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Do you create Villains differently?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Darkfantasy, Dec 20, 2019.

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  1. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    FifthViewFifthView, think of Jamie and Cersei from ASOIAF. They were absolutely villains in the first books until we saw their POVs in the later ones.... their POVs were still pretty twisted, but it was enough to develop a sense of complexity to them, so that "hero of their own story" thing kind of applies. That's why I think, the more complex the villains, the more it requires them to have a POV for that to come across. And that one question, does your villain get a POV?, is a big one that really shapes the nature of the whole book on its own. It's got to be the kind of story you want to tell after all.
     
  2. The Dark One

    The Dark One Auror

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    That's not what I meant by real life crappy. There's a million books about Hitler for a start, and if you could ask him, I'll bet Manson thought he was doing the right thing.
     
  3. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    He's just one of the crappiest people I knew of who had a story written about him. I didn't use Hitler because you're right, he had an ideology and probably saw himself as rightful for his country and race. Mansion, on the other hand, knew he was rotten and twisted and doing the Devil's work, and he even admitted to becoming "everything he's accused of being" and committing several heinous crime simply because he didn't have anything to lose.
     
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  4. FifthView

    FifthView Istar

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    I'm not certain I agree 100%. I do think having POV sections for the villain can help smooth things for a reader. But you could probably pull off a Watson sort of character, i.e. POV chapters from the villain's henchman, relative, childhood friend, whatever—maybe a combination of these—to give lots of insight into the villain.

    We go about our entire lives never living in the heads of others, but we can still develop strong impressions and insights about others simply by viewing their behavior and various aspects of their lives. I'm afraid this is almost a lost art in genre fiction, where the go-to easy way is simply to give a character a POV and dive deep into their head. Alas.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2020
  5. Darkfantasy

    Darkfantasy Inkling

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    I'm doing this. The book is from the POV of the Villain's daughter. We never go into the head of the villain just view her through her daughter. Not as easy as it sounds, maybe that's why people like to do the POV for the villains.
     
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  6. Alex Reiden

    Alex Reiden Minstrel

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    Viewing a villain from the outside looking in provides a closer look at a familiar sketch, and generally makes it easier to still hate them, especially for the more grey characters. Sometimes this is beneficial, though it does come with its own brand of challenges, since you effectively have to evaluate the dispositions of two characters, and one through the lens of the other. It can become confusing to the reader if you're not clear which are the beliefs of the subject, and which are the beliefs of the observer. Then again, this can also be a benefit, particularly for hiding plot twists -- or just to make the reader speculate.

    To be honest, I generally include some POV scenes for the antagonists, which do help my readers understand them and can enrich the story, but the real reason isn't because it's easier. It's because they are damn fun to write! ;)
     
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