Sep 01 2008

Don’t Make Your Villains Unnecessarily Evil

Published by at 11:57 pm under Character Development,Writing Articles

Many villains do gratuitously bad stuff to remind us that they’re EVIL. For example, the nerdy antagonist in Live Free or Die Hard coldly executes his hackers even though there’s surely enough money to go around (ahem… hundreds of billions of dollars). Not only was it unnecessary for him to kill the hackers, but it was also out of character (he didn’t seem otherwise psychopathic). There’s no reason he should have been that evil– it didn’t gel with his main objective, which was to show his old agency that it was wrong to cast him aside.

Authors usually write their villains as gratuitously evil to make them badass. That rarely works. Except for Dark Knight’s Joker*, superevil villains are rarely as badass as their more restrained peers (such as Darth Vader, Dr. Octopus, Naomi Novik’s Napoleon and Dr. Doom). Why are superevil villains insufficently badass? A villain that feels more evil than his plot requires is probably cartoonish. In contrast, a badass villain is almost always serious and sober.

*In case you’re interested, I argue below the jump that the DK Joker isn’t unnecessarily evil.

Joker is cartoonishly evil, but in the context of Dark Knight, his evil usually isn’t unnecessary. His objectives and plans cannot be separated from his psychopathy. That said, I’m not sure that he really had to kill the black gang-leader.

102 responses so far

102 Responses to “Don’t Make Your Villains Unnecessarily Evil”

  1. daveon 02 Sep 2008 at 8:01 am

    i sort of agree with you, but i really think you should read this post at io9 that disagrees:

    http://io9.com/5039185/why-we-deserve-better-villains–and-how-to-get-them

  2. B. Macon 02 Sep 2008 at 10:56 am

    Thank you for the article, but I’d like to contest its argument that Darth Vader loses something because he turns on the Emperor at the end. I think that his redemption works because he’s consistently an honorable character that doesn’t seem much like an imperial lackey. His main goal seems to be bringing order to the universe, rather than generically evil megalomania. “We can rule the galaxy as father and son,” I think he said. Also, the manner in which he throws the Emperor into the reactor is so thoroughly mind-blowing that it still puts a smile on my face.

    I like Season 1 Sylar as well, but that’s only because he had a few great lines and looks startlingly like me.

  3. Bretton 26 Sep 2008 at 3:57 pm

    Suppose a villain is not so much a person gone corrupt, but more of a elemental force of pure evil? (see Sauron, Morgoth, and Darkseid) Since he can’t have audience-sympthizable goal, should I go the route of bada**ery? How can I prevent him from being “unneccesarily evil”? Do you reccommend another way for me to approach this?

  4. B. Macon 26 Sep 2008 at 4:44 pm

    Hmm. That’s a good question… you’re right that audiences will not sympathize with a purely destructive villain. A few select movies, like Godzilla and Independence Day, were able to turn villainous acts into applause-moments for the audience (when the White House blew up, the theater went crazy). But I’ve never seen a book accomplish that. So, if you can’t make us sympathize with the villain, making him badass is your best option.

    I would recommend giving the character interesting abilities, and above all style, intelligence and flair. We won’t respect his goals, but it might be enough for us to respect his competence. It worked for the Dark Knight’s Joker and a few others.

    However, I would caution you that a purely evil villain pretty much has to be badass or he will be a joke. But badassery is unreliable. If the villain falls flat, you’re stuck with a poor man’s Emperor Palpatine (like Eragon’s Galbatorix or John Travolta in Battlefield Earth).

  5. Bretton 27 Sep 2008 at 5:50 am

    Is that why purely evil villains so often have “lessers” (like Saruman or Kallibak)?

  6. B. Macon 27 Sep 2008 at 8:53 am

    I think that’s a good point. Henchmen can sometimes put a human face on an organization, and that’s most important when the villain is too unrelatable or uninteresting to get much screen time. For example, Galactacus didn’t do very much interesting in the second Fantastic Four movie, so it was logical for most the film to use the Silver Surfer as the most visible antagonist. Saruman and the Nazgul definitely served a similar role in the LOTR movies.

  7. Bretton 27 Oct 2008 at 7:29 am

    What sounds best (and most threatening)?

    Malivoth
    Mordivath
    Mordivoth

    I’m leaning toward the last two.

  8. B. Macon 27 Oct 2008 at 8:03 am

    I like Mordivoth. The “oth” sound is unusual and threatening. However, the v may be a little bit awkward before the oth. Do you like Mordigroth?

  9. Bretton 27 Oct 2008 at 8:10 am

    I think Mordigroth might be too easily conused with Morgoth from the Simarillion. How about Mordikoth, Mordizoth or Mordinoth for a stronger consonant to replace the v?

  10. B. Macon 27 Oct 2008 at 8:34 am

    Ah, I wasn’t familiar with that character. OK.

    Koth, zoth and noth are probably a bit too back-loaded and may make readers feel like they’re lisping on the TH. In contrast, I think groth emphasizes the GR. Instead of changing the back end, another possibility is tweaking the first syllable. What would you think about Ordigroth or Bordigroth?

  11. Bretton 27 Oct 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Vordigroth?

    Valigroth?

    I think these will sound more sinister. Your thoughts?

  12. B. Macon 27 Oct 2008 at 8:15 pm

    Vordigroth seems a bit over the top, but I like Valigroth. Val is such an unconventional syllable for a villain, though. That could be a good thing depending on the impression you want to give. For example, our main supervillain is named Jacob Mallow, without a super name or anything like that because we want him to seem very lowkey. (Also, for reasons not clear to me, one of our contributors started using that as his pen name).

  13. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 5:40 am

    This comment is related to my comment on “How to Name Your Character– Superheroes and Otherwise”, but I decided to place it here so as not to overwhelm.

    Unlike the dragons, who will not appear until quite a bit later, I have a more recent villain team that will appear around the time the whole royalty fiasco occurs. What happens is that Indarel (Alex’s rival) conspires with Valshion (corrupt politician secretly in league with the dark forces) to have Alex kidnapped a la Count of Monte Cristo. The villain team that Valigroth sends to capture Alex is as follows:

    Their team name is The Neverstars, a play on Everstars because they originated as Valigroth’s response to Everstar Academy.

    Torrent– The team leader. His power is the manipulation of liquids. I gradually reveal that he has a secret origin. Torrent reveals that HE is actually a SHE disguising her voice. Furthermore, this she is one that Alex knows very well, Kallisto Adelheid, a girl he ignored since kindergarten and brutally rejected in seventh grade. When she was approached with the “opportunity” to join the Neverstars, she did so without regret because she was an only child and an orphan and had nothing else to live for, only a burning desire for revenge. (Ironically, Valigroth had her parents killed to increase the chances of her accepting.)

    She seeks this revenge, but her “lord” has not allowed her to kill Alex, merely to torture him. However, after seeing him in person, she is conflicted with new feelings for him, asking Alex to join her (and Valigroth, who wants Alex’s power on his side anyway.) Alex rejects her again because of his pride, and because of his self-righteousness. Alex tries to escape, and nearly succeeds, but his path of escape is blocked by Kallisto, whom he fights. Unfortunately, Kallisto’s power exploits Alex’s weakness, and Alex does not fare well in the battle and needs Amorelia (who he recently ticked off) to help him win.

    Rockslide–she manipulates sand and gravel. Known for her recklessness. Second in command of the Ravagers.

    Blackmire– Intelligent and cuttingly sarcastic. Hh can become an oily black substance that can shapeshift and absorb sonic attacks.

    Eclipse–she blocks and absorbs light, can become invisible/intangible, fires “black light” beams. Personal aide and confidant to Torrent. (sterotypical “girlfriend”)

    Gravity/Levity–She has a split personality (gravely serious/playful and carefree). Has gravitational powers.

    Void–He always seems depressed and has a very sedate personality. Seems almost happy when inflicting pain on others. Has anti-pneumatic powers and can create ultra-powerful suction/anti-suction.

    Heatwave–He is a perpetually angry realist. Removes moisture from objects and creates intense blasts of heat.

    Poleax– she has magnetic powers and is very no-nonsense and by-the-book, even to the point of militarism.

    Mockingbird–can temporarily adopt any power, sometimes with the personality of its owner as a side effect. Because of this, she has lost who she truly is (personality included) and lives only as a mindless vessel of Valigroth. One of the more tragic characters.

    Amp– can manipulate electricity, fast talking, quick witted, mouthy.

    I am considering substantially trimming this team, and if I do, Amp will be the first to go. She is more one-dimensional thatn Sapphira. Of course, aside from Torrent, most of these won’t see too much screen time aside from fights. Possible exceptions are Rockslide and Eclipse. Would you please suggest which and how many of these characters should get the axe?

  14. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 5:49 am

    Here’s my list of possible cuts:

    Amp, Heatwave, Rockslide (make Eclipse # 2), Gravity/Levity (I have a couple other characters with personality disorders, a third might get confusing.), maybe Poleax and/or Blackmire.

    Ideally I’d like to keep Blackmire. His name sounds cool, but that’s not a great justification. I also want to keep Mockingbird because of her tragic past, but will that distract from Torrent’s tragic past?

    If I don’t trash these characters, I’ll probably confine them to minor background roles so they don’t distract readers from the foreground. Or use them as punch/kick fodder for Alex until he gets to the point where he has to fight Torrent.

    Your thoughts?

  15. B. Macon 29 Oct 2008 at 8:08 am

    Let me see if I have this right. Your cast’s villains include:

    • One main villain
    • Indarel, a rival of the hero
    • Valshion, a corrupt politician secretly conspiring with the villain
    • 5 dragons working for the main villain
    • Torrent, a henchwoman whose parents have been murdered by the main villain to encourage her to seek revenge against the hero. Also, she’s masquerading as a guy to avoid that she is really Kallisto, someone who was romantically scorned by the hero in seventh grade.
    • The rest of the Neverstars, another group of henchmen working for the main villain.


    That’s a lot of villains!

    I would recommend paring as many of these as possible. For example, the dragons seem to overlap heavily with the Neverstars. Both are essentially hired muscle. I would recommend cutting one or the other entirely. Personally, I like the dragons better, but you could use 4-5 Neverstars.

    Your plot seems very complex. For example, the succession struggle and rival is one angle, and the traitor adds another layer of depth. I think that both are doable together, although possibly beyond what I’d recommend for an author writing his first novel. However, you seem to have very ambitious goals for your henchmen (the dragons and Neverstars) as well. And the Torrent backstory is intensely complicated. It will probably be very hard to accomplish all of these things simultaneously.

    Hmm. I will offer more thoughts in a few minutes. Food beckons.

  16. B. Macon 29 Oct 2008 at 8:19 am

    OK. There are a lot of Neverstars. At the most basic level of comprehension, for a reader to understand what is going on your story, readers will have to be able to associate each character’s name with his powers, personality, position and his backstory. I think that with this many characters, it might get overwhelming. If I were making a cheat-sheet for a reader, it might look something like this.

    • Torrent. Liquid manipulation. Revenge-driven leader. Romantic scorn. Dead parents.
    • Rockslide. Sand/gravel manipulation. Reckless. Second-in-command.
    • Blackmire. Shapeshifting/oil transformation. Intelligent/sarcastic.
    • Eclipse. Blocks/absorbs light. Invisible/intangible. Black light beams. Torrent’s confidante.
    • Gravity/Levity. Two personalities (serious vs. playful). Gravitational powers.
    • Void. Depressed/sedate. Sadistic. Suction powers.
    • Heatwave. Angry realist. (Could you elaborate what you mean by realist?) Heat-blasts.
    • Poleax. No-nonsense/militaristic. Magnetic powers.
    • Mockingbird. Mimics powers and sometimes personalities. Mindless puppet.
    • Amp. Electric control. Mouthy.

    As I noted above, you have a pretty complex plot. There’s a villain, a traitor, a rival, so I think the henchmen should be as low-maintenance as possible.

    However, in some ways your henchmen are very high-maintenance. For example, Torrent has a tragic backstory (her parents’ murder), a relationship with the hero (as his scorned lover), a deceiving appearance (she’s not really a guy), and superpowers. At the very least, I would recommend simplifying this by taking away the fake-guy angle and the murdered parents backstory. I’m also unsure about the scorned lover angle, because it seems petty to seek revenge (let alone torture someone) over something that happened in seventh grade.

    OK, so that’s one character. Right now, I get the impression that you’re leaning towards having 7-8 Neverstars in all. I know that you probably don’t want to hear this, but I feel very strongly that your book will benefit from cutting it down to 3-4. I like Torrent as the leader, Poleax and your favorites between Blackmire, Amp, and Elipse* for the third and fourth member. There’s just so much going on in your story. Alternately, if you’d like more than 5+ Neverstars, I’d recommend axing the dragons and/or the traitor and/or the rival.

    *If you use Eclipse, I’d recommend paring down her powers. I’d recommend simplifying it to just the ability to bend light and go invisible. Alternately, you could try something like the ability to inflict blindness for a simple-but-effective combat ability.

  17. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 8:47 am

    I see your point, but you misunderstand. I don’t mean to chuck all these villains into one book. The way I work my books is that there are three books in one volume. Indarel appears in book 2 and returns. Valshion and the Neverstars won’t appear fully until the 3rd book of volume 1. After that, we probably won’t see these characters again. Indarel and Alex will reconcile. I have plains to kill off Valshion who will reappear later as a full-fledged villain who reawakens the dragons and frees them from their prison only to be killed either by them or by Alex. The Neverstars probably won’t come back. Maybe they will return at the final battle (which technically isn’t final), but its too early to say for sure. The dragons won’t appear until the second sequel volume, which will have three books.

    In the gap between the Neverstars and the Dragons, aka the first sequel, I plan to introduce the recurring villains, the Shadru, as well as the one-shot villain Strife. I have to keep the conflict going. Everything is connected, and don’t worry, I’m not sacrificing character development, quality, or satisfaction of the endings. While the story focuses on one villain, the others will be either temporarily or permanently resolved.

    In case you’re wondering, the Shadru are my take on Vampires, minus the bloodsucking. I would like to discuss them with you after we clear up the Neverstars. Strife is an evil giant that I would also like to discuss with you after we clear up the previous. I know this sounds very ambitious, but I am writing this first book with a saga in mind. (Don’t worry, the conclusion of the first book WILL be satisfying. Ive done several backflips to ensure it.)

  18. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Your thoughts?

  19. B. Macon 29 Oct 2008 at 4:08 pm

    Ah, OK. I think I was confused about the sequel issue. So who are the antagonists in the first book?

  20. Ragged Boyon 29 Oct 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I hate you, Brett (not really) your story is progressing so quickly and I’m still on the first chapter haha. As soon as B.Mac posts the page I need, I’m going to start the novel form of The Hellions.

  21. Ragged Boyon 29 Oct 2008 at 5:22 pm

    Or the Rapscallions (I’m not sure on the name yet)

  22. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 6:02 pm

    Did you mean book one or volume 1?

    Here we go.

    Volume 1, Book 1-

    First Antagonist is Alex’s cousin Karen. They make up.

    Next conflict is Alex adapting to his new surroundings and resolving conflicts with his classmates. This includes the first appearance of the snobby elvish triplets, Whiplash (a thorn in Alex’s side who may be cut from the cast), and Volund Skulk and his gang: The Axe Grinders (Alex gets into a typical high school fight with them).

    Near the end, the greater conflict is introduced and Derivesham the dragon appears as an antagonist only to be killed off. As I now see it, Derivesham will occupy at most three chapters.

    Volume 1, Book 2-

    Focuses on the love triangle between Alex, Amorelia, and Alex’s friend Edmond. Introduces Indarel as Alex’s boyfriend who she breaks up with when he reveals his snobbishness and contempt for Alex the half-breed. He is set up for his later return. Also, Alex may have a brief run-in with Raika, an elf-girl who pretends to like him because she (insert sinister ulterior motive here). Alex is not deceived, although this helps to shape a negative opinion of females. Raika may be axed.

    Volume 1, Book 3-
    Enter the real villains.

    Indarel- Alex’s rival

    Valshion- corrupt politician

    Torrent- vengeful tragedy girl

    The Neverstars- Torrent’s Support group

  23. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 6:11 pm

    Ragged Boy, hating is futile.

    What does your title reference btw? Depending on the meaning you intend, one may be better than the other. Simply by virtue of the fact that it contains the syllable “hell”, Hellions will be much darker in tone. Rapscallions is much lighter by comparison, but they both mean about the same thing. Also, hellion connotes someone doing something bad or wrong, while rapscallion connotes something mischievous, but not necessarily immoral or illegal. It’s like comparing a juvenile delinquent to the harmless kid who just happens to get into trouble.

  24. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 6:16 pm

    Oh, and to answer your realist question from earlier B. Mac, what I meant by realist is that Heatwave will act the most like a real-life criminal. For example, while the others are more apt to follow the time-honored villain tradition of capturing the hero, torturing/elaborate death trapping him, and then having a dramatic final battle, Heatwave will just be like, “Can’t we just kill him already and get it over with? You’re only giving him an opportunity to escape.”

  25. Ragged Boyon 29 Oct 2008 at 6:54 pm

    Hey that was a compliment don’t get all big-headed. Your story is awesome but mine will be equally as awesome. What do you know about my story?

  26. Bretton 29 Oct 2008 at 7:29 pm

    That wasn’t big-headedness, that was an attempt at humor. I appreciate your comment very much, thank you. As for your story, I don’t know much, but I have faith that it will be every bit as awesome as mine. The extent of my knowledge is that your main character, Adarello (later Sketch), starts out as an aspiring graffiti artist only to be rejected by the Raggs, the top graffiti gang. He tries to get back at them and is caught. After his beating, he finds the Animata sketchbook. He originally rejects its tutor, Mr. Mantis. Later, he fights the gang members and realizes they are under the control of the deranged gang leader. The Cyborn moon then appears and destroys everything as Adarello barely escapes. Later introduced characters include a prince named Jornai and a princess? named Mz. Corpse. That’s all I’ve got. What did I miss?

  27. B. Macon 29 Oct 2008 at 8:28 pm

    Hey, keep it friendly, everybody.

  28. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 3:25 am

    Aye sir. I was just having a bit of sport is all. No hard feelings?

    Also, I listed above the condensed volume one villains/antagonists as requested.

  29. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:10 am

    You got Jornai right but Irabella isn’t a princess she’s just a girl with a troubled past

  30. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 5:18 am

    Well, you win some, you lose some.

  31. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:25 am

    I thought it was pretty impressive how much you remembered. As the webmaster, I have better navigational tools, like the ability to search the comments by username so that I can see how a commenter’s story has evolved. Even so, it embarrasses me how often I have to ask “wait, which story are you writing again?” I get so many comments/manuscripts/questions, frequently from multiple people named Anonymous, that it’s hard for me to keep track of basic details. And more confusing elements like continuity changes just completely befuddle me. (“Well, my original plan was to have the main character be the Han Solo, but I said two days ago that I’d just kill Han Solo off and use C-3PO. Didn’t you catch that?”)

  32. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 5:44 am

    Thanks. Btw, do you think I have too many antagonists in the first volume? As you can see, I have tried to distribute them fairly evenly as far as plot goes.

  33. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 6:12 am

    I think it may help your clarity to turn the triplets into twins. It’ll make identifying their lines a bit easier.

    Volunk Skulk and his gang are OK (I’d envision maybe 3-4 named gangmembers?) However, it seems that as antagonists the danger is that they may make your story feel a lot like Harry Potter. It seems that Volunk Skulk resembles Draco, and his gang resembles Crabbe/Goyle.

  34. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 9:59 am

    I have never read Harry Potter, so I am hoping that my ignorance of the subject matter will help differentiate said elements, at least on the subconscious level. However from what I’ve seen of Draco in the movie commercials (blonde haired kid right?) I believe Volund Skulk will be substantially different. He’s not based so much on the schoolyard bully as he is on the stereotypical “black” high school gang member/bully. I believe the characters will be substantially different. (And don’t worry, being black and having met people who fit this stereotype, I know how to write these characters no problem.) Your thoughts?

  35. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 10:35 am

    Hmm. OK, I think an inner city kind of gang would have a substantially different feel than the kind of upper-crust aristocratic gang I was envisioning. I had assumed that if the half-elf prince were getting picked on, it would be because he wasn’t quite as authentically elven as they were, which might feel kind of similar to Draco getting in the face of “halfbloods” and “mudbloods.”

    Also, I’d recommend reading the first book of the Harry Potter series. I felt it was very well-done and demonstrated many more positive precedents for modern fantasy authors than (say) LOTR or Eragon. Its characterization, scenery, twist ending, plotting, style and mass appeal were all commendable. (You might also want to read book 3, too, but the other ones were kind of forgettable).

  36. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 1:09 pm

    Okay, I have some villains I’d like to introduce.

    The Cyborn Moon is a cross between Galactus and the Death Star. It’s actually a factory made of an extinct metal that takes over surrendering planets. I’m not sure what its purpose is yet but I want to keep it. It also searches out and destroys any objects that pose a potential threat to it.

    Master Iggy controls the Cyborn Moon. He is sort of any anti-villain. He doesn’t see himself as evil or bad whatsoever and as an oddly happy disposition. He has no problem killing as long as “it’s for the cause” (his catch phrase). He is a supreme strategist and has a psychic link to the CM. Although he strongly prefers not to engage in physical combat, he is extremely powerful. His three main traits are eccentric, strategic and cynical.

    Gazelle is Iggy’s second in command, although is very detached and prefers not to travel aboard the Cyborn. He is part of an extinct race of aliens with large gaping holes in their chest and fanged lips. He is a mind-manipulator, he can use mind control, telepathy, empathy, induce insanity (in weak minds), fire psionic bolts, as well as use psychokinesis. He loves dark humor and collects artifacts from extinct races and planets. His three main traits are he’s morbid, curious and obnoxious.

    The Mohawk Ladies are Iggy’s personal army of android women. There are many different types of them, but three models are the most common. Lady Combat is a quick and fierce martial artist. Lady Artillery has a multitude of blasters and cannons but is not very fast. Lady Mystic is more analytical and strategic. They all act with the same spiteful, devious personality.

    The Fakes are a type of zombie, if you will, caused by exposure to a rare gas, Acrid. Like the Venom-symbiote, Acrid enhances aggression and hunger to the point of cannibalistic starvation, which is why they attack people. It affects strong-willed people differently, creating an alternate personality that’s the the epitome of their worst qualities or their opposite qualities but isn’t necessarily evil. At one point, the Hellions will get infected and become evil versions of themselves: a dark and debonair artist, a black-haired recluse, and a no-mannered slob with a temper.

    Boss and the Totsies are villains not affiliated with the Cyborn. Like Jabba the Hutt, Boss is fat and gross. His body is a perfect circle and he walks on two stubby legs. He can absorb matter and assume its properties. His two Totsies are scarcely dressed mercenaries. Jezebel is sluttier and stronger. She controls an energy that can tear things apart. Harlot is the tease with the brains. She controls a pink energy that she can mold. Boss’ main goal is to become an intergalactic monopolizer. He already controls a number of planets, including Comet City’s planet. His three main traits are business-savvy, gullible and money-grubbing.

    That’s just a few for now, there are many others but what do you think of these?

  37. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:21 pm

    I posted a long comment on my villians and it hasn’t shown up on the page. What happened? this isn’t the first time this has happened.

  38. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Should I rewrite it or wait becuase it usually shows up later

  39. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:28 pm

    It probably got spam-blocked. I’ll check.

  40. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Yeah, your comment got spam-blocked because it set off our anti-porn filters with the word “sluttier.”

  41. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Oh, also. Volund is not an elf, he’s a giant. His gang will either be composed of giants, or a mix of giants and elves. Also, Volund is of the small minority of giants that are not intelligent. Because of this, he tries to compensate by intimidating his classmates.

    Your thoughts?

  42. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 2:59 pm

    This probably wouldn’t fit in really well with the inner-city gang theme, but another element you could consider is motivating Volund to do bad things by making him more intelligent than the other giants. I think that might be a little bit more unconventional and fresher. Your call, of course.

  43. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Yeah, debonair is right, I was way off haha. Although I could have sworn it was spelt that way, huh.

  44. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 3:15 pm

    OK, now that I’ve cleared up my question about debonair, I removed my note from your comment.

  45. Bretton 30 Oct 2008 at 4:04 pm

    Ragged boy, I love your villain selection. Iggy somehow reminds me of a goofy Moff Tarkin. lol. Also, the Mohawk Ladies remind me of the Killer Bebes. But perhaps I’m over-reminiscing. I would like to know the reason for Iggy’s devotion to the Cyborn Moon though.

  46. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Iggy was a gifted planetary archaeologist who loved artifacts. While digging on a barren planet, he discovered a small sample of a mythical element, Uganum. He fell in love with the metal and its ability to absorb high amounts of energy. He didn’t know that the ore had mind-bending as well as additive properties. As he neared the big find, his mind became more and more twisted until he absolutely needed the metal all for himself. Once he and his colleagues had reached the Uganum trove, Iggy killed his co-workers and seized it all.

    He turned to a number of manufacturers to help him build his dream, but they all refused him. A crime kingpin offered to build it for him, in exchange for all of his relics and artifacts. He reluctantly gave them up. That’s how the Cyborn Moon was built. Under the leadership of the kingpin, Iggy felt it hadn’t achieved its potential. Iggy murdreed the kingpin and seized control of the Cyborn. By this time, his body had developed an immunity to Uganu. He returned to his happy ways, though his mind was still filled with evil thoughts. The CM serves his evil wishes now.

    I haven’t decided on his ultimate goal, I was thinking he wants to recreate the universe in his own image and reach God status. But that’s why he’s devoted to the Cyborn Moon.

  47. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 4:34 pm

    Review on my villian?

    B.Mac

  48. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:05 pm

    When can we expect the beta-review for Superhero Nation? I would much prefer to read a shrunken print-out then read it on the screen, it becomes blinding on the white background after a while.

  49. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I’m kind of crunched for time today. I should be able to get to it tomorrow, just leave a comment to remind me at some point after noon (Gainesville time) on Friday.

  50. Ragged Boyon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:12 pm

    Oh okay, I live in Jacksonville so we’re in the same time-zone.

  51. B. Macon 30 Oct 2008 at 5:21 pm

    Over the course of November, I’ll email every beta-reviewer chapters in Word form. If you’d like to print it out or change the font size or background color, it should be pretty easy to do so. WordPress (which hosts this site) doesn’t handle long posts well. Nor does it easily accommodate book-formatting (like indented paragraphs, line-breaks between paragraphs, etc).

  52. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 30 Oct 2008 at 6:35 pm

    Sign me up for beta reviewing. It may take a while for my reply, but homework and things get in my way. I’ll try to reply within one or two days of receiving the chapter.

  53. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 11:00 am

    I’m not a very fast reader, actually I hardly read at all but I am good at comprehension. So I guess my level would probably represent the random guy that picks a book called “Superhero Nation” and decides “what the hell, let’s read”, but I think I have more insight seeing as I have interest in the story. But, I doubt I’m a better reader than RW and Brett.

  54. Ragged Boyon 31 Oct 2008 at 11:03 am

    Brett, I answered your question above about Iggy and I’m in waiting for a review on my villians. No rush.

  55. Ragged Boyon 01 Nov 2008 at 7:11 am

    Another Reminder: Beta Review Aaah!

  56. Ragged Boyon 03 Nov 2008 at 4:26 pm

    B.Mac you haven’t reviewed my villians. I believe altruism is want you said you’d give your beta-reviewers. Just kidding, I was trying out my new personality , Chris, he is a self-centered, egomaniacal want-it-all with a sharp tongue. But in all seriousness, I would like you too review them.

    The Cyborn Moon is a cross between Galactus and the Death Star. It’s actually a factory made of an extinct metal that takes over surrendering planets. I’m not sure what its purpose is yet but I want to keep it. It also searches out and destroys any objects that pose a potential threat to it.

    Master Iggy controls the Cyborn Moon. He is sort of any anti-villain. He doesn’t see himself as evil or bad whatsoever and as an oddly happy disposition. He has no problem killing as long as “it’s for the cause” (his catch phrase). He is a supreme strategist and has a psychic link to the CM. Although he strongly prefers not to engage in physical combat, he is extremely powerful. His three main traits are eccentric, strategic and cynical.

    Gazelle is Iggy’s second in command, although is very detached and prefers not to travel aboard the Cyborn. He is part of an extinct race of aliens with large gaping holes in their chest and fanged lips. He is a mind-manipulator, he can use mind control, telepathy, empathy, induce insanity (in weak minds), fire psionic bolts, as well as use psychokinesis. He loves dark humor and collects artifacts from extinct races and planets. His three main traits are he’s morbid, curious and obnoxious.

    The Mohawk Ladies are Iggy’s personal army of android women. There are many different types of them, but three models are the most common. Lady Combat is a quick and fierce martial artist. Lady Artillery has a multitude of blasters and cannons but is not very fast. Lady Mystic is more analytical and strategic. They all act with the same spiteful, devious personality.

    The Fakes are a type of zombie, if you will, caused by exposure to a rare gas, Acrid. Like the Venom-symbiote, Acrid enhances aggression and hunger to the point of cannibalistic starvation, which is why they attack people. It affects strong-willed people differently, creating an alternate personality that’s the the epitome of their worst qualities or their opposite qualities but isn’t necessarily evil. At one point, the Hellions will get infected and become evil versions of themselves: a dark and debonair artist, a black-haired recluse, and a no-mannered slob with a temper.

    Boss and the Totsies are villains not affiliated with the Cyborn. Like Jabba the Hutt, Boss is fat and gross. His body is a perfect circle and he walks on two stubby legs. He can absorb matter and assume its properties. His two Totsies are scarcely dressed mercenaries. Jezebel is sluttier and stronger. She controls an energy that can tear things apart. Harlot is the tease with the brains. She controls a pink energy that she can mold. Boss’ main goal is to become an intergalactic monopolizer. He already controls a number of planets, including Comet City’s planet. His three main traits are business-savvy, gullible and money-grubbing.

    That’s just a few for now, there are many others but what do you think of these?

  57. Holliequon 05 Feb 2009 at 4:09 pm

    I wasn’t sure where to put this, so it’s going here.

    I haven’t really said much about my overall plot, but since it starts kicking in very soon I figure I’d better try and work the bad parts out of it.

    The main villains are a group of Gods (I’m going to cut several of them, so not much else is finalised yet). Their overall goal is to destroy all other worlds, which I hope is really not as randomly destructive as it first sounds.

    In my novel, their are lots of worlds and universes like ours, all under the general supervision of the Higher Authority, who basically leaves several Gods there and let’s them get on with. The HA doesn’t interfere and, more importantly, it doesn’t make contact, ever. The Gods of Elnora (the world Victor and Zoe have just found themselves in) have been around for thousands of years, taking care of their world, but they’ve had enough and now want recognition. The idea is that destroying everything else will mean the HA has to pay attention to them. So, basically, it’s a very extreme version of attention-seeking and idolising (one of them will end up saying something like, “Can you imagine something better than a God? We can’t either. We have to see for ourselves.”).

    I apologise for the very long-winded explanation, but I’m planning to cover small bits of this at a time throughout the story, so it’s not going to be all suddenly announced at the end.

    The demi-Gods Kant, Durth and Gath realise the Gods are planning something, and essentially take advantage of Victor and Zoe and send them out to find a way to kill a God (or find out if it’s even possible). Along the way, Victor and Zoe stumble across and stop a monarch’s assassination. The attempt sparks off a war which they get involved in (they DID just save the King). Once that’s resolved then the final showdown starts. What do you think?

  58. B. Macon 05 Feb 2009 at 4:49 pm

    Here are some observations.

    1. Right now you have three characters (Kant, Durth and Gath) performing what is, at least in this synopsis, a single role (tricking/exploiting Victor and Zoe). It might be worth looking into merging or deleting 1-2 of the 3.

    2. “Victor and Zoe stumble across and stop a monarch’s assassination.” First, the element of stumbling upon something blindly may feel contrived. If possible, I’d recommend working in an in-story reason why it was these kids and no one else that stopped the assassination. Zoe, in particular, seems like she has a mental quickness to her that might work for this purpose. She also seems a bit impulsive, which might help explain why she tries to help rather than just sits back and watch. (Victor seems like the kind of guy that would run in to keep her out of trouble rather than start something on his own… he doesn’t seem incredibly proactive).

    3. I’m not sure about the motivation of the Gods trying to get the attention of the Higher Authority. On one hand, I think it’s novel to portray the heavens as incredibly overpowered (and possibly insecure) brats, but I suspect the main consideration is whether they will be satisfying villains. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this before, so I hesitate to offer an opinion here. However, in my experience, villains that want to destroy everything tend to be forgettable.

    4. “Along the way, Victor and Zoe stumble across and stop a monarch’s assassination. The attempt sparks off a war which they get involved in (they DID just save the King). Once that’s resolved then the final showdown starts.” This sounds like an interesting plot synopsis, but I don’t think it connects all that well with the chosen villain. I think that this plot might be better-suited to a royal adversary than a God.

    5. Do you have enough material here? It sounds like the war is the only thing going on between the assassination (which I imagine happens within a few chapters of them arriving in this fantasy world, although I may be mistaken) and the climactic struggle. If you need more material, I’d recommend adding a third member to the triangle, probably a local.

  59. Holliequon 05 Feb 2009 at 6:19 pm

    1. I see your point on the Kant/Durth/Gath thing. I don’t want to get rid of Kant entirely, but I will make his role significantly smaller.

    2. The way I had it planned out in my head was that Zoe and Victor were staying in some grand place and she decided to go and wander round (this world is a little, um, backwards on gender equality, so that would probably have something to do with the reason . . . she doesn’t like the idea of being ‘led around’). After seeing/overhearing the assassins, she goes to fetch a nearby guard (was originally Victor, but on second thoughts that doesn’t make as much sense) and they arrive in time to save the king. She only finds out it’s the king later. This would probably be one of the few chapters where Zoe is the main focus and the POV character.

    3. They’re considerate enough to not destroy their OWN world, at least. 😛 But I can see what you mean here. Hmm. As another idea, what would you think about Durth and Gath planning to kill the Gods, because they don’t think they’re concerned enough about the world? I had originally envisoned them as good guys, but I think there are reasons in-story why the well-meaning villain approach could work as well (but I won’t bore you by going into them!)

    4. I have to admit I’ve had similar thoughts. The most obvious way to link it to the overall plot would be to say it was started by the Gods, because they need the energy/souls of the dead/something from the war to partially fuel their destructive spell. I feel like that’s a little cliche, though. With the plot change suggested above, I suppose it could be the “final straw” . . . though that feels even LESS satisfying.

    If I were to adopt a royal adversary, what sort of angle would you suggest? The war is between a crumbling Empire (Phirth) and one of it’s former states (Markai) . . . though a former state by a century or more. The Empire’s been crumbling very slowly. King Orlon, the one who is nearly assassinated, is very popular in his country (Markai) and he’s helped two other states to split from Phirth in recent times.

    5. I have a more detailed plot of the story and I am confidant enough that I’ve got enough material. The only thing I’m thinking now is whether it’s the right material. 😉 There is actually a third person, Kettrick, but he’s there mainly as a guide and a sort of bodyguard. Victor and Zoe would have a far larger impact on the story.

  60. B. Macon 06 Feb 2009 at 6:31 am

    #4: Here are a few reasons the upstart state might go to war with the crumbling empire.

    –The upstart state represents some new ideal and thinks that the Empire is such a dinosaur that it has to be annexed to the right way of life for the good of its citizenry. Depending on the ideal (democracy, science, ethnic purity/genocide, etc), this may feel either heroic or villainous. I’d recommend against an 100% villainous motivation like ethnic purity, though.

    –The crumbling empire has something that the upstart state wants. In a real war, this would probably be territory, but in a fantasy story we’d probably be looking at a MacGuffin like a powerful artifact or an important site or something. Given that this empire has a long and proud history, it’s not hard to believe that it would have some ancient treasures locked away somewhere. Or the temple where an important spell has to be cast, etc. Depending on what the upstart wants the artifact for, this might be a villainous kind of invasion or it could be mostly justified. For example, let’s say the empire does not want to offend the Gods, even though it has an artifact that could be used to defeat them. The upstart state wants to fight with the Gods, but needs to seize the artifact from the Empire first.

    #3: “they don’t think they’re concerned enough about the world.” Not quite feeling it. I’ll think more on this.

  61. Holliequon 06 Feb 2009 at 9:50 am

    Hmm. You’ve given me some food for thought, thanks a lot. I’ll go away and think about it for a bit to see what I can come up with.

  62. B. Macon 06 Feb 2009 at 11:49 am

    Take as much time as you need. I find your introspection encouraging.

    Sometimes, when I do a longer post (like a rewrite of a chapter, which takes me at least an hour), and the writer responds 10 minutes later, I get annoyed. How much time could he have possibly put into that response?

  63. Holliequon 07 Feb 2009 at 5:58 am

    Okay, I’ve thought about it a bit and I’ve decided to take your suggestion of using a MacGuffin to tie the war to the overall plot. I think the MacGuffin angle has been done a lot, so I’m hoping to make it a little more original by it being merely a clue to how the Gods could be killed, and not an artefact of wanton destruction. This addition will also require me to make Durth and Gath basically start the war to get their hands on it, but I can afford to make them less heroic. Kant will be cut to allow for more Durth/Gath focus and anything he might have done in the plot will be given to Durth instead (if I’m being honest, I was only keeping Kant because I really liked his character. And the idea of a demi-God psychologist). Zoe and Victor are still on the hunt for information, which will prove useful, but Durth and Gath are also using them as a sort of distraction. If the Gods get suspicious, they hope that the two people from another world would be the first place they’d look.

    I’m a little concerned that all this scheming could lead to Zoe and Victor being absolutely clueless. So, my goal is to have them piece together parts of it themselves and have an active impact on events (the assassination being one example, but I’m thinking of other ways, too).

    I’ve also decided to keep my Gods (with the original reason) as the main villains. I’m quite attached to the idea. BUT I’m going to try and avoid potential dissatisfaction by cutting the cast down further. Hopefully, a combination of badassery (which may be difficult given their reason, but I’ll try) and fleshing out of the characters will make the story feel more believable and the ending less, um, problematic.

    What are your thoughts? Oh, and thanks a lot for all the input, I really appreciate it and it’s a big help. 🙂

  64. B. Macon 07 Feb 2009 at 6:08 am

    “Okay, I’ve thought about it a bit and I’ve decided to take your suggestion of using a MacGuffin to tie the war to the overall plot. I think the MacGuffin angle has been done a lot, so I’m hoping to make it a little more original by it being merely a clue to how the Gods could be killed, and not an artefact of wanton destruction.” Ok, that sounds good. It should help clear up some of the logistical problems of having Gods as the villains (“umm, hey, how do we actually kill these guys?”)

    Yeah, I wouldn’t recommend having V & Z get left in the dark for long.

  65. Jaya Lakshmion 02 Jun 2009 at 1:43 pm

    What if you want an interesting and comical villain? For my comic strip I want to introduce some bakery robbers who get stopped because the bakery doesn’t have a cash register, only a change bag. I want to create a villain in the style of Teen Titans (like Mumbo Jumbo or Control Freak) that can grab your attention for a few strips. Is there any advice for that?

  66. B. Macon 02 Jun 2009 at 2:03 pm

    Austin Powers and Dr. Horrible and Kim Possible did amusingly inept villains really well. I recommend having the character think very highly of his skills. If the supervillain knows that he’s terribly inept, he probably won’t be very funny. Also, it might help if one of the villains is considerably more competent than the rest. That will create opportunities for comic banter.

    It will probably be pretty easy to do a straight-man/funny-man routine, either between two of the villains or one of the heroes and one of the villains. For example, Batman-Joker or Shego-Drakken.

  67. Jaya Lakshmion 02 Jun 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Hmm . . . I’m thinking that the group’s leader is a weapons guy who’s terrified of guns. (He doesn’t like to hear them going off.) Since he’s the big guy, he tries to get money without much of a fuss, though his teammates beg to differ. But I don’t want him to be completely inept, just a bit ridiculous.
    One is probably another gadget guy (or girl) who can detect money. (Or he smells it.) And the rest are girls probably, who are backup support who keep a lookout. Maybe one has telescopes for eyes and claws for hands.
    How does this sound so far?

  68. B. Macon 02 Jun 2009 at 6:57 pm

    I’m not sure. Robbing bakeries and getting stopped because the bakery doesn’t even have a cash register might make them seem incompetent. Didn’t they case this joint? 🙂



    I like the angle that the leader is scared of the sound of guns, particularly if he’s trying to hide that from his crew. Henchman 1: Let’s rob a bank. Leader: Nah, let’s do a bakery. They’d never see it coming.

  69. Davidon 02 Jun 2009 at 8:58 pm

    Hey, how’s this for a villain? In my story, it’s the king’s older brother. He should be king, but was turned down. The book rejected him because he believes in ruling with an iron fist. He is very arrogant, so upon being rejected, he tried to magically force the book to accept him.

    So he was banished from the land. Now he’s trying to claim what is technically his with violence. Do you think he’s a suitable bad guy?

  70. Educated Amateuron 03 Jun 2009 at 10:04 am

    In one of my stories, I have a few villains.

    Zedal Khan is the leader of the Ragorian Empire (a space empire by the way)
    He is power-hungry and corrupt and also a bit inept when it comes to strategy and political brilliance. He also has a bad temper and insists on doing things his way no matter what.
    Shane Redblood, on the other hand, is the power behind the throne. He’s one of the Old Terrans, so he’s practically immortal. He is a strategic genius and is believed to be the best swordsman in Civilization Space. He is the main story villain, even though he is technically subordinate to the Khan.

    The Hero of the story is Shane’s former best friend and partner, Simon Kale. He is also immortal and used to be the second-in-command for Zedal Khan’s father, Kunai Khan, who was also immortal. Kunai was a great leader and also a strategic and political genius. Simon and Shane lead his grand crusade to bring all of Civilization space under his rule. But his mortal son, Zedal, realizing that he would never rule, staged a coup (orchestrated by Shane), and successfully assasinated Kunai (immortals can still be killed, though it is tough to do). Simon was disgusted by Shane’s betrayal and tried to lead the army against him and Zedal, but they failed.
    Simon went into hiding for thirty years on an icy border world, only coming out when events force him to face his old friend and defend his new home.

    Here’s something else, even though Zedal is power-hungry, shane is still an idealist who thinks he is actually doing what’s best for the empire. He sees Zedal as the stupid puppet (which he is) who he will use to bring the Empire to greatness.

  71. Educated Amateuron 03 Jun 2009 at 10:49 am

    I want to know how to portray Zedal so that he is seen as being less than competent but still dangerous, while Shane is supremely competent and confidant in his self-righteousness. Do I go the bad*ss route for Shane and the evil emperor look for Zedal?

  72. B. Macon 03 Jun 2009 at 12:59 pm

    “I want to know how to portray Zedal so that he is seen as less than competent but still dangerous…” I’d recommend showing that he is a bit dim-witted and not particularly interested in details. For example, Shane tries to involve him in the strategic planning but Zedal just couldn’t care about that stuff. To make him dangerous, I’d recommend making him a bit ruthless. He’s probably not very cunning, so he’d resort to brute force early and often. In contrast, Shane is more competent, so I imagine he might mix in subterfuge, ambushes, feints and Xanatos Gambits once in a while.

    I imagine he’d also be more forgiving, particularly if he had something to gain by letting something go. For example, if a rebel spy were captured, Zedal would want him executed immediately, possibly in public. Shane would probably want to let the spy go with a stern warning, so that they can secretly follow the rebel back to his base.

  73. Jaya Lakshmion 01 Sep 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Thank you for your suggestions, B. Mac. I incorporated them as you suggested. Here is the integral one, and here is the explanatory one. I didn’t make them totally incompetent, but I didn’t make them totally functional either.
    Did it work?

  74. Jaya Lakshmion 01 Sep 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Whoops, here’s the integral one

  75. Echoon 10 Jan 2010 at 8:48 am

    What do you think of an utilitarian villain – someone who thinks that the best action is the one that is the most useful/ gives the most happiness to the largest group, and pretty much disregards the individual. Good idea? or completely overdone?

  76. JLTon 10 Jan 2010 at 11:33 am

    Heh he heh…ho ho…Ha. I think I’ll ask a question here me’self, however, it wont be about my villains, they dont want in on this thread.

    What would you consider the Villains of the Disney Universe? Almost all were evil and awesome at the same times. Especially Scar who was the most wicked villain ever to be in a Disney Movie. I mean he killed his brother so ruthlessly and then made his nephew feel incredibly guilty then tried to kill him without a single smidgen of a conscience! I dont know about Frollo from Notre Dam, ever really liked him. But what would you say about all those cool villains and…villainets? Including Rasputin and pixar villains if you know about em. Oh and my boy Dr. Facilier! Awesome guy!

  77. Dillanon 03 Oct 2010 at 11:43 am

    Hey is lord sovereign a cool main villain name?

  78. Dillanon 03 Oct 2010 at 12:26 pm

    Or lord ozymandias? I know theres and ozy in both watchman and marvel but i love the name and what it represents ;p

  79. B. Macon 03 Oct 2010 at 2:24 pm

    I like Lord Sovereign…

    I’d recommend against using Lord Ozymandias because I think the Watchmen villain is too well-known. (You might be able to use Ramses to similar effect, though–Ozymandias was the Greek transliteration of Ramses). Or maybe a title for some sort of monarch, like Pharaoh or Czar or something.

  80. Dillanon 03 Oct 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I like lord sovereign but i also like the whole king of kings translation. But also marvel has a minor character called ozymandias so i was wondering why you know with the copy right stuff are they able to have characters that are simular or share names with no problems.

  81. B. Macon 03 Oct 2010 at 7:37 pm

    I’m not a lawyer and don’t have any experience doing any legal stuff on behalf of any publishers. So, with that caveat…

    Generally, I don’t think a similar name is a problem unless it reminds people of the other. I think that Ozymandias is so distinct that it’s likely to remind publishers and readers of the Watchmen character. In contrast, I don’t think it would be a problem to take a common name like (say) Peter or Bruce, because those are generic enough that they probably wouldn’t bring Spiderman or Batman to mind. But a character with a name with “Spiderman” in it would definitely raise a lot of eyebrows, even if the name were slightly altered like “Lord Spiderman.”

    If you submitted a character with a name with the word “Ozymandias” in it, I think the publisher would probably have you change it before putting it out to print.* DC (and Marvel) are aggressive about suing over stuff like that, and companies would rather change a name than risk a lawsuit. (And, if you were working for DC or Marvel, they’d probably change it anyway to avoid confusion with their previously-published characters).

    *Exception: Historical figures can’t be copyrighted, so it’d probably be acceptable to use the historical Ozymandias. For example, many different comics companies have used Rasputin and Hitler as minor villains, and the Ozymandias of the Uncanny X-Men is an alternate version of the historical pharaoh Ozymandias.

  82. Dillanon 03 Oct 2010 at 7:47 pm

    Yeah imma go with lord sovereign and thanks for insight

  83. Dillanon 04 Oct 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Hey i am wondering whether or not to do an origin story between him being a mutant,or him recieving his powers via lab accident etc.My character starts out an orphan and learns quickly that nothing will be handed down to him.He makes an extream effort to excel in school recieving a scholarship to attend oxford.while there hes constantly reminded of his lesser standings and he was there at someone elses mercy.after graduating from oxford he continues his scientific studies at MIT.He went on to recieve various advance degrees most notable in the field of physics.later he would establish a multinational industry with focus on medicine,advance tech,and alternative energy sources.as chairman he turn it into a global powerhouse advance tech several years and find cures to diseases.He Colaberated(sry spelling) on a project that would provide a limitless energy source by harnessing cosmic energy.After working on the project for a few years the final test were being down for preperation of the public showing.due to miscalculation when powering up the machine the radiation shields started to fail.Because his name and money where on the line he stayed behind trying to repair the shield.He believed his protective suit would shield him for a limited time.The machine reaching its peak begun expossing power radiation,however this wasn’t cosmic energy it was an alien radiation from another source the machine soon overloaded and the blast almost killed the Mc.he was saved by his latent powers which where increased exponentually by the radiation,granting him vast psionic powers telepathy,telekinesis,reality warping on a Godlike scale (almost like when doom stole beyonders powers)simular to that it maybe too much power for him to control.Thoughts on the origin?

  84. Dillanon 04 Oct 2010 at 3:59 pm

    I want the main character to exhibit competence,style,and ambition

  85. B. Macon 04 Oct 2010 at 6:48 pm

    I don’t know. It seems like either a generic lab accident or being a mutant would be sort of bland. This guy is an anti-hero, right? You could probably do something distinct with that. Maybe he’s involved in some shady business and then he has his accident or is forcibly exposed to something dangerous or whatever. (IE: maybe he’s working as a scientist on behalf of some unscrupulous people, and that’s what gets him). What’s something that he would do that, say, Dr. Manhattan wouldn’t?

  86. Eren Ramzion 04 Oct 2010 at 7:29 pm

    Hi B. Mac, long time no speak. Not sure if you remember me. Hope you’re well.

    Just wanted to ask you if you could delete my two review forums. Don’t need them anymore.

    Thanks for the feedback you gave me a while back. It really helped me to fix aspects of my character’s origin and backstory.

    Haven’t visited this place for ages.

  87. Dillanon 04 Oct 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Instead of growing detached from humanity hes looking to bring world order through conquest.because he believes hes the only one competent to do this.He has megalomanic tendencies but with a noble goal.He also has a Daughter who is an anchor to humanity for him as she represents youth and innocence.The reason for the alternative energy source is the fact that the world’s resources are being depleted.And the current state of the world is dark.the world leaders allow their petty squabbling to get in the way of peace.Hes kind of a revolutionary because he believes very deeply in his cause.He’s an anti hero in the sense that hes some of a ruthless dictator,but along the lines of creating order and establishing himself as a capable leader. Also within his private life he shares a closeness to his PA,who is like a serroget(sry spelling)mother to his daughter. I want him to be very powerful but retain his humanity. Also im working hard to balance the character, i want him to be able to be challenged thus making him interesting.another thing is my character has a code of personal honor which i believe adds a dynamic to his depth and allowing me to write the character where he doesn’t sholve every problem with his powers.Like the political nature of the story.the public in my story see him like a messiah like figure a savior and in many aspects thats true he generally wants to establish peace and order

  88. Sean Higginson 09 Nov 2010 at 11:36 am

    B.Mac – in regards to your footnote on the DK’s Joker, the murder of the black gang leader was required for the Joker’s plan. He intended to take over all the Gotham crime families so that he could use them to return the city to it’s chaotic roots. However, Gable (the black leader) made it clear during their first meeting that he would likely never side with the Joker. Thus, in order to bring Gable’s subordinates into the Joker’s circle was to kill Gable himself.

    The following bit where he had the others kill each other to join didn’t make complete sense, other than to show that the only choices available was to commit to the Joker or death.

  89. Lighting Manon 09 Nov 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I don’t actually completely agree with that being why he killed Michael Jai White’s character, but the “audition” was part of Joker’s character throughout the film, he played on individuals to put them in desperate situations in which the only solution is to do what he wants, he made Batman choose between Rachel and Harvey, knowing what Batman would choose, and then controlled Batman’s choice. it was an ongoing theme, which culminated in the boat situation, but was really only settled by his success in crafting the “white knight” of Gotham into Two-Face.

    It could be argued that even his fight with the vengeful detective from “Angel” was an example of his playing with this theme, as he knew that the detective playing guard over him would know better than to indulge his whims, but coerced him into doing so anyway, however, that had more to do with his plan then anything.

    I think Gambol’s death was primarily facilitated by that aspect of cowardice that remains in Joker (primarily visible during his final scenes, but made evident during his initial “presentation” to the gangs, both before and after his magic trick) Gambol threatens him on a level that disrupts the persona of the Joker, so he reclaims his dominance and reestablishes the Joker persona’s power, by brutally murdering him.

    Power vacuums opposing power creates more anarchy than just vacuums, so it didn’t fit with his motivations to kill Gambol, and he controlled people in such a way as to not need the kind of standing army that Gambol’s forces offered him, so the only real reason for Joker to kill Gambol is to make an example of him, as he did, and to reassert his strength.

    Just my opinion though.

  90. A11 L1V3S L0STon 18 Jul 2012 at 2:30 pm

    I have a question. It said to not use overly evil villians, but what if I want to write a villian who kills random people just cause he can?

  91. M. Happenstanceon 18 Jul 2012 at 3:14 pm

    Please elaborate.

  92. B. McKenzieon 18 Jul 2012 at 5:08 pm

    “It said to not use overly evil villains, but what if I want to write a villain who kills random people just cause he can?” Maybe for a really minor villain, but I think it’d probably help if the main villain had some greater and more villainous scheme than killing people at random. In particular, I’d recommend checking out Joker from the Dark Knight, Agent Smith in the first Matrix movie, and Ra’s al Ghul from Batman Begins. Their motives make them more threatening, memorable and (probably) believable than they would have been if they had just been picking off people without any particular goal in mind.

  93. Jay Elricon 27 Sep 2012 at 7:05 am

    I’m in the early stages of my novel and I want to know how can I make a villain that is psychotic but laid back/calm at the same time?

  94. B. McKenzieon 27 Sep 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I think it depends on what you want from “psychotic.” If you mean “someone who is violently crazy” but also laidback and calm, it might help if he’s generally calm but has some sort of trigger for a psychotic episode. Or he might be a sociopath who understands why it’s so important to appear laidback/calm/normal, but is given to fits of violence (like most of Dexter Morgan’s villains) or calmly/discreetly pursues a violent agenda (e.g. Dexter Morgan).

    Alternately, his view of reality might be so distorted (perhaps by schizophrenia*, delusions or hallucinations) that he thinks of himself as laidback/calm and perhaps occasionally acts laidback/calm but is severely hampered by distorted perceptions which cause him to commit violence.

    *E.g. Norman Osborne develops schizophrenia after using the Green Goblin serum.

  95. Tuneon 21 Oct 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Well, I wouldn’t say that my villainess Miracle is evil. I think she is misunderstood. Miracle has the ability to control people’s emotions and she has a very sick and twisted obssession with the stories protagonist aka Alpha. She claims she’s in love with him & will do anything to have him, even kill. How does that sound?

  96. B. McKenzieon 21 Oct 2012 at 8:04 pm

    “Well, I wouldn’t say that my villainess Miracle is evil. I think she is misunderstood. Miracle has the ability to control people’s emotions and she has a very sick and twisted obsession with the story’s protagonist. She claims she’s in love with him & will do anything to have him, even kill. How does that sound?” She sounds batshit crazy, which might be effective depending on the execution. For example, I thought Dark Knight’s take on Joker was very memorable.

  97. Dr. Vo Spaderon 31 Oct 2012 at 9:59 pm

    …Let’s say a character is the leader if about three hundred people and has an insane brother. A lot of responsibility, hard decisions, and hard work falls to him. He is an antoganist. Aside from sympathy, what could one do to make him EXTREMELY likeable?

  98. YellowJujuon 31 Oct 2012 at 10:21 pm

    Maybe have his insane brother tell him to order his people to do something really bad but this character denies. This will show some conflict between him and the insane brother and make him more likable…

  99. B. McKenzieon 31 Oct 2012 at 11:22 pm

    An extremely likable antagonist? I’m not sure how that would work. Making the villain nice enough that readers might want him as a neighbor or brother-in-law would probably mean that he isn’t a particularly dramatic/satisfying obstacle for the protagonist to overcome. I’d recommend focusing instead on how to make the villain compelling and/or memorable rather than likable. For example, Darth Vader and Ozymandias have some redeeming qualities, but their plans threaten enough that the protagonists (and viewers/readers) value for viewers/readers to care about whether the protagonists succeed.

  100. Dragondevilon 31 Oct 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Maybe make him show a lot of care for his insane brother.
    Maybe he loves his brother a lot,that when some of his teammates make fun of him,he kills them/tortures them as Punishment~

    ^_^

  101. Dr. Vo Spaderon 01 Nov 2012 at 5:18 am

    Thanks for all of it! Memorable or competent would have been better words, yes. His goals (destroy this, screw the system) do differ from the protagonist’s (remove the system, save the people) enough I think. As to his brother – he is crazy but strong/reliable enough to be the leader’s right-hand-man. Perhaps he would be better off as a second POV character, even if he is occasionally against the first?

  102. Sakitaon 09 Jan 2014 at 3:07 pm

    I personally like the anti-villain type of villain. The type of villain who seems to have some good traits, villains who have a ‘good’ motive, but use the wrong way of achiving it, and the villains who are good in nature, but tend to become an obstacle for the hero. (Think of the policemen who try to arrest the hero because they think he’s a villain.)

    Although I also like the Joker-like villains, who are so insane and unpredictible, they can become a real problem for the hero. 🙂

    (Please don’t mind my spelling mistakes, english is not my mother tongue)

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