23 January 2014

Villains: Quirks

One of the first things I remember learning about writing villains, is that they should have some sort of quirk. A trait that us “normal, non-bad-guy” people can relate to.

A man can be the most despicable creature on the planet until he picks up a kitten and cuddles it to his neck. Or a woman who will cut all of your limbs off if she needs to, but will also buy books for kids at underprivileged schools.

Or the villain could have a taste that you share with him or her. Chocolate, for instance. Or fine wine. Or BBQ. Whatever it is, it should be simple and identifiable.

The reason behind this is, if I understand it right, that it makes them real. Evil isn’t pure. No one can be purely bad. Especially in a story, that usually makes for a dull villain. So writers will make their villains more human by giving them one of these quirks.

Naturally, since I’m sitting here staring at this blank screen, I can’t think of a single example. Seriously, coming up blank.

What about you guys? What villain has a quirk that you noticed or liked?

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