, that’s a different matter.  
  • Make him passionate.  There is nothing more attractive in this world than passion, and that goes for the bad guys as well as the good guys.  Goes hand in hand with the point above.  There should be some sore of *positive* passion to the character.  Something that is more than just a reaction, more than just “the world was mean to me so I’m going to be mean back.”  They should be excited about what they’re doing, and they should be eager to get others to their side because of how much they believe in it.  (If it goes along with their character, making them eloquent really doesn’t hurt here.)
  • Make her human. People will follow flat “paradigm of good” figures because, well, being “good” is usually convincing enough.  To get someone to follow evil, you have to make it personal by putting a relatable, squishy-human face on it.  (I’m talking about in-story, character-to-character.  As a writer, you should strive to make every character real to your audience.)  The CEO of Evil Corps should present herself as open, friendly, and personable.  Preferably because she actually is, at least to some extent.  She should let others see her passion and see her faults (or, at least, enough faults to make people like her) and see her struggle.  If her underlings identify her as a real person rather than some distant evil overlord, they’re going to feel connected to her, and they’re going to feel more invested in everything she does.

As for villains, I look for connections to the heroes, something that in essence makes the villain a dark mirror of the hero. If Batman is order than Joker is chaos. If Superman is strength, Lex Luthor is intellect. So I’m always looking for what it is that connects the villain and the hero; it doesn’t have to be a history, although obviously a backstory that connects them like Demona and Goliath is fantastic. It doesn’t have to be history but it has to be some, even metaphorical connection that makes the villain a good opponent.

Then the thing about characters, particularly Xanatos or Vandal Savage, Queen Bee definitely, and Demona; one of the things that I got tired of was stupid villains.I’m tired of villains who literally think “I’m the villain”, no one thinks that. Hitler didn’t think he was the villain, he never thought that for a second. He really was, but he never thought that so I don’t like that. But I also don’t like, I’m tired of, it’s not like there aren’t dumb bad guys out there, there are plenty of them in real life. But I was tired of, from a fictional standpoint, of villains who in essence defeated themselves. Or when villains teamed up, one of the things that Brandon and I talked about at the very beginning of “Young Justice” is, we didn’t want bad guys to be defeated because they were infighting. We didn’t want a secret society of supervillains who, in essence, sabotaged themselves so all the heroes had to do was survive for twenty minutes because in the last three minutes you knew those villains were going to betray each other or get pissed off at each other and blow it. So one of the things we decided about the Light right off the bat was that Vandal, Ra’s al Ghul, Lex Luthor, Queen Bee, Ocean Master, Klarion, and Brain, that they got along. They each had their own individual goals but they had a common interest that was important enough to them that they would make allowances for their different points of view on certain issues but they would pull together as a coherent and cohesive unit to further their larger goals.

And the other thing that sort of bugs me about villains is I’m tired of petty villains. I don’t mind it so much if it’s a minor villain, like someone who’s working for the big bad guy, but the big bad guy who’s got his eye on the big picture, that notion of that guy who, when a flunky screws up he pushes him off a cliff, I’m so tired of that because what a waste of the resource. So one of the things we did, definitely with Vandal Savage, but this goes back to Xanatos more than Demona because Demona really did want to kill everybody, but one of the things about Xanatos was that he wasn’t wasteful. I was tired of wasteful villains so from Xanatos’s point of view, he didn’t set out to kill the gargoyles unless they were literally in his way for some specific goal of his, but in general he had no interest in revenge, he’s got a line where he says “revenge is a sucker’s game.” He had no interest in any of that because the gargoyles might prove useful later. And that was the same attitude that we had Vandal Savage take towards the team. People kept asking me “well if Vandal Savage knows Superman and Batman’s secret identities, why isn’t he just killing them?” Why would he want to? Look what he’s accomplished with them around. Look how he’s used them. He doesn’t need to kill the team, he doesn’t need to do that. He needs to thwart them in one manner or another, but killing them is a waste of a resource because from Vandal’s point of view, from David Xanatos’s point of view, everything is a resource. If you’re that smart, and your goals are that large, everything is a resource and you don’t waste it unless you absolutely need to.

—  Greg Weisman
FightWrite: Respect Your Adversaries

Remember the bad guys on those shows you used to watch on Saturday mornings? Well, these guys are not like those guys. They won’t exercise restraint because you’re children. They will kill you if they get the chance. Do not give them that chance.

Helen Parr, The Incredibles

There are a lot of quotes I’ll pull from for writing about combat. However, when I think about adversaries this is one from Helen Parr is the one I always come back to. It emphasizes a critical failing that most writers have in the initial setups with their villains, with their mooks, with enemies in general. They spend so much time thinking about the fight with the bad guy that they forget about the bad guys. They forget that whatever conventional rules or moral truths their hero clings to, their bad guy doesn’t have to share. They won’t play nice, they won’t pull punches, and they play by a completely different set of rules.

They will kill you if they get the chance.

Who are your characters adversaries? What do they do? What is their history? A character that has spent their life working as a mercenary and guerilla fighter for African warlords, poaching and running illegal goods is going to be on a very different and darker level than a teen practicing aikido and karate. They live their life with much higher stakes and are likely to respond accordingly. If you’re writing and this conflict set up is just to show that your protagonist is a bad ass, if you take this one on one fight like these characters exist in similar worlds then the scene really does have a problem. (Other than the fact the protagonist probably just opened the door to be greeted by a jury-rigged claymore. Boom.)

All combat histories are not the same, context changes everything. If you want the reader to take your story seriously, then you should take your antagonists seriously. Don’t be afraid to call your protagonist out for their overconfidence. Don’t be afraid to call them out on their protected status. This is especially true when writing about teens and other children facing adult enemies. If your teen has not lived a violent life (or even a violent but protected life) and is out on their own for the first time, they will discover the world they thought they had a grasp on is entirely different. Teens are always in a transitional stage, they are moving into adulthood, they are growing up but not there yet. Respect that they don’t know everything there is to know (even if they think they do), respect that they’re status has been protected by some other force as they grew through childhood and now they’re fair game. If they fuck up, they’re going to have to get themselves out of it and the cost of screwing around can no longer be bartered off to anyone else. Innocence is on the chopping block.

My favorite part about the Helen Parr quote is that it is not about Syndrome, it’s about his minions. The guys we laugh at in superhero movies, the duds, the screw ups, the window dressing, the guys the main characters never really have to worry about. Now, now they have to worry about them. Pixar wasn’t afraid to show us how fragile Dash was when after all his punches to one of the bad guy; it just takes one to knock him off the flyer. It wasn’t afraid to point out that when Violet thought she could disappear into the water and hide, the mook could problem solve by throwing dirt in the water to show her outline. Even though the kids did win, it was made clear that we shouldn’t take these characters lightly. They weren’t people who could be easily beaten by average children and that’s part of what made Violet and Dash’s victories sweeter as they grew into heroes.

If there are enemies in your novel who are dangerous, then they are dangerous for a reason. Pay your respects to these characters by making your protagonists way past them hard. Don’t cheapen the journey by making things easy or the fight one sided. Stack the deck against your heroes and let them find their own way through the darkness.


anonymous asked:

While waiting for my order "Beyond the Red" to arrive, was wondering if you could give me any advice to organizing plot and character structure?

Sure thing! I’ve actually written quite a bit about plot, and done a couple vlogs you might find helpful. Such as: 

I’ve also got a *ton* of posts on character development on my blog:

That was…actually way more than I thought. But at any rate, hopefully you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for in there. 

Good luck with your writing! :) 

The Best Kind of Villain to Write

And Why it’s the Least Popular

AKA Humanityinahandbag Gives Writing Advice… Again… (and why I’m totally not qualified to)

Someone asked me how to write villains. And I was going to go on a whole rant on how to create the traditional “bad-guy”. What elements are needed to form together a classic body of evil that we’ve all come to know and love. Whether its Disney or Pixar, we can all point to a screen and name our most favorite of antagonists that we simply love to hate.

And maybe one day I will write about them. Because, believe me, they are fun to put down onto a page.

But right now I’m going to talk about one that isn’t as talked about, but is, in my opinion, the most superior of the villain tropes. 

And that is what I like to call the Tragic Shaw.

Keep reading


I get it; villains are incredibly difficult people to write. They’re unlikable by nature; but let’s face it, no-one likes a villain that slyly wrings their hands together as they laugh maniacally in a corner. So, here are five tips to writing a good villain.

Treat villains as you would the hero in the planning stages. When you’re sitting down to write a story, original or not, it’s a good idea to plan your characters before you start writing. Simple I know, but figuring out your characters before you drop them into a story is really and truthfully worth it. Why? Well, a story draws out the most prominent features in your character’s natures. You drop them into a plot and suddenly they’re being dragged all over the shop. For the hero, good aspects are displayed; for villains, we see the negativity. Looking at characters objectively is a great way to make sure that all characters are well-developed.                                                                          Think of it like this: you have two people. Both of them have a personality. Both of them have strengths and flaws. Both of them have goals and dreams and ideas on how the world should work. These things are not what makes a person ‘evil’. Your villain could love the people they’re close with and want good for the world. Your hero can be selfish and rude. What makes a person ‘bad’ is the actions they take and the perspective those actions are seen from and until you give these characters that story then there should be no difference in character planning between the villain and the hero.

Avoid the Mr. Bad-Man villain. Well, not always. In the right circumstances, more conventionally ‘dangerous’ villains can be scary. I’d put Count Olaf from A Series of Unfortunate Events in this category. Ol’ Olaf works in this case because everyone, except for the Baudeliare children and the author, is dreadfully stupid. And on top of that, Count Olaf has a troupe of equally evil henchmen that do his bidding without question. He’s manipulative and scary and completely obvious, yet he gets away with it because he’s an adult and he can!                                                                                                                 This may be what you want for your antagonist, and if so then that’s okay. But a great majority of people are looking for a baddie with a little more depth. What you don’t want is someone that is evil for evil’s sake.                                   Alfred Hitchcock once said this: ‘In the old days villains had moustaches and kicked the dog. Audiences are smarter today. They don’t want their villain to be thrown at them with green limelight on his face. They want an ordinary human being with failings.’ This is what you want to aim for—a human being that has made a poor decision due to a character flaw or personal experience. Why? It’s real. This mistake could have been made by a real person because very, very few people are horrible for the sake of it. Your antagonist could want a number of things, but what about them makes them choose to obtain their goal in the way they do? This has to do entirely with cause and effect. If you ask yourself “Why does my villain act the way they do?” and your answer is: “Because they can,” then your baddie is not as deep as you’d perhaps like them to be.

Not all antagonists hate the protagonist. An antagonist is someone who causes detrimental effects to the main character and their story. They can be friends, partners, lovers, mentors. Not all bad people appear in smoke-screens as they rise up from the seventh circle of Hell. Sometimes an antagonist is a good person. Don’t be afraid of that. There is no defined ‘Bad Person’ category. It’s subjective and sometimes not terribly detrimental to how a person is. A bad thing can be small; it’s how your main characters react to this problem that makes the story. There is nothing wrong with fickle problems, just as there isn’t anything wrong with large and dramatic ones. It’s how you play out the solution that’s important.

A villain is Any-Man. This is why the idea of a bad-guy is so scary. They’re out there and they look like us. They have things they care about. Separating an antagonist from humanity makes them seem less real. Obviously, there are exceptions—some characters work better when they are beyond all levels of normal humanity. But an antagonist can also be clever. They can know how to talk and appear and appeal to people’s better nature (think Wilson Fisk from Daredevil) and they can use it to blend in and win trust. As a writer, know that dramatic irony is your friend and that you can utilise it as much or as little as you want. Know that you can have a baddie that can go anywhere and pretend to be someone they’re not if that’s what you want of them.

Like your villain. Love them. Laugh when they do something nasty. They are your little buds of evil, and they are yours to use. Be on their side from time to time, think of how they’d love to get their own way, the world or the space they’d like to create. Imagine how excited they are, or how dedicated they must be to their own cause, how many hours and sleepless nights they put into scheming. Or not. Imagine their recklessness, their anger, their sadness. Imagine how they feel when they see something they believe in being destroyed. Imagine how the rush they feel when things are going their way. Do this as much as you do it to the protagonist. And even though you’re only displaying one point of view, remember that there is always more than one side to any story. As an author you have to be aware of that.

On Villains: Some Thoughts

Personally, I love villains. Whether that villain is physically represented as a person, the crushing weight of external circumstances crushing down the hero, or their own internal antagonist pushing them around by their flaws and fears, a good villain is one piece that a story can’t do without.

What is the role of an antagonist?

The role of an antagonist is to create conflict within the story. This is their primary role. If they are not an acting catalyst for conflict in the narrative, then you’ve got a problem. (Your hero should also be creating conflict.)

Make Them Better Than Your Hero:

What is your hero’s goal in life? What is it they want most in the world? Who do they want to be? What do they want to be good at?

Give those traits to your villain.

When your villain is everything that your hero thinks that they want in life you can create great conflict by having them reevaluate those goals. You worry the reader because we know that the villain is a better X, be that a better leader, a better strategist, a better fighter, or a better politician. It gets even better if they fit into and are good at the things the hero is not good at. Your hero may be the greatest swordsman in the world, but he sucks at world play and politics. This may seem like an advantage at first, except that the villain can control all the inner workings of the city and control public opinion. Where the hero is a battering ram, the villain is a spider plucking at their web. The hero must find a way to get to them, but they have to do that without landing their ass in jail.

A great representation of this strategy (when it’s handled right) is Lex Luthor versus Superman. Lex Luthor is the corrupted version of all the ideals Superman has sworn to uphold. Superman can’t just go battering down Luthor’s door and deal out justice, he has to prove that Lex is in the wrong. But, Lex is protected by government officials and public opinion, every time Superman tries to catch him, Lex slips away. The same is also true for Lex, he sees in Superman all the power that he dreams of having. He wants to be the Lex Luthor version of Superman and it gnaws away at him.

Take Them to the Extreme Edge:

Hero: “I want to be free.”

Villain: “I want to be free and the only way I can be is if I enslave everyone else.”

See the difference?

Some antagonists live in extremes and they take it to the furthest edge. A noble goal on it’s own is just a noble goal and it may even be the same goal that the protagonist has. In fact, if your hero is someone who hates the status quo and wants to be free but is forced by the villain to defend it through the virtue of their own ideals then you have some great internal conflict. In the end, your hero and your villain want the same thing but the ways that they go about getting it is what makes all the difference.

Through the Mirror Darkly:

Some of the best villains and hero match ups are drawn from the same place with the added bonus fear that if the author flipped them around that they would each become the other. I always hold up Darth Vader versus Luke Skywalker in the Original Star Wars Trilogy as one of the premiere examples of this theme.  Vader represents Luke’s possible future, he is what Luke could become and what Luke fears he will become. Vader acts as a looming threat in the narrative, not just to the success of the heroes physical, real world goals but also their spiritual ones. As we learn more about Vader, we know that the monster was a man once and that leaves the possibility open that any Force wielder (in this case Luke) could become him. More than that, once we know the truth, we know that Luke will continue to put himself into danger to save Vader and that brings him into orbit of the villain that acted as the catalyst to make Vader what he is. As the narrative evolves between the three movies, what Vader’s role changes in what he represents thematically. However, without him, the narrative would completely fall apart.


me: DC needs to stop turning all their female villains into anti-heroes. It comes across as them saying that women can’t be complex and set in their ways, that they’ll easily bend from their principles and that women must be good and nurturing because they are women. Plus it ignores the fact women can be just as malicious and malevolent and men sometimes


me: ……………………anyways

Villains are hard.

Make them pure evil and people declare them unrealistic and flat.

But give them any kind of depths or emotion? Be prepared for hunks of the fandom to start romanticizing them , demanding they be redeemed, and even hate the heroes for beating them.

I really don’t know what it is. The second a villain shows even a shred of humanity people declare them blameless. While the heroes are often loaded up with double standards–if they’re wholly good they’re boring, preachy, or unbelievable, but the second they have a flaw they’re not a hero anymore. And yet villains have the complete reverse.

I have seen mass murder in the pursuit of a woman who made one mistake when she was ten be justified by the villainess’ hurt feels. I have seen a man screwing over countless lives, murdering his ex wife and many others, and attempting to murder countless others more, justified because he has a kicked puppy look when he’s sad and his end goal was “noble.“ I have seen someone bullying children justified because he was bullied as a child. I have seen Batman made out to be the bad guy for stopping supervillains.

Look at Hans from Frozen: Disney’s most masterful sociopath yet, but tons of people look for ways to redeem him or make him a woobie because he’s cute or they find his backstory to excuse everything or whatever. 

It’s absurd.

Strength in Adversity

On the Knight post last week, Brainstormideas made a pretty good point. It was something I glossed over, because I was “doing the math in my head”, and forgot to really explain the reasoning.

@brainstormideas said: If you’re writing a novel, I think this would be an interesting conflict for the story. What with her challenges with training and fitting in. I would certainly read it. If it was too easy it wouldn’t be an interesting read.

This is absolutely true. Your stories need adversity. Without it, you don’t have a story. At the most basic level, creating adversity is trivial; all you need are elements that make your character’s life harder. That’s easy, hard part is balancing that against what your character can handle, to create a compelling narrative.

When you’re creating the adversity it doesn’t need to actually be a physical opponent. It can be an internal failing; hubris and addiction are both classic examples that can create compelling stories without requiring an external foe.

You, as the writer, control your story’s universe. When someone says, “you can’t do this in your world,” that isn’t strictly true. The hard and fast rules that govern the real world don’t apply. They survive as guidelines. “Paint within these boundaries unless you really know what you’re doing when you cross the line.” But, no one’s going to stop you.

You can throw overwhelming force at your character, and have them come through smiling and spouting witty one-liners. No one (outside of an editor) will stop you. But, that also doesn’t make your hero more awesome, or stronger.

Characters don’t suffer adversity the way real people do. Oh, most writers want them to be as close to authentic as they can get, but that’s not the same.

When a real person gets put through hell and comes out the other side, it’s on them. They suffered, endured, and moved beyond it to survive. When a character gets put through hell, they present the illusion of suffering and endurance, but it’s the author who has to move them beyond it. Push too far, and your audience’s suspension of disbelief will break, killing the credibility of everyone below.

Setting the stakes too high, and then wining through authorial fiat is really a loss. Your characters didn’t overcome the challenges you put in front of them; you cheated for them. And, in the process you created another Mary Sue.

Set those stakes to low and you’ll be left with a character that feels overpowered, even if they’re not. They become “giants in the playground,” and even under the best circumstances, your story won’t work unless your characters are picking on someone their own size.

Properly balancing adversity is not easy. You need to present obstacles that look insurmountable, that you can chip away a piece at a time. You need to make sure your characters are prepared for their opposition, without making it look like you tailored them to overcome this specific issue. You need to make it look like it’s still a continual threat even as you close in on your story’s climax.

If your protagonists aren’t supposed to overcome their adversity, just to survive, then you can actually push much stronger adversity at your character. Let me offer an example of how this works, using the Knight question:

If the goal is to present a character who staggers through her training, battered but defiant, then pushing her into training nine years after all of her peers started is actually fine. She’d be somewhere between a pariah and a tourist for her fellow knights. She’d never be fully accepted, but if that’s not the endgame, it doesn’t matter.

You can even do compelling things with her further down the line, where she has the formal recognition, but not the social connections that come with her position.

If your goal is for your hero to overcome, find acceptance among her peers, become a full member of her knightly order in good standing, then starting her nine years late is a bit too far. Just by being put into consideration by a patron, she’s already going to be marked out by anyone who got their “on their own merits,” even if they were really there because of their own backers.

Just being a teenager provides enough internal adversity to hang a story on it in any setting. You can look at the YA section of nearly any bookstore if you want an example of that.

Having her enter training late will add more tension, even if it’s just a couple years. But, asking her to play catch up for a decade of work is overkill, even if the purpose is just for her to never be fully accepted.

We’ve both see this a lot, even in published work, where the adversity is ramped into the stratosphere on the idea that it will make the characters more badass. When you’re setting up adversity, it is really easy to go too far. Creating a villain that is too competent, stacking the deck too hard against your character, and getting a situation where there is no way your hero can win. If you don’t want your hero to actually win, that’s great.

I don’t think The Empire Strikes Back would work nearly as well, if Luke and Leia cheated a win out of the end. The point isn’t victory, it’s surviving, and in the process, it’s compelling as hell.

But, by the same measure, if you do want your heroes to win, you need to balance your antagonists to allow it without just throwing the whole game.


miraculousftw asked:

Are you ever planning to make a story where a new threat emerges when Aurora is 19 and she has to help her parents fight, sort of like a Dragonball Z thing. I noticed that between Aurora's birth and her being 19 that it has been a time of peace.

The main reason why a lot of the comics and stories I do don’t really involve any baddies is not because I want everything to be sunshine and rainbows all the time, but that I personally struggle with making villains or story arcs that are not really uh.. messed up.

Whenever I do start to write up a villain or nemesis or battle it’s always really REALLY dark and/or scary, and it’s so different from what I post online and share with the public that I think it might come off as a bit too much? It’s not a side of me that I share with many other people and whenever I do I guess it’s kind of unsettling. I’ve even had people telling me that HHNF makes them uncomfortable with how dark/sad it is and it hasn’t even gotten nearly as bad as it’s going to get. 

I like to draw fun lighthearted things but I also write really really dark stories too, but I don’t share those often or at all. 

It is something I am trying to get better at doing though. Finding that balance of a villain who is menacing but is also someone who can be likable by an audience and still capture the lightheartedness that is the Sonic franchise. I’ve been formulating a few new characters in my head lately for possible antagonists, so we’ll see how that goes.