I love talking about villains. It’s often a major productivity issue in my projects. I probably spend more time on villains than I should. They’re fascinating. It’s easy to make a solid hero, we can understand why someone would want to be good and why we’d enjoy spending time with them in a game or story. But a villain? That’s like literary antimatter. Creating a believable villain that’s fun to be around, one you can understand but still want to destroy? That’s a strange new substance of the human spirit.
Why do you think people love watching shows about serial killers, all about getting into the mind of the monster? We’re fascinated by monsters. When the world doesn’t offer up enough horrors to satisfy us, we dream them ourselves. Dragons, demons, vampires, the list goes on and on. Then we discovered space, the structure of the universe, and aliens expanded our options.
But the most terrifying monsters, the most fascinating, are closer to home. The darkness that can push a human over the edge. Anyone can die… But to lose yourself and become a monster, that’s a terrifying, fascinating source of drama. Like staring into the abyss, knowing you could teeter in if you don’t hold on tight.
I feel that holding on is what makes a hero. And a hero is often measured by the villains she defeats, the challenges she overcomes.
So let’s make some great ones.