Oct 22 2008

Three Qualities of Interesting Villains

One of the signs that your villain doesn’t suck is that he’s interesting enough to handle a scene on his own.  No, we don’t need to hear about his pathetically traumatic family history or the byzantine machinations of his evil organization.  Readers just need some sign that your villain has the competence, style and/or ambition that mark a good villain.



Your villain should not be out of the hero’s league. In fact, for most of the story, the villain should probably be winning against the hero.  One common misconception is that the hero will seem less impressive or likable if the villain beats him a few times.  No!  A hero that defeats a crazy-competent villain will resonate more.  For example, the only reason anyone remembers Luke Skywalker is because he defeated Darth Vader.


Fortunately, you can make your villain competent fairly easily. When your hero attempts some course of action, take 15 minutes to list anything that could go wrong.  Then list anything that your villain could do to make the hero fail even more spectacularly.  Your villain only has to exploit one glaring weakness in the hero’s plan to look competent.  Does the hero’s plan require logistical support from his Batcave?  Whoops. Even if your villain can’t take down the Batcave, he could try something like an EMP or sunspots to interfere with communications signals. Is the hero unable to teleport around town?  Throwing him off with a decoy could buy the villain enough time to carry out his real plan.


Style is harder to pin down than competence, but there are still a few discernable signs of style.  A stylish villain tends to dominate his scenes, even if he doesn’t have many lines.  For example, there were a few scenes in the first season of Heroes that Sylar dominated even though he wasn’t actually present.


One scene that particularly sticks out is when Parkman and his FBI partner were fumbling around one of Sylar’s icy murder-scenes.  First, there’s the horror factor.  Sylar is obviously an extremely depraved killer.  But more importantly, the gruesomeness of the murder is contrasted with the incompetence of the cops.  They have no idea what’s going on.  Sylar was more of a presence because he was obviously playing out of their league.


I recommend giving your villain an overarching and genuinely sinister plan.  If your villain’s plan is only to get revenge against a few people, the stakes of your hero failing will be very low.  For example, the first Spiderman movie dropped the ball on this one.  What would the stakes of Spiderman not fighting the Green Goblin have been?  Pretty much nothing, unless you were on the board of directors of OsCorp.


This doesn’t mean that the villain’s plan has to endanger the world or universe.  That gets cheesy very fast.  But this goes to competence: a villain that’s only playing for small stakes (like trying to kill a few OsCorp businessmen) probably won’t seem very competent or frightening.  In contrast, Dr. Octopus’ plan was more ambitious and interesting even though it wasn’t particularly evil.  He wanted to perfect a crazy-ass scientific theory to redeem himself for killing his wife the first time.  Octopus’ plan had significantly higher stakes for Spiderman because he endangered many more innocent victims.  (Sorry, ruthless businessmen, but readers just don’t care about you).

192 responses so far

192 Responses to “Three Qualities of Interesting Villains”

  1. Patrickon 22 Oct 2008 at 10:49 pm

    Nothing says “competence” like mowing down redshirts. This also sets your villain up for comeuppance.

    Big deal, the Decepticons can transform into police cars. Oh, and they can also *obliterate Army bases at will*. Big deal, Nightcrawler can teleport. Oh yeah, and he can *hand the entire Secret Service their hindquarters without breaking a sweat*. Big deal, Hans Gruber can hold a bunch of investment bankers hostage. Oh yeah, and he can also take on the entire Chicago PD at once. etc, etc

    (Hans Gruber: one of the best movie villains of all time.)

  2. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 23 Oct 2008 at 1:18 am

    These guidelines are really helpful! There is only one villain who I find an amusing exception to these rules. Doctor Evil. He’s just so incredibly stupid, clumsy and is played strongly by stereotypes all at the same time.

    Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy’s nemesis, Austin Powers
    Scott: What, are you feeding him? Why don’t you just kill him?
    Dr. Evil: No Scott, I have a better idea. I’m going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.

    Haha! What an idiot.

  3. B. Macon 23 Oct 2008 at 2:23 am

    Yeah, I would say that Dr. Evil is definitely an exception to regular guidelines for villain-creation. Parodists have leeway to play with the conventions of their genre. Also, as a comedy, the Austin Powers movie was able to pretty much just skip past the fight scenes. “Judo chop!”

  4. Dallason 09 Dec 2008 at 10:40 pm

    What about the Joker? (The 2nd greatest villain of all time).

    He was all competence. His ambition was that he hated humanity. As for his style, well… he was completely psychotic, he knew it and he loved it.

  5. B. Macon 10 Dec 2008 at 12:39 am

    If you like TDK’s Joker, you might like this article about Batman, American culture and Joker.

  6. Ragged Boyon 10 Dec 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Very good article. I was surprised I knew what alot of those big words met. I love the references to the “war on terror.”

  7. The Paulon 28 Jan 2009 at 9:22 am

    See, I figured that the Joker’s ambition was that no one got the joke. Therefore, Joker wants everyone to get the joke.

    Except in The Dark Knight. There, I think the Joker just wants chaos.

    Also, these three reasons are why Dr. Doom is my favorite supervillain.

    1. Competent. He’s easily on par with Reed Richards as one of the world’s smartest men; he’s an expert in physics, mechanical engineering, nuclear engineering, civics, and perfected the synthesis between magic and science. Few could take Doom on, and even then it usually requires a team (four or more).

    2. Stylish. Just look at him, first of all. He’s in a suit of powered armor. Not to mention he has a code of honor. He doesn’t kill women or children, or innocent civilians if it can be helped. He easily could. Again, most heroes are out of their league when dealing with Doom (one-on-one).

    3. Ambition. Yeah, he wants to rule the world, but mostly because he feels he can do a better job, and he wants to rid the world of circumstances like those that took his parents (this seems to be an anti-genocide stance; Doom is from Gypsy stock). Hell, he even succeeds in global domination, then gives it up because it turns out that ruling the world is boring. “I came, I saw, I conquered, but only for the weekend.”

    Anyway, enough geeking out on my part.

  8. B. Macon 28 Jan 2009 at 11:06 am

    I’m a fan of Doom. In fact, sometimes I feel like he’s the only thing in the Fantastic Four series that’s worth keeping.

  9. Zionon 01 Feb 2009 at 8:54 am

    You don’t always need a team to defeat Doom. Sometimes all you need is the ability to get dozens of small furry rodents to come to your aid (ala Squirrel Girl).

  10. B. Macon 01 Feb 2009 at 11:16 am

    I love Squirrel Girl! She’s trashed so many major-league villains (Dr. Doom, Modok, Terrax) that Deadpool says his loss to her is proof that he’s reached the big time. Haha.
    You can see more of SG here.
    Squirrel Girl wasting Dr. Doom

  11. Chulanceon 31 Mar 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Do you think any of the following are good villians?
    Lex Luthor

  12. Wadeon 31 Mar 2009 at 1:21 pm

    Of of those, Lex Luthor is my favorite. First, he has no powers. Second, he takes on one of the strongest heroes. Third, he has a unique style of doing things.

  13. Kynnastonon 31 Mar 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Oh yes, definitely Lex Luthor.

  14. Tomon 31 Mar 2009 at 2:29 pm

    I loved Freiza when I was eight years old, but hindsight has shown me how ridiculous s/he was. (Seriously, I know he was a guy, but he was rather effeminate). He could blow up an entire planet with his finger but he didn’t have many dimensions.

  15. B. Macon 31 Mar 2009 at 4:35 pm

    Of the three, I also like Lex Luthor best. He’s the easiest to relate to and strikes me as the only one with much depth. His motive (greed/megalomania) isn’t particularly inspired, but it’s marginally more interesting than trying to destroy everything. (Yeah, I know Brainiac has a deeper agenda, but it usually entails the destruction of everything).

  16. Chulanceon 02 Apr 2009 at 4:55 am

    Lex Luthor is definetly a great villian and Freiza was an excellent villian in my opinion. He wanted immortality and he would even murder his own henchmen. He would do anything to get the job done. He was very manipulate as well. My list goes like this.

    Brainiac- He’s seriously one of my favorite villians in the DC universe.
    Lex Luthor

  17. B. Macon 17 Jun 2009 at 8:34 pm

    What kind of impression are you going for, David? Bori sounds kind of cute and not very threatening to me.

  18. Davidon 17 Jun 2009 at 9:09 pm

    Well, I kind of want a frightening name, but I always thought Bori was good. Oh well.

    Any suggestions?

    Simply something a mother would name their child but could still be threatening because then you’d have Cara calling him Uncle Bori or whatever.

  19. B. Macon 17 Jun 2009 at 10:12 pm

    Hmm. I think you’d have more leeway to do scary/threatening with a last name than a first name. However, as far as first names that can be sinister sounding, I’d recommend something like Uriah, Lon, Orson, Paltiel, Xavion, Pedavel, Jasper, Omer, etc. (I drew those from US Census information on some names that were among the 500 most popular in 1910).

  20. Eren Ramzion 23 Jun 2009 at 11:47 am

    My favourite villains are in no particular order:

    The Joker

    Ra’s al Ghul



    All have grounded, realistic motivations as villains. I like Ra’s that he sees the world as corrupt and decayed so he wants to wipe out 95% of the population and then re-start the world – a new eden. Sure, he wants to rule the world but first he wants to kill most of it and then re-start it in his own vision, very twisted indeed. And you can understand his viewpoint, very similiar to Magneto.

  21. B. Macon 23 Jun 2009 at 12:26 pm

    I notice you have a very Batman-centric cast. Not surprising… Batman’s villains strike me as powerful enough to be interesting but weak enough to feel believable. Also, they’re unusually stylish.

    Most other DC villains are mediocre. In particular, Superman has a load of suck. Brainiac? Toyman? Metallo? Lex Luthor? I think the main problem is that they’re too weak and/or unambitious (Lex Luthor, particularly in the movies, and Toyman) or just totally removed from anything that helps them connect to readers on a human level (Brainiac).

  22. Tomon 23 Jun 2009 at 12:38 pm

    Whilst the others I’m in agreement in, I think Brainiac deserves more credit. Not much more, but he is a good villain.

    As for my favourite villains, if we’re just looking at comic books I’d say The Joker, Doctor Octopus (if for no other reason than his name is awesome), Doctor Doom (again, awesome name) and Ozymandias (if for no other reason than he actually wins). I’m sure I’m forgetting loads of my favourite comic book villains but for now that’s who I’m sticking with.

    As for non-comic book villains, Darth Vader and The Emperor, Megatron (again, the name is awesome), Princess Azula and Fire Lord Ozai from Avatar: The Last Airbender, The Master from Doctor Who and again, a lot more I’m probably forgetting.

  23. Marissaon 23 Jun 2009 at 4:00 pm

    Venom and the Joker are the only two that come to mind for me, actually, as far as supervillains go. I like Smallville’s Lex Luthor, but mostly before he’s evil. Like, season one.

  24. ShardReaperon 23 Jun 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I’m probably in odd territory, but I enjoyed the Smallville version of Doomsday. I also like Sylar (pre-parent issues and emotional imbalance), Frenzy from Transformers, and the Spider-Man 3 type of Venom.

  25. Chevalieron 14 Jul 2009 at 7:37 pm

    I was thinking about how Arkham Asylum seems to have a revolving door for its criminals and came up with this idea for my resident asylum for criminally insane super-villains.
    The doctor who runs the facility uses his psychic abilities to sell the “services” of his patients to the rich and powerful. If someone wants their enemies attacked, they can pay the doctor to insert a desired target into the mind of one of his patients. After that the doctor arranges for the criminal to escape and attack their target. Once captured they’re returned to his care for the process to repeat.
    I feel this will explain why criminals are always escaping, and why they never seem to receive the appropriate mental health care. Thoughts?

  26. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Jul 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I like the Joker out of all comic book villains (especially Heath Ledger’s performance in the latest movie)

    For Western animation I like Azula and Ozai.

    For live action the Master is my favourite (partially because he was played by John Simm, one of the best actors I’ve ever seen, and because the part where he danced to “I Can’t Decide” was pure, utter win)

    For anime/manga it is definitely Light Yagami/Kira. Very few people can commit genocide while avoiding the world’s best detective and looking like a male model. Light must make a lot of money from his police work, because most of his clothes look like they’re tailored. (I think Light probably spends more time getting his hair and outfits just right than he does writing in the Death Note, haha. Please don’t kill me, Kira, I was just kidding!)

  27. The ReTARDISed Whovianon 14 Jul 2009 at 8:05 pm

    That’s an interesting idea, Chevalier. DC will probably steal it. Haha. They could add another layer onto an already convoluted history of comics. That’s the main reason I don’t read many, because I’ve missed heaps and will never catch up.

  28. Tomon 15 Jul 2009 at 2:01 am

    I don’t know if this happened anywhere else in the Batman mythology but in the TV show The Batman Dr. Hugo Strange was doing… dubious activities with the Arkham inmates. As we all know, Strange is a villain, but in The Batman he starts off seemingly as a good person who is in charge of Arkham. Really he is obsessed with studying the psyche of Batman, and goes as far as creating the perfect villain and releasing him on the city, just to study what Batman does. Of course later he gets incarcerated in Arkham (talk about getting hoist by his own petard), but whilst he was the head of Arkham he provided a plausible reason for the ‘revolving door’ they’ve got going there.

  29. B. Macon 15 Jul 2009 at 3:09 am

    I’m surprised they called him Dr. Strange. Doesn’t DC already have a fairly prominent character named Dr. Strange? 🙂

  30. Tomon 15 Jul 2009 at 3:31 am

    I think he’s distinct from Marvel’s Strange in quite a few ways. Firstly, he’s not supernatural, secondly, he’s evil, thirdly, he usually goes by Dr Hugo Strange. I don’t even know what Marvel’s Dr Strange’s first name is.

    But then again there’s loads of cases of both companies sharing names, Captain Marvel springs to mind, and don’t forget, he’s not Shazam! 😛

  31. Asayaon 15 Jul 2009 at 12:43 pm

    Ugh, the comparison between Marvel Strange and DC Strange made me notice that despite how vehement they are about their copyright stuff, both DC and Marvel create vaguely similar characters.

  32. Tomon 15 Jul 2009 at 1:47 pm

    I don’t think there’s any similarity between the two Stranges other than the name. Neither are particularly strange either, well, compared to some of the other characters in the two universes anyway…

  33. ShardReaperon 15 Jul 2009 at 4:02 pm

    I think Marvel Strange’s name is Stephen, last I remember. One thing I do remember is in Ultimatum, Dormammu constricted him like a boa and caused his head to blow off. Gross.

  34. *i88*on 24 Jul 2009 at 9:19 am

    I’m once again late in the comments but I have two things to add:

    1) I think Magneto is the greatest supervillain in Marvel (the Joker rules DC) because he’s not necessarily evil. He has a good cause and what not.

    2: In my novel (which will probably never see the light of day) the main villain(s) are a group known as the Zodiac that want to keep humanity “pure” by killing off homo superiors/people with powers. So they plan to kidnap the main character and using her power in a machine to send out a death pulse. Is this at any rate cliche, not a good idea, or something along those lines? Thanks.

  35. B. Macon 24 Jul 2009 at 9:39 am

    “…using her power in a machine to drain her and then send out a death pulse…” It sounds a lot like a plot from the X-Men movies.

    Also, I think that it’d be more interesting if there were a weaker connection between the protagonist and the villains. It sounds less like the hero will be an adventurer making her own breaks and more like she’ll be acting in self-defense to save her own ass. I’d recommend making her proactive rather than responding to a group kidnapping her (or targeting her for kidnap). For example, perhaps she’s investigating a bizarre crime and discovers that it’s only the start of something much bigger and more sinister.

    At the very least, I’d have the group target her for kidnapping rather than someone else because of something she does in the story.

    PS: I like Magneto, too. I’m not surprised that the X-Men movies come back to him again and again… they don’t have anybody else that fills the Primary Villain role with nearly as much style and flavor. That said, I find it tiresome that he keeps comparing efforts to cure mutants to the Holocaust and annoying that no one else challenges him when he does so.

  36. mrs marvelon 29 Jul 2009 at 4:54 pm

    How about a bratty villain who just wants the whole world to himself and be their ruler? not origanal but Im a work in progress. any advice?

  37. BrainStormeron 29 Jul 2009 at 5:24 pm

    @The ReTARDISed Whovianon
    ‘For anime/manga it is definitely Light Yagami/Kira. Very few people can commit genocide while avoiding the world’s best detective and looking like a male model.’

    You can add to that Johan Liebert from Monster. He was pure evil.

  38. O'Connoron 09 Mar 2010 at 10:47 pm

    I didn’t agree with Goblin not being ambitious enough – the guy was nuts and he obviously had no qualms about killing civilians. After he got rid of the board of directors of OsCorp, who can tell what he would have done? I have no doubts his body count would be much higher after he achieved his original goal.

    Other than that, this article has helped tremendously. Thanks!

  39. Wingson 09 Mar 2010 at 11:04 pm

    @ Mrs. Marvel

    Yes, the bratty villain has been done in various incarnations, however, the idea is still able to be reinvented well. I’d have to know a little bit more about the villain’s overall character to make a decent judgement, but the concept seems workable.

    Personally, what I’d like to see is a literal child villain – a villain with the mind of a child and the powers of a god. The world needs a few genocidal four year olds to keep things interesting, y’know? XD

    As to villains in general, villain superpowers for me have always been hard to create. I’ve seen pyrokinetics, umbrakinetics, guys who can kill people by looking at them, and the odd evil genius, merely because these powers are easily associated with the typical villain archetype. One of my favorite villains, power-wise, is the movie version of Mystique. Why? Merely because she took a power that I’d never thought of as anything special – human/humanoid limited shapeshifting – and yet did so much with it. She’s the primary reason I made one of my major villains a shapeshifter.

    Of course, the sheer asskickery factor helps. It always does.

    – Wings

  40. Lighting Manon 10 Mar 2010 at 9:57 am

    “I didn’t agree with Goblin not being ambitious enough – the guy was nuts and he obviously had no qualms about killing civilians. After he got rid of the board of directors of OsCorp, who can tell what he would have done? I have no doubts his body count would be much higher after he achieved his original goal.”

    He was keen to act exactly like Darth Vader from A New Hope (“Come, spidey! Join me and we can rule together!” “You’re not my father!” “Neither was Ben, so you’re probably going to kill me now.”) but he was crazy and reacting to the negative stimulus supplied by the board of directors, if he had wiped them out, he most likely would have self-destructed, much like he did, before he presented any real threat. It wasn’t like he was capable of achieving anything beyond the brute force that the suit allowed him to. He wasn’t ambitious, he wasn’t smart or conniving, just a monkey with a pumpkin grenade. You’re right that he might have killed more, but he never would’ve accomplished anything and that’s where his flaw lied.

  41. B. Macon 10 Mar 2010 at 11:47 am

    One advantage of relatively unambitious villains is that they may actually be able to attain their goal. The vast majority of villains that try to destroy or conquer a city will fail to do so. However, if the villain is content merely to become the city’s most powerful crime lord, he may actually succeed. Alternately, Magneto successfully turned one Senator into a mutant (in the first X-Men movie), but unsurprisingly failed when he tried to turn all the world’s leaders into mutants.

  42. Kennyon 11 May 2010 at 8:10 pm

    Yes, I love all these villains… if ‘love’ it the right word. I agree with everyone but, someone had to bring up Disney villains.
    Yeah, I’m weird like that– inspiration for a baddie? Go to Disney, of course!
    Y’know though Judge Claude Frollo fills all three of these, competence; he follows Phoebus to find Esmeralda, and follows Quasimodo to find the Court of Miracles, etc. style; oh, man, does he have style, ambition; he believed hat he was doing was right, killing all the Gypsies and his lust for Esmeralda (the song ‘Hellfire’ pretty much lays all three of the traits down, right?)
    Most villains know they’re evil but, this man was so fueled by what he believed was evil he didn’t realize he was the evil one.
    I really got to stop fangirlin’ this movie. It’s controlling my mind.

  43. B. Macon 12 May 2010 at 4:54 am

    I think Disney has a lot of classic villains. I find Pixar’s storytelling superior in most every other way, but Pixar villains sometimes strike me as a bit lackluster. My only complaint about The Incredibles was the weak antagonist. Cars’ villain was an utterly formulaic Stuck-Up Rival. I loved the Captain Ahab-like villain of Up, though. Captain Ahab + an airship named the Spirit of Adventure – peg leg = awesome.

  44. ekimmakon 25 Jun 2010 at 4:33 am

    How would you create a plant-based villain without her being a total Poison Ivy ripoff?

  45. ShardReaperon 25 Jun 2010 at 5:54 am

    She could have the ability to create clones through plants? I don’t think that’s been done before.

  46. B. Macon 25 Jun 2010 at 8:30 am

    “How would you create a plant-based villain without her being a total Poison Ivy ripoff?”

    –Different personality?
    –Different background/backstory? (IE: instead of being a scientist, maybe she’s a businesswoman or a rogue cop or something).
    –Different goal? (What she’s trying to do).
    –Different motivation? (Why she’s trying to do it).
    –Different limitations on her abilities and/or resources?
    –Maybe a different relationship between her and the protagonist(s)?

    I think you’ve got your work cut out for you. When I hear “plant-based villainess,” “Poison Ivy ripoff” is the first thing that comes to mind. In particular, how are you going to differentiate the fight scenes?

  47. Lighting Manon 25 Jun 2010 at 9:15 am

    I think another avenue that could be explored is a different relationship between her and the plants. Poison Ivy in most of her “mature” (by which I mean, well-written, non-pinup girl appearances) is a eco-terrorist at heart, she is fighting for the freedom and protection of plants. She can literally talk to them and hear them talk back. She often reacts to incidents in which they are hurt, such as experiments or logging camps.

    She could admire plants just as Ivy does, but feel ostracized and left out or even hated by the plants because of her human side, however large or small that might be. The plants, if you want to go pretty far with it, might even make attempts on her life when she is not actively controlling them. This doesn’t require plants to be aware within your universe, however, as she could be doing it without knowing it. This would lead her crimes a much higher level of desperation and allow you to focus on her attempting to terra-form large areas for the propagation of plants.

    Another direction would be the reversal of the above relationship, she could be highly allergic to plant allergens, had a bad experience with a plant (a car accident?) or any other such thing that might cause hatred and just have a completely negative relationship with the things at her command. This could lead to her committing crimes in which she targets plants, and subsequently human life is caught in the balance.

    Although both of the above examples, I offered suggestions about how they might influence her motivations, there are quite a few ways you could drastically alter her relationship with plants, perceived or real, and use that to differentiate from Poison Ivy, while leaving her motivations wide open.

  48. B. Macon 25 Jun 2010 at 9:32 am

    Good stuff, LM! I like your thinking, particularly the concept of her holding plants in contempt and/or the plants hating their would-be slavemaster. In a garden, plants are hard enough to manage. Let alone the weeds!

  49. Wingson 25 Jun 2010 at 6:03 pm

    I have a plant manipulating hero myself. When I hear “plant manipulator”, I think “down to earth vegetarian hippie”. Therefore, I worked to create the polar opposite of that, and I came up with Synth as he is today: a lover of slasher films and meat who talks to a Venus flytrap. To go by TV Tropes, he is also a Chivalrous Pervert. As the story developed, he also became very laid back and gained a slacker mentality. At the same time, he is arguably one of the most honestly heroic members of the Six, outstripping even Hikari. Not bad, considering his original concept was just a bit part character created to fill out the Six.

    I am in full agreement with Lighting Man’s concepts here, although I’m guessing that creating a villainess who hates her power would have to be well written in order to avoid Wangst and annoying-ness.

    – Wings

  50. B. Macon 25 Jun 2010 at 9:19 pm

    I agree that writing a character that hates her powers is tricky, but I didn’t quite get that LM’s proposed character would hate her powers. I think there’s a subtle difference between hating one’s powers (like plant control) and hating the subject of one’s powers (the plants). I suspect that the first is more likely to cause excessive angst (“why meeeee?”) than the second (“dammit, plants, when I want your opinion I will give it to you!”)

    An example that seems sort of similar to me would be the difference between an athlete that is disgusted by the fans and/or the game and an athlete that hates his athletic talent. (Maybe he’s one of those freakishly tall basketball stars that will probably die of heart failure before the age of 30).

  51. ekimmakon 26 Jun 2010 at 4:30 am

    The original idea I had was that she’s a doctor, and quite friendly actually. For instance, in the middle of a fight, when someone agonizes out loud (“My hand!”) she’d interject instinctively with advice (“I’d recommend diluting the acid with running water”), because the only reason she’s even out being evil is because she’s under another villain’s influence.

    But, I did like a lot of those ideas.

  52. The Standardized Supervillainon 12 Jul 2010 at 8:48 am

    I’ve had a couple of ideas for villains in my head for at least two weeks, so i figured I’d post ’em here and see if they’re workable.

    The first one is Mary-Anne. She’s seven years old, and is equipped with almost every psychic superpower I know of (except astral projection). Her primary motivation is finding someone to play with her (tea-party and the like), and whenever she’s unable to find a playmate, she throws temper tantrums strong enough to level a city.

    The second is Omni. His primary power is power absorption, meaning that by the time the heroes face him, he’s about as powerful as the modern Superman. (My opinion is that if Superman turned evil, nothing in the known universe could stop him. Which is another reason I hate him.) His motivation is kinda cliche, I guess – he wants to completely purge baseline humans (called Normals) from Earth. (I’m not really sure about this villain… I like his powers, though)

    That’s all I have right now. What do ya think?

  53. B. Macon 12 Jul 2010 at 8:58 am

    I think Omni sounds mostly interesting. Not feeling Mary Anne. I think it’s really hard for a child villain to have the emotional and/or logical depth to drive a plot. Unless maybe the kid is prodigally mature? (However, if her main goal is putting together a tea party or something similar, I’m pretty sure that she’s not).

    One slightly more mature goal that comes to mind is that she wants to make the world better and decides that adults are the problem. (Maybe she’s been abandoned by her parents, or they did something that made her run away, or she was really upset that they lied to her or failed her in some way, or is sick of being patronized, etc). Her plan might be to just to inflict some nefarious fate upon everyone older than a particular age.

  54. The Standardized Supervillainon 12 Jul 2010 at 1:53 pm

    i thought up Mary-Anne in a moment of sarcastic abandon. (For some reason, a villain that happens to be a little girl in a pink dress and a pink hair bow really cracked me up.) but i hadn’t been able to come up with a real scheme for her, so i just grabbed the first thing that came to mind.

  55. NicKennyon 12 Jul 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Which is better: A team of supervillians or a lone villian, possibly with one or two lackeys?

  56. B. Macon 12 Jul 2010 at 8:28 pm

    “Which is better: A team of supervillains or a lone villain, possibly with one or two lackeys?” I think this is personal preference, but personally I prefer single villains because they’re easier to develop. Also, villains usually do not get much face-time, so wasting what little they have to introduce a sprawling team of villains is probably not terribly effective.

    I think it might make sense to have a team of supervillains if one of the villains is a point-of-view character. Then having more supervillains would add more room for villain vs. villain conflict.

    Depending on your preferences, you could give the lieutenants and/or henchmen some individual characterization without making them villains in their own right. For example, the villain’s lieutenants are particularly important in the story I’m working on now because the villain starts the story completely inexperienced and unwilling/unable to get his hands dirty.

  57. Rachel Mon 15 Oct 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Shardreaper- There was an episode of Batman when Poison Ivy ~did~ make clones of people. Sorry!

  58. ekimmakon 26 Oct 2010 at 2:58 am

    I ran the major villain for my novel through this test, just to check.

    He’s very competent. When his henchmen fail to do the job and take down the heroes, he does it himself.
    The heroes, with a little cloud cover and luck, can take down the equivalent of a small space-age army, although not all at once.
    Datecrom takes down all the heroes, in less than 20 seconds, without even scratching his armour. He’s only beaten in the end by the trap that was set for him, and even then, it was close.

    I’m not too sure about this one. But he’s definitely not an average evil overlord. Some of his lines, for example:

    Sir? You said you had nothing against free will …” the guard ventured.
    “Yes, I did say something like that, didn’t I?” Datecrom said wearily.
    “Well … why is she still alive? I thought you sentenced her to death twelve years ago.”
    “I didn’t sentence her to an easy death.”

    “What’s the worst they can do?” The Captain asked.
    “Congratulations” Datecrom said cheerily. “You’ve just volunteered to go down and find out.”

    I tried to make it so that his choices are what’s efficient, as opposed to just being evil for evils sake.

    You can’t get more ambitious than world domination. Except possibly universal domination, or chronological domination. Or multi-dimensional domination. He’ll probably get to those later.

  59. Stellaon 30 Oct 2010 at 1:18 pm

    Can a villain be an anti-hero?

  60. Dillanon 30 Oct 2010 at 2:42 pm

    Hey I like that stella, thats an interesting thing.When is an anti hero merely a misunderstood and where is the line that one crosses to becoming a true villain.

  61. B. Macon 30 Oct 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I think many (maybe most) villains-as-main-characters are anti-heroes. Another situation where the villain might be an anti-hero is if (unbeknownst to the protagonist) the villain is actually doing something extremely necessary and stopping him would only make the situation worse.

    For example, if a villain is assembling a doomsday weapon, a hero would probably try to stop him because the villain looks like a maniac bent on destroying the Earth. However, if the “villain” is actually a time-traveler that escaped from a future in which aliens have conquered the Earth, that doomsday device might have been our best chance of deterring the alien invasion.

  62. Lighting Manon 30 Oct 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Another example would be The Punisher, his initial appearance was in Spider-Man, after the death of Gwen Stacey, allied with a minor Spider-Man villain named The Jackal, a creepy child molester in love with the teenage Gwen, that blamed Spider-Man for her death (appropriately, if you consider that she died as a result of his attempt to save her resulting in a broken neck) and convinced The Punisher that Spider-Man was a threat that needed killing.

    The Punisher was acting on good faith, using only the information available to him, and who’s only real fault was not judging creepy green books by their pointy green ears.

  63. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 9:04 am

    PS: I like Magneto, too. I’m not surprised that the X-Men movies come back to him again and again… they don’t have anybody else that fills the Primary Villain role with nearly as much style and flavor. That said, I find it tiresome that he keeps comparing efforts to cure mutants to the Holocaust and annoying that no one else challenges him when he does so.

    Hey don’t you think mr. Sinister would’ve made a good villain. He exhibits all of the traits above with flair. Also I’ve been watching alot of the 90’s early 2000 superhero cartoons. Is it just me or is the writting phenomenally better back then(for animated shows such as batman tas, superman tas, jl, jlu, and x-men tas.) I’ve only recently began to watch them again on youtube, but I love how the writting is so simular to the comic works but dimmed down for a younger audience. Even dimmed down, it still manages to be extreamely entertaining for comic book fans. This is something that I rarily see in todays television the shows aren’t only dimmed down there also dumbed down for the mainstream audience. Either that or they’re written with a new context that makes the comic influence seem, at least to me, non existant. As a kid I admit not truely understanding every aspect of the 90’s cartoons, but rewatching them I find that I not only enjoy them more but I appriciate the likeness to the written material even more.

  64. B. Macon 31 Oct 2010 at 9:26 am

    I think Sinister is missing the human/relatability angle. Magneto’s distrust of humans and reliance on power stem from his traumatic childhood in a German concentration camp, which makes him easier to empathize with.

    In contrast, Sinister seems more one-dimensionally evil. What sort of person calls himself Mr. Sinister? What’s his end-goal? Etc.

  65. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 10:56 am

    Sinister is a genius geneticist, who more than anything wants to see what the x-gene is truely capable of. He was around since Darwin, but believed that current scientists were to bound by ethics to achieve anything truely grand. His desire to create the most powerful mutant stems from a level of god complex to create, new complex life. I mean look at the power behind that, and his methods are ruthless. With no qualms about ruining peoples lives to achieve his goals. He resignates with me more because im into science most notably, genetics. And yeah there may not be a human relatability to his character, but that’s what makes him so great. He’s what science is without bounds and without ethics. Don’t get me wrong I love magneto he’s one of the best villains out there with dr.doom and lex luthor and a few more that are really good. But i’d easily put sinister on that list his ambitions are more originally than most others.

  66. Lighting Manon 31 Oct 2010 at 12:29 pm

    I wouldn’t really say that his ambitions are original at all…That’s the Master Race, the Aryan ideal, the whole Nazi schtick, characters in pursuit of a master race are a dime a dozen, whereas you actually have a likable goal and motivation in Magneto, in that he experienced the horrors of the pursuit of that ideal alongside the persecution of those that are different, and now he’s spent his entire life since fighting against the persecution of others, and by mere happenstance, has inadvertently, began to pursue that same goal of a master race as he became more and more alienated from humanity, giving him a generic goal, but with enough likability and uniqueness, not to mention that twinge of irony, to make it worth it.

    Mr. Sinister is a creepy blue man underling that wants to make a single perfect being to act as the start of a new race, because he thinks power is kinda neat.

    Magneto is a power-crazed man with a horrific past that due to his experiences in pursuit of a life without the fear of his past repeating itself, has become the very thing that he hates the most, and has only ever try to do what he feels is best.

    Mr. Sinister has a measure of style, and certain appealing qualities, but he has never been written with sufficient depth or motivation to excuse the fact that he’s an oddly colored weirdo that wants to steal Cyclops’s sperm.

  67. B. Macon 31 Oct 2010 at 12:42 pm

    Yeah, but who calls himself sinister? That feels cartoonish to me. Even the Nazis thought they were the good guys.

    Normally, I wouldn’t recommend working a word like sinister or evil into a name unless you’re making fun of 1950s names, which did that often. (For example, Dr. Horrible wanted to join the Evil League of Evil). I think it would be stronger writing to use a name that implies evilness without indicating that the character or group thinks of himself/itself as evil.

  68. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 12:47 pm

    Like I said I think magneto is a great Villain(im currently watching astroid M) but to simplify sinisters motivation to the master race theme.. Is not really the point of his character. He embodies ruthless and unethical science. The nazi’s may have been trying to achieve this goal, but even they themselves where bound by shaky ethics. Sinister is the evil scientist unafraid of consquence of his experiments. He dehumanization is a key element to see what science can become when a scientist has no morals. As for get scott’s “seed” yeah thats kinda creepy, but it plays to the characters willingness to create the ultimate mutant, the truest expression of the x-genome. Becoming and underling of apocalyspe also serves his goals so its not entirely one way. All I’m saying is he’s a different type of villain and evil, esspecially when you look deeper than the surface of his villainy.

  69. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Lol i do agree that sinister name is rather over the top, however his name like most comic book characters has meaning beyond just that surface level. There is a story behind it and it plays to the nature of the character. There are several villains with cartoon-like names such as, green goblin, spiderman, lizardman, etc (sorry didn’t mean to only list spiderman characters) plus these comic characters where created when names like these weren’t as goofy to kids. Now as comic books and their audiences start to mature, names like these are a bit silly. But the underlining character’s may not be. Take green goblin for instance didn’t even care about gwen as he dropped her.

  70. B. Macon 31 Oct 2010 at 3:34 pm

    I don’t think Green Goblin or Lizard are nearly as cartoonish. As for Spiderman, I’m not fond of [Animal]-man names (it’s a dated convention), but it’s not as out there as a character naming himself based on his own evilness.

  71. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Hey I need help coming up for a plot for my story after the origin. I’m unsure on how to make the character a hero, anti hero or what ever. At this stage, to put it plainly, I need help 🙂

  72. B. Macon 31 Oct 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Okay, let’s start with what you do know about the character so far. Do any personality traits stick out to you so far? What are a few possible main goals for him/her? What do you know about the villain and his/her plot?

  73. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 7:38 pm

    Sorry for the time had to log off earlier.let’s see, I want him to be a teenager but like peter parker- a young genius. But I truely want to avoid the nerdy kid thing maybe he’s a young college student like 16 or so. Then I want him to have an accident that awakens his latent psychic powers. At first they’d be uncontrolable and wouldn’t work on command. He’d be suseptible to his own illusions and read the minds of those around him. Levitating objects from afar etc. At first believing himself haunted he’d oventually learn to control his powers and become a super hero.

  74. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 8:06 pm

    The other idea was that, michael lawson was a young science tech, he worked under a renown nuclear physicist dr.harlen. Dr.harlen created an experimental particle generator that he believed was a step in completing his life’s work. By harnessing a newly discovered form of cosmic radiation, he could provide a renewable and virtually limitless energy source for the world. Due to the machine accidentally being activated, michael was bombarded with this unque,mutagenic cosmic radiation mutating michael on a genetic level. After spending several weeks in the hospital,as his new psychic powers began regenerating the injuries via molecular manipulation, michael awoke to discover he had these God-like psionic power at a cost, however. The migranes where nearly unbearable and although he had an intuitive understanding of his powers and abilities he was still inexperianced. At tbis early stage he proved dangerous to himself as well as others (unintensionally) his “awakening” led to mental instability as secretes and mysteries of the universe reveil themselves to him on the astral plane. A place he had discovered while recovering. His self identity begins to be consumed as his powers begin to ravage both mind and body. Since his corpreal form poses limitations on his power(tiring, suffering mental an physical fatigue, and all the weaknesses of a normal human being) his powers if unchecked would destroy his body turning him into an incorpreal being. Subconsciously,michael is unable to let go of his form.

    From here im stuck-not sure how he learns to control or deal with his new found powers, or why he would become a hero-still trying to flesh out the basic origin. But this is kinda the direction im going in. Keep in mind that although he’s powerful he is balance by several facters and weaknesses. But I don’t intend on doing a dr.manhattan story at all. Its more vaguely related to jean grey/phoenix.

  75. B. Macon 31 Oct 2010 at 9:26 pm

    I feel a bit more enthused about the initial explanation–the accident–than the Dr. Harlen setup. So far, it seems like the Harlen setup does not have much distinguishing it from any other scientific accident as a source of superpowers. “Newly discovered form of cosmic radiation… virtually limitless energy source for the world… machine accidentally being activated… bombarded with cosmic radiation…” In particular, aspects of it sounded very similar to Dr. Manhattan or Dr. Octopus.

    The main advantage I can think of to inserting Dr. Harlen is that Dr. Harlen is himself a useful and/or interesting character. If his only role is as an origin story for the boy, I think you could remove him without much loss. If you keep him, I’d recommend giving him a more distinct personality and a more distinct role than the scientists we’ve seen before. For example, maybe there’s an antagonist involved somehow, but Lawson doesn’t know it. (IE: maybe Dr. Harlen turned to a criminal group for funding after his original backers pulled out, citing safety concerns or a lack of progress or whatever–I think it’d put a bit of edge on him that otherwise seems to be missing).

    I think it would be very hard to do a sixteen year old in college and also working for a renowned physicist without making the kid a nerd. Especially given that, so far, it doesn’t seem like he has much going on in his life besides college and labwork. (Friends? Romance? Scandal and intrigue? Any recreational interests?) One possibility that might soften the edges on his nerdiness is if he’s really into something where mental firepower rubs shoulders with something exciting and sexy, like gambling or spycraft or vehicle design/mechanics or something else that gets hearts pumping. (Or maybe he has some major interest which has very little to do with being smart).

    The character’s powers might present some obstacles to your writing. I don’t know if a god-like character would work as a main character. Could you do me a favor and write a brief (1-2 page) fight scene featuring this character at about halfway through the novel? I’d like to see what challenges he would face in a fight and how you would depict them.

    I’m reasonably confident that an author could pull it off in a sort of bizarre fashion with an extremely lively imagination. One possibility that comes to mind might be using mentally-imagined battlefields and other mental metaphors. For example, the protagonist might win a fight with a telepath by surviving his way through a mentally-generated maze.

    To be honest, I don’t think even 1% of authors have the requisite conceptual skills and imagination to pull it off…

  76. Dillanon 31 Oct 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Hey I realized that I made a serious mistake. I started with the powers and tried to build everything else around it (plot/character/themes etc). I went back and am now trying to list traits for the character that have nothing to do with his powers at all. My initial mistake was I listed powers I liked and tried to build the story around it. But realizing that in doing so my plots all seem flat and unimagined, simply because there is not much to my character besides the powers i’ve given him. That is why all my synopsis’s have only revolved around how he recieves his powers. I’m trying to train myself out of this way of thinking so bare with me :).

    Out of the traits available i’ve picked these: confident,intellegent,rebellious,adventurous,reserved,impulsive,analytical,and spiritual.
    I wanted enough traits to have him evolve over the course of the story.

    To be honest, I don’t think even 1% of authors have the requisite conceptual skills and imagination to pull it off…

    I know what you mean,at times its a bit difficult and honestly, overwhelming to think up fight scenes, but after doing some research watching how fight scenes are conducted in the 90’s cartoons im sure I can pull it off 😉

    The only thing im truely having difficulty with is how my character would come to have his powers.

  77. B. Macon 01 Nov 2010 at 7:53 am

    Your assessment about the powers so far coming first strikes me as astute. Usually, I’d recommend using powers as only the means to an end (an interesting story), but the powers themselves are rarely interesting, I feel. However, I think that having incredibly powerful powers may open up some plot options that wouldn’t be available to a character with powers more on the level of Wolverine or Batman, so if you wanted to do a story where the character is mainly coming to grips with the limits of his own power, it could work. (*crosses fingers*). More on that later.

    –Generally, I’d recommend focusing on 3 or maybe 4 key traits for a main character. Ideally, 1 flaw that presents major obstacles that he struggles to overcome, and 2-3 assets and/or personality traits that interact in interesting ways. If the traits have a lot of overlap, like intelligent/analytical, I think you could consider them jointly as one trait.

    –Intelligent/analytical sounds a bit staid for a character of this type. In particular, I’m not sure you could tell a story there that feels really distinct from, say, Dr. Manhattan.

    –I think that the superhero angle in this story would probably be most effective if there were some element of conflict between the protagonist and other superheroes. For example, perhaps he gets rejected by or kicked off the local superhero team because his powers end up being too destructive.

    –Rebellious and adventurous sound like an interesting combination, particularly because heroes with incredible powers (like Dr. Manhattan, The Sentry, and Amazo the android after he becomes a hero in Justice League, etc) tend to be rather unadventurous and uneager to use their powers to solve the problems at hand–because if they did, the plot would get finished far too easily. One possible solution is that he’s eager to help even though other characters urge him not to get involved because his powers are too imprecise and potentially destructive. (Another superhero might point out that he’s figuratively armed with only bazookas and atomic bombs in a world where problems are best solved with knives and sometimes pistols). Depending on how you’d you like to use the superheroes, they might even be gunning for the protagonist by the end, thinking that he is at least as liable to destroy the city/world as any of the villains are.

    –One potential conflict: he’s got superpowers and he’s living the dream (celebrity, respect, the sense that he’s doing the right thing) and the plot is about whether he can bring himself to give that up even though it means that villains may go farther than they would have otherwise. If you wanted to, I think you could come up with a novel worth of material (or certainly a short story) about a central plot focused on whether he chooses to actually stay a superhero or give it up for the common good. I hate using this phrase because I think it belittles characters and plots, but it might be a “coming of age story” that’s actually interesting.

    –I’m not sure how analytical-and-impulsive or impulsive-and-reserved or rebellious-and-reserved would be compatible, but I think you could explain the apparent discrepancies if you were inclined to. I could sort of see rebellious-and-reserved as a passive-aggressive guy who chafes at the commands of others but sort of bottles up his discontent. In particular, I think this character would have trouble expressing his disagreements in a healthy way because his position in society is lower than his skills and powers would indicate. (First, he’s a college student much younger than his peers, working for a scientist that could probably replace him pretty easily, and he’s probably the “new guy” among the superheroes of his world and has powers that might get a bit messy, especially before he has had a lot of time to practice them–it seems like he’d get less respect from his peers than he might think he was entitled to). Impulsive and reserved… maybe’s he’s reserved socially but impulsive (i.e. not reserved) in terms of how he makes decisions.

    –One possible solution for the origin story would be figuring out what you want him to do when he has powers and then coming up with an appropriate origin to advance that story. For example, if you were leaning towards the central plot mainly about whether he stays as a superhero or gives it up, I think it could be thematically useful if he got his powers in the same experiment as another would-be superhero. If the person were a rival competing for a spot on a superhero team, you could use the rival to help establish how the superheroes of the city are wary/unreceptive to the protagonist. If the person were a potential villain, you might be able to use that to help establish that the hero wasn’t just an innocent bystander to them getting superpowers. (Perhaps the villain blames the hero for the accident, which might even be accurate).

  78. Dillanon 01 Nov 2010 at 9:47 am

    Thanks, I was really havig trouble here. I want to do a different plot, one that isn’t so center on how he gets his powers and what he does with them. I really want to focus on the person the character is and how his powers affect his day to day life. (you know like a job, relationships,personality,etc). I’m unsure how to do a plausible origin story where the character gets his powers. Oh and for the traits he wouldn’t exhibit all of them:) I just wanted to pick enough for character advancement ( maybe he’d be intellegent,reserved, and confident in his work. Then he’d get his powers and over the course of the story become more adventurous and impulsive. Finally once he comes to understand and control his powers he’d be more analytical and perhaps spiritual.

    The other huge reason I can’t start was that I had wrote a comic book before,which I wrote in class, I liked it but ultimately it had no plot. It was kinda like one large free write where the plot of it wasn’t leading anywhere. Thats why i’m so bent on plot the story out so when I write it leads some where. But this has also made my stories very liniar and flat very A-b-c without much developement of the world,characters,etc. For the longest time i’ve built the story around the powers my character has intend of the character itself. So im gonna try and build the story around the character and see where I get.

  79. ekimmakon 24 Jan 2011 at 3:58 am

    Ok, having a bit of trouble looking at my villain. Need a bit of advice.

    Stagecast is a magician supervillain. He uses magic tricks and illusions to confound the police and superheroes alike. Where these fail, he uses his loyal and acrobatic henchgirl Miss Direction to bash anyone who could be a problem. He does things in a flashy manner, trying to make as many people notice him as possible, but calling him ‘cliche’ is likely to get your head blown off.

    I’m finding it a bit tricky with the ambition side. I can’t come up with a suitably interesting goal for him to achieve. ‘Get great headlines’ would be more of a side bonus, he needs a primary goal to achieve. Any tips?

  80. B. Macon 24 Jan 2011 at 5:27 am

    “‘Get great headlines’ would be more of a side bonus, he needs a primary goal to achieve.” Getting headlines is nice, but maybe his goal is to become a legend. Also, he may feel that he was never particularly respected as a magician (even if he were the best magician), but people fear/respect criminals.

    He may also be settling a series of personal scores. For example, if you wanted to do assassination plots, maybe he starts killing a series of people that he feels have wronged him in the past. (For example, an ex-partner that screwed him, a reviewer that hated the act, a professional skeptic like the Amazing Randi, a girlfriend that left him for a professional athlete or another highly respected type of entertainer, etc). Each kill ratchets up the tension and puts pressure on the heroes (and maybe the police) to figure out who the next target is, identify the villain, and save any remaining victims.

    On a minor side-note, I would recommend renaming Miss Direction unless the work is supposed to sound retro. I like Stagecast, though.

  81. Nicholas Caseon 02 Mar 2011 at 8:15 pm

    Okay, please reply. This is when Haden discusses his true intentions with his younger brother. Is it good?

    Chapter 11: The Talk

    “Brethren, I need to talk to you.” Haden said when his brother passed by his office. The door creaked open, the fireplace flickered from the gentle breeze.

    “Yes brother-I mean sir.” Pheonos shivered.

    “Sit down, let’s talk.” Haden said kicking his feet up on the coffee table. Pheonos crept towards the table in turmoil. He sat down in the comfy leather chair; Haden could feel how nervous he was.

    “Lately you’ve been acting strange, so we should talk.” Haden said. He wished he could take that back. He knew as soon as he said that his brother would probably have a heart attack. When Haden said those words, it meant, “Time for you to die.”

    “I-I-I did-dn’t mean t-to do anyt-thing wrong.” He stammered.

    “Please brother, tell me what’s wrong.” Haden insisted.

    “I…I think that it’s wrong that you took over the world for publicity.” He admitted. He twiddled his thumbs and closed his eyes expecting to be killed.

    “It wasn’t for publicity…I wanted to start fresh. I wanted there to be a real world peace.” Haden revealed.

    “World peace? How can you have world peace if you do it un-peacefully?” Pheonos wanted to know.

    “What am I supposed to do? Gather all the world leaders and convince them to let me rule the world? Mankind is so selfish-wars over oil, water, land. It would be much simpler to share the resources rather than fighting and killing for it. The main people who start these wars don’t even fight. They stay behind closed doors and wait for a report.” Haden said. He took his feet from the coffee table and looked intently at Pheonos.

    “But you killed an entire continent over this ‘world peace’.” Pheonos pointed out.

    “Like I said, Mankind is selfish. It takes the shed of blood before they even think about beginning to consider an idea.” Haden countered. Haden waited for him to part his lips and say something but he was too excited. “Why do you think police officers carry weapons? Without pain, there is no respect. Could you get a child to do what you say if you didn’t give them any form of punishment? No you couldn’t.” Haden said. He decided to wait for Pheonos’s reply.

    “You do make a point, but was destroying Eurasia necessary?” Pheonos said.

    “If you think about it, the word weapon can be roughly summarized to weep upon. There has to be sorrow, mourning, pain, suffering, and anguish-anything negative to get a point across. Besides, with all these wars, mankind would’ve destroyed the world anyways. Plus, about 5% of people from every nationality on Eurasia was sent to the second moon.” Haden pointed out.

    “But what about those people that ‘disappeared’ from North America-were they sent too?” Pheonos said.

    “Yes they were.” Haden replied.

    “Well, why would you ask Dunimas to take the girl that you are 100% sure will keep your rule?” He insisted.

    “Seven years of my reign and threatening to kill them all-I think my best weapon now is my reputation.” Haden pointed out.

    “But, you seem so different. You act like your pure evil around others.” Pheonos said.

    “My reputation is more than words now, it’s a different me. When people play poker, do you think they are all happy and perky? No. They look like they will kill you right then and there. It’s more than a face, it’s the attitude.”

    “One last thing, aren’t you afraid that Dunimas might train Arre if he does learn how to fight? She could destroy us in seconds and doesn’t even know it.” Pheonos pointed out. Haden figured he’d ask that.

    “Arre wouldn’t do it. She’s pure of heart-born of one pure evil. Dunimas won’t have to guts to force her to do it, and my son is to prideful to make a little girl do his bidding.” He pointed out.

    “Sir! There are slaves escaping! What is your course of action?” said Haden’s assistant.

    “We’ll finish this later.” Haden said to Pheonos as he left to go tend to the situation at hand.

  82. Ghoston 03 Mar 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Interesting dialogue. I really like Haden’s take on evil world domination. He gives some compelling reasons for mass murder and tyranny. That being said, there are some editorial and mechanical issues with the passage. First, “brethren” is a plural noun, so when Haden calls to Pheonos he should say “brother.” Second, most people consider eurasia to be a supercontinent rather then a continent, but I figured I might point it out. Haden, says “I need to talk to you” and then says “sit down, lets talk.” Those two statements are kind of redunant. As such, you might want to drop one of them. Finally, I think with a little polish this passage could be very good.

  83. Anonymouson 03 Mar 2011 at 8:34 pm

    I see what you mean by the redundancy. Also Haden really isn’t evil-just has one crazy idea and exploits it upon the world. About Eurasia, I didn’t put Europe and Asia because it was too wordy and Eurasia means the same thing. Would you rather use “I do not understand how to execute the requested task, could you please repeat it?” or “Say what?”? Most likely (unless you’re *ahem*Bella*ahem*.) you would choose the latter one. I don’t know if you ever read it, but Haden told Dunimas himself that he didn’t like killing people if he didn’t accomplish a task other than killing the person. It’s like this, behind closed doors there’s a good Haden and when not, the pure evil one takes the throne.

  84. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Oops! Anonymous was me. Sorry! ^

  85. Ghoston 03 Mar 2011 at 8:42 pm

    I would just pick either europe or asia. This is the first peice of your work that I have had a chance to read so all of my comments are limited to just what I gathered from this piece.

  86. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 8:47 pm

    Anyways, my writing’s not too good-generally around dialogue. I think I should work on giving the readers more actions when they talk (Like when I said Haden kicked his feet upon the table.).

  87. Ghoston 03 Mar 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Actually, I would say that for the most part your dialogue is good. I think you should work on the tags ( the “he said”s and the information about what the characters are doing while talking). The only thing I would recommend that you work on with your dialogue is the syntax of your characters. Sometimes the way you order the words seems strange to me. Of course, thats not a bad thing. I mean, Yoda had a funny syntax but he is probably the most memorable character from Star wars.

  88. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 9:17 pm

    What do you mean the way I order them?

  89. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 9:24 pm

    Well, I can see why. But Haden talks like that. Dunimas talks more casual along with most of the other protags. Well- Haden’s an antagonist.

  90. Ghoston 03 Mar 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Sometimes your word choice or the way you order your words seems strange to me. For example, Haden says “It takes the shed of blood before they even think about beginning to consider an idea.” Now it may just be me, but I think that sentence should be reworded either one of two way:
    “It takes blood shed before they even begin to consider an idea”
    “It takes the shedding of blood before they even begin to consider an idea.”
    I am not in any way a master of english grammer, so I cannot really tell you the technical reasons for why you original sentence sounds strange to me. Maybe someone else on the site could explain it better than I could.

  91. Ghoston 03 Mar 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Hey Nick, do you have a forum? Because if you dont, then you should ask B. Mac to set you up one.

  92. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Yeah. The first sentence was like that because it’s like people won’t even think about even beginning to consider an idea. I don’t know if there is a technical term, but it’s were you add another cutting word into a phrase that already cuts. For example,
    “I think I may sort of began to somewhat feel a little better…maybe?”

  93. Nicholas Caseon 03 Mar 2011 at 9:54 pm

    oh, here’s my forum.


  94. Comicbookguy117on 20 Mar 2011 at 7:38 pm

    This question is open to anyone with an opinion. Ok so I’m currently developing an entire comic book universe by myself. And it’s coming along nicely. But I’ve recently run into a bit of a hitch. So I’m developing a human vigilante hero and I’ve got a few ideas for villains but not enough. So, finally, here’s my question. What’s the easiest way to get inspiration for human supervillains. I mean coming up with superpowered supervillains is way easier for me because I’ve got a power to build a character around. So does anyone have any suggestions on how to gather inspiration on creating human supervillains?

  95. Echoon 13 Apr 2011 at 1:51 pm


    What do you guys think of a villain who wants to “purify” society while having minimum human casualties? My story is set in a midieval-type area, and my idea is that he would start revolutions from the common people. His rationale is that destroying the top person doesn’t really mean anything if the people don’t accept you, so he tries to do the opposite. He also plans to put someone else in charge but he would have the power to remove them if he felt they were abusing their authority ( as he feels the current leaders are doing). In his mind, he thinks he is uncorrubtable.

    Thanks for the help!!


  96. B. Macon 13 Apr 2011 at 4:04 pm

    “My story is set in a medieval-type area, and my idea is that he would start revolutions from the common people. ” That’s a bit interesting, particularly compared to the evil monarchs that are so common for medieval fantasy villains.

    “He also plans to put someone else in charge but he would have the power to remove them if he felt they were abusing their authority… in his mind, he thinks he is incorruptible.” For a real world analogue, that sounds like like the relationship of the Ayatollah of Iran to his President.

  97. ekimmakon 23 Apr 2011 at 6:00 am

    Ok, I’d like to know if the villainess that I’m considering using in my sequel is any good. Just remember, this came into my head about half an hour ago, and was written down about three minutes ago.

    Jet Witch shook her head in disbelief as she watched Zach get back up to his feet.
    “Just how many walls did you hit?” she asked.
    Zach straightened out his back. “Judging from my bruises? All of them.”
    “Well, it serves you right. Shouldn’t have grappled my glider.”
    “In all honesty, I didn’t even know I could do that. I was trying to shoot you down.”
    “Is that so, huh?” She tilted her head, considering this new revelation.
    “Ok, forget that you were trying kill me, and I just smeared you across half the city, I think we can help each other out here.”
    Zach folded his arms sceptically.
    “See, I made this hover glider myself. I can help you understand your powers. And I’ll bet I’m easier to get along with than those other freaks back there.”
    “What do you get out of it?” Zach asked.
    “Well, I learn how your powers work. I may be able to use that to come up with some new inventions, or even upgrade this gear. I’ll find something to get from this, I’m very resourceful. So what do you say?” she asked, holding out her hand.

    Zach turned away, honestly considering it. She seemed much easier to get along with than most of the others, and she was quite nice to look at. But …
    He turned back to Jet Witch, shaking his head.
    “Heroic conscious troubling you?” She guessed.
    “Well, yeah,” Zach agreed. “But mostly I don’t work with Goths. Or at least the psycho ones.”
    “You know something?” She asked, flying back a few metres, letting dark energy gather in her hands. “I’m glad you refused. I don’t know how long I could stand someone like you.” And with that, she blasted him off the rooftop.

    Zach smashed into the side of a nearby building, leaving a noticeable dent in the concrete. He fell three stories worth before getting tangled in some power lines, and electrocuted. After that, he fell another story and smashed into the front of a limousine. He turned his head over, glancing at Winston, who looked surprised to say the least.
    “Believe it or not, that isn’t the worst thing a girl’s done to me after I’ve turned her down.” Zach said, before blacking out.

  98. ekimmakon 23 Apr 2011 at 6:01 am

    I did consider having Zach say the Pangaean equivalent of a cluster F bomb after landing, (That creeking termite-ridden slunk of a witch!), but I like this better.

  99. B. Macon 23 Apr 2011 at 12:12 pm

    “I’d like to know if the villainess that I’m considering using in my sequel is any good.” It’s hard to tell from this scene, but their unusual relationship sounds sort of promising.

    One aspect that jarred me a bit was how cordial they seemed from the very beginning, even though they’ve been fighting. (Admittedly, the most serious hit appears to have been caused by him grabbing her glider rather than either beating the other up).

    “…forget that you were trying kill me, and I just smeared you across half the city, I think we can help each other out here.” I could sort of see this transformation conceivably being believable, but it happens really quickly here.

    “heroic conscious” should be “heroic conscience.”

    –I like the sort of ambivalent relationship between them. His refusal and her response were pretty fresh, as was his final line.

  100. ekimmakon 23 Apr 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I’ll give a bit of context on the scene.

    Jet Witch was testing her new glider tech by robbing a bank. Zach (and some of the others, I’m thinking the ones he can’t stand) arrive to stop her, but pretty much fail. When she tries to escape, he attempts to shoot her down… only to find his powers work differently on electronics. She thinks that he intended to grab on, and so takes advantage of physics to smash him around. They hold this conversation after he breaks away. She’s polite about it because she knows he can’t fight. He’s polite back because he’s trying to come up with a witty insult (He’s like that with everyone).

    About the only problem I see is lack of ambition. All Jet Witch wants is to test her inventions, which isn’t exactly wide-scale panic worthy. Any suggestions?

  101. Basketball4ever55on 25 Apr 2011 at 9:56 pm

    Hey does havoc sound like a good villain name? And rubix as a hero name?

  102. B. Macon 25 Apr 2011 at 11:44 pm

    I like Havoc better than Rubix.

  103. Phishy042on 27 Apr 2011 at 11:08 am

    New writer here.

    I am starting a story/novel that parodies your stereotypical superhero storyline, that centers around the life of two friends beginning a career as Henchmen.

    Since the henchmen are the main protagonists, and actual heroes of the story, I am trying to make the Superhero (a cookie-cutter superman), although a just do-gooder, unlikeable. He has no regard/trust for our Justice system and gets overly physical with “bad guys”.

    On the counter side, I need the reader to disagree, but sympathize with the Super-villain (a cookie-cutter “mad” scientist). Originally a chemist working on top secret formulas, stole materials to bring home and work on a side project. After a small explosion, his workshop is mistaken for a meth-lab, and the super hero lays waste to the shop, leaving the villain on the brink of death and full of hatred for the hero.

    Granted the story mainly revolves around the two Henchmen, it is completely relies on the actions of the Superhero and Super-villain, so i need to get them right, before i continue on with my story.

    Any feedback is appreciated!

  104. B. Macon 27 Apr 2011 at 12:51 pm

    “On the counter side, I need the reader to disagree, but sympathize with the Super-villain (a cookie-cutter “mad” scientist). Originally a chemist working on top secret formulas, stole materials to bring home and work on a side project. After a small explosion, his workshop is mistaken for a meth-lab, and the super hero lays waste to the shop, leaving the villain on the brink of death and full of hatred for the hero.”

    If it’s important that the reader sympathizes with the supervillain, it might help if the misunderstanding on the hero’s part were greater. Right now, the hero mistakes one illegal operation (a lab working with stolen materials) for another (a meth lab). It might be funnier if you made the hero’s mistake larger. For example, if Dr. Professor were brewing something like an experimental treatment for childhood leukemia and the superhero somehow mistook that for a meth lab, it could be a very entertaining origin story for the villain.

  105. Basketball4ever55on 27 Apr 2011 at 8:41 pm

    What would be a good name for a planet that is several eons more advanced than earth and trains new people with powers?

  106. Phishy042on 27 Apr 2011 at 9:40 pm

    Ty for the input so quick! Love this site btw. Perfect.

    I originally wanted him to be doing it for someone close to him with some sort of disease that could benefit from his work. I nixed that idea, because i don’t want to complicate his life as he is not the main character, and a mere force to drive plot and development. Also, i don’t know much about medicine and diseases that might benefit from something like this.

    I figured making him work on something just to get rich and famous, or powerful, would make him more sinister. As well as make the superhero Just in thwarting him. In order to make the story work, i need the superhero to be loved by the city people, but make the reader feel disdain. He has to be evil at heart, but feel the superhero is doing good the wrong way and needs to be held accountable.

    The serum he was working on, has a short term effect of healing bad wounds. Allows for multiple beatings from the superhero. It has a permanent side effect of an incredibly mundane yet extremely fun superpower. i.e. i really want the main character to have the ability to generate and throw coconuts. The reason the power is so mundane, is because he doesnt believe anyone should be all powerful after witnessing it first hand from the superhero, and doesnt want to be responsible if someone he creates gets out of control.

    (btw just being able to project ideas out to someone else is helping tremendously already! keeps the brain juice rolling!)

  107. GaelicGirlon 12 May 2011 at 10:42 am

    Whenever I write a superhero story, my friends tell me that I’ve ‘humanised’ the villain too much, and he isn’t dislikeable enough. Could anyone help me with this?

  108. B. Macon 12 May 2011 at 5:56 pm

    Two possibilities come to mind, Gaelic Girl. One, the villain’s goal might not be threatening enough. If so, the stakes aren’t high enough and it wouldn’t really matter whether the hero beats the villain or not. Utter death and destruction doesn’t have to be on the line, but something that really matters to the main character(s) should be threatened. For example, antagonist Captain Hammer won’t blow up protagonist Dr. Horrible’s world, but he IS a douche dating the only woman Horrible cares about and he’s one of the main obstacles to Horrible’s bid to join an elite team of supervillains.*

    Two, the story bends over backwards to tell readers that he’s nice but nobody is buying it. If the character’s niceness/humanity is inconsistent with what we’ve seen of him/her elsewhere, the niceness may feel artificial. (Warning sign: the villain is markedly nicer to the hero than anybody else for no good reason–if so, the writer may be pulling the villain’s punches).

    *You know you’ve made the big time when David Bowie and a nontalking horse with a chorus are your teammates.

  109. Klutzon 13 May 2011 at 2:05 pm

    One of my villains, Syphon, has the ability to absorb other people’s powers. He has a black discoloration that appears on his body when his power first manifests. When using his ability, the black mark travels through his hand and briefly into his target, stealing their ability. The effect is only temporary and the powers transfer back to their original owner after a while. After gaining this ability, he is driven mad by the power, as it has has an effect on his psyche. Is this a good basis for a villain?

  110. B. Macon 13 May 2011 at 3:49 pm

    –Going mad could be interesting. What sort of effect did it have on his psyche? (For example, Green Goblin became a paranoid schizophrenic, but there are other ways people can snap).

    –What are you planning on doing with the black mark? I think the black mark traveling into the target sounds like it could be cheesy.

  111. Klutzon 14 May 2011 at 5:42 pm

    -I was thinking schizophrenia or possibly just having him go mad.
    -As for the black mark, I was planning for him to touch his target and have the “blackness” flow into the target and turning a small area around where he is touching to turn black. The victim’s skin returns to normal and Syphon gains their ability for a brief amount of time. I am also thinking of having the mark having a different location on his skin depending on the power, such as on his arms for enhanced strenth or around his eyes for optic blasts.

  112. ElJaleoon 14 May 2011 at 5:59 pm

    I agree with B. Mac. Cheesy.
    (Besides that, he sounds very similar to the captain of the stealth force from Bleach. The girl with the poison claw. Soy-Phone. You know, black butterflies on victim…yah..)

    So I have this idea for a villain who wants something cliche, power. Just for the sake of having power. Very weak, I know. Any ideas for making his thirst for power original and believable?
    (He needs to have the appearance of being a very strong villain, but in reality he is being manipulated by a greater evil. Oh yeah, he’s also the one responsible for creating that evil. Cheesy?)

  113. Ragged Boyon 14 May 2011 at 7:09 pm

    Oh, I don’t think it sounds that much like Soifon’s two-hit-kill claw. It sounds more like Rogue with ‘blackness’ instead of gross veins.

  114. Klutzon 16 May 2011 at 12:37 pm

    I had never heard of this Soy-Phone character before. Thanks for telling me. I guess my character needs to be edited a lot more. Thanks for the constrictive criticism. What if I remove the whole ‘blackness’ thing and give him the power to absorb a person’s powers but only about 50% percent of its strength. He can absorb two people’s powers at one time and combine them if needed.

  115. EvilpixieAon 16 May 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Villains! My favorite part of… so much! I am a firm believer that a villain effectively makes the story. You can have the greatest superhero known to man, the greatest world and a head full of ideas… but if you don’t have a villain that can match that hero and even knock him down a couple of peg then you’re in trouble.

    My suggestion: get inside your villains head. Become the villain. Understand their reasons, motives and deeper flaws and layers of perception. Why? Because every character is a reflection of the author and/or how the author perceives things and it will make for a better character. But that’s just my opinion.

    I adore:
    The Joker, Magneto, Dr. Doom, Venom, Riddler, Poison Ivy (and a whole bunch more of the Batman rouge’s gallery come to think of it).

  116. Freshon 30 May 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Question is a villain who’s only out to abuse their powers, and kill others with powers that can potentially harm them a bad villain if they have a goal?

    Wipe out people who can potentially wipe them out so they can continue enjoying their lives? If so what kind of goals can you give a villain like that?

  117. B. Macon 30 May 2011 at 5:29 pm

    “Question is a villain who’s only out to abuse their powers, and kill others with powers that can potentially harm them a bad villain if they have a goal?” If they’re ONLY out to abuse their powers (without any higher goal), I feel like they probably would be disappointing as major villains. I think they’d probably be more interesting and dangerous/threatening if they had some sort of goal driving them.

    These characters didn’t wake up thinking “Hey, today I’m going to abuse my powers!” or “Hey, today I’m gonna be evil!”, right? Nobody thinks like that, even irredeemably evil people. So how do they think about it?

    PS: Have I linked to 15 Interesting Motivations for Villains and Heroes?

  118. Estheron 30 Jun 2011 at 10:59 am

    Hey, it’s me again.

    I’ve got a dilemma. I’m doing my story as an
    on going one and I’m submitting it soon to metahumanpress.com.

    I have already killed off the villain in the previous story but in the sequel to it I’m adding a villian who has connections to the other one, the father who has connections to the main villian in the previous story has died a few years previously, and the son is a playboy-ish type of businessman who owns the tabloid rag that is pretty popular in the town.

    Now how does main villain #1 connect with this guy? It seems that his powers are derived from a meteor rock experimentation that went out of hand. Oh! And the heroine isn’t exactly a metahuman. She’s not even human. Turns out her dad is Ultimate Man not the reformed villain who turns out to be her step dad. Ultimate Man is a sort of Superman-like hero. (read: he’s an alien. A humanoid-looking alien.)

    Now, her real dad’s powers are kicking in and her co-workers-more specifically- a private Eye on her Girlfriend’s squad is getting suspicious about her.

    I want to make both of them a bit coy, suspicious about the heroine in different ways (the playboy guy plays it smarmy and the P.I. confrpnting the main character on her whereabputs without getting too personal) and of course, make the readers feel like the heroine should investigate them.

  119. Estheron 30 Jun 2011 at 11:04 am

    Sorry, re-editing… Found out there were typos. Oops!

    Here’s the edited version:

    # Estheron 30 Jun 2011 at 10:59 am
    Hey, it’s me again.

    I’ve got a dilemma. I’m doing my story as an
    on going one and I’m submitting it soon to metahumanpress.com.
    I have already killed off the villain in the previous story but in the sequel to it I’m adding a villian who has connections to the other one, the father who has connections to the main villian in the previous story has died a few years previously, and the son is a playboy-ish type of businessman who owns the tabloid rag that is pretty popular in the town.

    Now how does main villain #1 connect with this guy? It seems that his powers are derived from a meteor rock experimentation that went out of hand via the playboy’s wealthy daddy.

    Oh! And the heroine isn’t exactly a metahuman. She’s not even human. Turns out her dad is Ultimate Man not the reformed villain who turns out to be her step dad. Ultimate Man is a sort of Superman-like hero. (read: he’s an alien. A humanoid-looking alien.)

    Now, her real dad’s powers are kicking in and her co-workers-more specifically- a private Investigator on her Girlfriend’s squad (hired by her GF’s father-mind you) is getting suspicious about her.
    I want to make both of them a bit coy, suspicious about the heroine in different ways (the playboy guy plays it smarmy and the P.I. confronting the main character on her whereabouts without getting too personal) and of course, make the readers feel like the heroine should investigate them.

  120. Estheron 30 Jun 2011 at 11:16 am


    Hold on a minute… Another typo… Dang it!

    Sorry, about that.

    Here it is-again:

    Hey, it’s me again.

    I’ve got a dilemma. I’m doing my story as an
    on going one and I’m submitting it soon to metahumanpress.com.
    I have already killed off the villain in the previous story but in the sequel to it I’m adding a villian who has connections to the other one, the father who has connections to the main villian in the previous story has died a few years previously, and the son is a playboy-ish type of businessman who owns the tabloid rag that is pretty popular in the town.

    Now how does main villain #1 connect with this guy? It seems that his powers are derived from a meteor rock experimentation that went out of hand via the playboy’s wealthy daddy.

    Oh! And the heroine isn’t exactly a metahuman. She’s not even human. Turns out her dad is Ultimate Man not the reformed villain who turns out to be her step dad. Ultimate Man is a sort of Superman-like hero. (read: he’s an alien. A humanoid-looking alien.)

    Now, her real dad’s powers are kicking in and her co-workers-more specifically- a private Investigator on her Girlfriend’s squad (hired by her GF’s father-mind you) is getting suspicious about her.

    I want to make both of them a bit coy, suspicious about the heroine in different ways (the playboy guy plays it smarmy and the P.I. confronting the main character on her whereabouts without getting too personal) and of course, make the readers feel like the heroine should investigate them.

  121. Chihuahua0on 24 Jul 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Wow, now I want to dig that “plant-based villian that hates her powers” idea and put her in my general “light superhero” idea (as supposed to Precision, my grittier idea). Now, all I need is a hero and I can create an outline that I may use for my NaNoWriMo.

  122. Don 25 Jul 2011 at 11:34 am

    when i try to create a villain they are either too gimmicky or when i try to make them serious too gruesome i have to create at least fifty villains for the series i’m writing because its an anthology comic book like detective or action comics i have 10 heroes each one of my issues will have five of the heroes in it in five or ten page stories i need villains for each hero and villains that can fight many of my heroes because its all set in the same city

  123. invader-mynaon 25 Jul 2011 at 12:09 pm

    I don’t think you need one villain for each one of your heroes, you’d overload on characters. (I also don’t think you need ten heroes–that’s a ton, five will suit you much better. And it’ll be easier for readers to keep straight, but that’s up to you.) Most good villains are competent enough that they can take five heroes, ten heroes, they can take them down easily, and that’s why they’re such a threat–especially if one character will, at some point, have to go up against that kind of villain alone.

  124. Don 25 Jul 2011 at 12:56 pm

    well some of the stories are connected but some are are just stories about everyday superhero stuff for each character i plain to rotate between the heroes for each issue about 45 to 50 pages and 5 to 10 stories per issue every 3 months

  125. Marquison 21 Jan 2012 at 10:34 am

    Would Mave be a good antagonist? I want him to be a psycho but I want him to be dangerously clever. For example in my story I want him to let Christian,Remy,and maybe Rue to escape from the junkyard even though he could have easily dispatched them all. In his eyes I want him to think it’ll make things even more exciting in the future.

  126. Comicbookguy117on 21 Jan 2012 at 11:58 am

    If I may be honest. I never understand that mentality for a villain. If they can kill the heroes, than do it and be done with it. But to just let them go seems disappointing somehow. There are exceptions of course, such as honorable villains, a deal being struck or perhaps a foretold battle. But in a normal superhero/supervillain fight, it should take an aweful lot of convincing for that to happen. If it can happen at all. I don’t mean to offend and maybe I am speaking out of turn, being that I have no idea about the personality of Mave. Maybe he’s the kind of psychotic hunter that enjoys the chase more than the kill, you know? I’m just saying if this situation happens, there should be a worthwhile reason.

  127. B. McKenzieon 21 Jan 2012 at 2:10 pm

    “In his eyes I want him to think it’ll make things even more exciting in the future.” As a reader/prospective editor, one major concern I’d have here is that this makes it obvious that he will NEVER actually stop the heroes because, if he ever had the chance, he’d think it was more interesting to keep the game going. This means that the heroes have essentially no chance of failing and makes the ending a foregone conclusion.

    Some alternatives that come to mind:
    –He inflicts some fate he sees as worse than death on the heroes. (For example, some supervillains might see stealing somebody’s superpowers as worse than death).
    –The heroes escape through their own means. It’s more impressive and dramatic than having the villain let them go.
    –The villain releases the heroes with some villainous and rational goal in mind.

    If the villain just lets them go because it’s convenient to the plot or because the author wants/needs the heroes to win, I would personally lean towards declining the manuscript.

  128. Morpheus & Prometheuson 28 May 2012 at 10:42 am

    Hello again!! B.Mac, I need your help. First, I changed the title of my work from “The Shadow Self” to “The Asylum of the Mind”.

    Second, my main character is Jack Forbes and he clashes with once again with an old enemy by the name of Galen Ellsworth Kaufman (three names usually indicates bad news). And Kaufman is a man who, like Forbes, can manipulate dreams. But Forbes and Kaufman aren’t the only ones who can do that. There are several others with that power.

    Now, Kaufman believes the world has become an evil and despicable place that must be purged. And, throughout the story, he speaks of a paradise he sees in his dreams (a paradise he intends to realize). So, he starts to set about making his dreams a reality by destroying what is. But he has to kill the only people who pose any threat to him: His fellow dreamers (like Forbes).

    Does Kaufman seem to have enough style, competence, and ambition that you’d consider him to be a solid villain?

  129. B. McKenzieon 28 May 2012 at 5:54 pm

    M&P, I don’t know enough about his style and competence to say (and would want to see those in the story proper), but his ambition sounds interesting.

  130. Port 2 Porton 04 Jul 2012 at 6:58 pm

    One of my personal favorite villains was from a late-nineties show called “The Pretender”: His name is Mr. Lyle.

    What so cool about him is that he begins life as an adopted child on a farm by the name of Bobby Bowman. During his teens, his father Lyle Bowman (whom had Bobby address as “Mister”) abused him and locked him up in a toolshed (which was the same size as a prison cell). Bobby gets his revenge by killing his best friend, cutting off his head, and leaving his body to rot for a while. Then, he places the rotted corpse in his father’s pick-up truck and disappears for several years (which results in an investigation on the homicide, but gets Lyle arrested because the police believe that he killed Bobby; the combination of the homicide and Lyle’s arrest drives Bobby’s adoptive mother insane).

    Later, Bobby emerges under the alias of Mr. Lyle (a character so mysterious that the show’s main antagonist, Mr. Raines, referred to him as “the boogeyman”). Lyle proves to be brilliant and competent in his work to capture Jarod (the show’s protagonist).

    The only stupid decision Mr. Lyle makes is when he allies himself with the Yakuza Gang after using a simulation Jarod invented to kidnap an innocent woman. After Jarod rescued her, he set Lyle up to look as if he’d crossed the Yakuza. As a result, he was punished by the Yakuza by having his left thumb cut off.

    But other than that, Mr. Lyle is a great villain. He’s a genius, cunning, sinister, and mysterious. He was able to fake his death twice on the show (using a decapitated, decayed body to thwart the forensics). And he had access to several of Jarod’s secrets and his past, and was even responsible for the death of Jarod’s brother, Kyle (played by “Burn Notice”‘s Jeffery Donovan).

  131. Slickon 26 Jul 2012 at 2:31 pm

    B.Mac, I have a question regarding villains and cliches: You how villains capture the heroes rather than kill them?

    Well, I remember you wrote somewhere that we should give our villains a reason for sparing the hero. Well how about this: I’m working on a villain who captures the hero, but spares him.

    The reason being this: There’s a group of bigger, unseen villains (who kinda stick to the shadows) who want the hero alive, or the villain dead (the despise the villain, so they’ll take either option). So the villain spares the hero’s life because it’s his bargaining chip in the negotiation with the heroes.

  132. Slickon 26 Jul 2012 at 2:32 pm

    How does that sound?

  133. B. McKenzieon 26 Jul 2012 at 2:47 pm

    Very sharp, Slick. I like it!

  134. Neilon 01 Aug 2012 at 6:46 pm

    The villain I have for my story, while interesting, I have some reservations about. Having said that, I would appreciate some feedback on the matter. In that regard allow me to begin:

    The lead villain, or should I villainess is named Miranda Yamamoto. She, like Derek, my protagonist, was apart of the Adjudicators, a mystical order who’s goal is to defend the numerous realms.

    In any event, she was from earth and was considered the best of the best, earning top marks from comrades and Magistrates, the council who lead the order. Alas, she obviously defected the order and such established the Knights of Partisan, a group whose goal is the complete destruction of Earth.

    Now I know what most people are thinking; worldwide destruction is a common goal and isn’t anything fresh.

    HOWEVER, Miranda’s reason is, at least in my view, is realistic. She eventually comes to Derek and reveals WHY she wants destruction of the planet: to save all of reality.

    It is revealed that when under the order she went on a mission, whose goal was to protect a group of people who were seers.

    To make a long story short, she eventually gains there power and foresees the future. In it, a group of powerful beings, known as The Heralds, are seen.

    There overwhelming power and strength not only leads to the destruction of earth, but all of reality and the Adjudicators are powerless.

    In essence, she deduces the Heralds come from Earth. When the Adjudicators (who were considered to be unknown) are revealed there is much skepticism. This mostly from the US government.

    Fearing these supposed “invaders”, they genetically construct four humans with the powers of Adjudicators (coming from life spheres, items which give them their powers) and other methods.

    To again make a long story short, these entities of course rebel against the humans and proceed to annihilate.

    Miranda, having deduced all of this, became horrified by the events. Thus, she lost her trust in humanity, believing they are barbarians and such it was there fear and hate that caused such a disaster.

    It is in her view she’d believed by destroying the human race, she could prevent the creation of the Heralds and save the universe.

    Her view towards humans also made her jaded towards life, seeing it as one step towards total annihilation.

    So how’s that as a motivation? Again, I tired to explore altruistic purposes for wanting the destruction of the planet for a grander cause.

    I am open to suggestions.

  135. aharrison 02 Aug 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I need a little supervillain help. I have some of the basics. I know what sort of villain I want, what he can do, and I know what he’s up to. I just need some help fleshing him out a bit.

    I want him to have some kind of persuasion and charisma oriented ability. As a side effect, he can seem to disappear. What he’s really doing is persuading you to look elsewhere and taking advantage of the distraction to slip away, but it’s effectively like disappearing. He’s also able to persuade people to go along with him. The things he asks you to do just seem so reasonable that it’s very hard to see the crazy in them. Like hypnosis, he’s limited in that he can’t make you go dead against your inclinations, but he is very good at finding out where your inclinations lie and making his own goals and yours seem to lie at common purpose. Did I say very good? I meant a master.

    As a reasult, he’s able to build an army of willing followers easily and he’s also able to subvert others to do what he needs easily.

    I’m having trouble coming up with a name, though. Having him go by the completely vanilla working name of “Mastermind” just isn’t cutting it.

  136. Aj of Earthon 02 Aug 2012 at 1:14 pm


    I like the nature of your viilain’s charisma/persuade abilities. They’re extraordinary, but also somewhat based in reality; afterall, how many real-life CEOs or politicians use a similar tactic to try and get what they want? Many argue that they’re all villains as well…

    I also think the specialization to misdirect someone’s attention so as to *seemingly* disappear is very clever. And the limitation of not being able to force someone to do something against their nature is believable. I like this villain.

    Mastermind is definitely taken by several characters in the Marvel Universe (the Wyngardes, namely), who’s powers work by casting illusions, but some alternatives you might like to consider:

    – Subterfuge (or perhaps Subterfuger)
    – Oblige
    – Strategem
    – Dragoon (a verb meaning to coerce, or force by oppressive measures)

    Just some ideas.

    Cheers! 🙂


  137. B. McKenzieon 02 Aug 2012 at 1:35 pm

    “Having him go by the completely vanilla working name of ‘Mastermind’ just isn’t cutting it.” How does he get this name? Since he’s a character that can basically hide in plain sight, it strikes me as counterintuitive that he’d have a flashy super-name. (Unless perhaps the police and/or media give him a grander name–maybe something like “Incognito” or “Arcane”–both a variation on “Unknown”).

  138. aharrison 02 Aug 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Thanks for the thoughts so far. No, he’s not a flashy, in your face style, cape-wearing villain. He operates at the street level, so he needs a street flavor to his name. Think of it more as a gang type handle that he uses to obscure his true identity to a point. For this particular plot, he’s going to be working as a street gang leader to a degree because it will let him fly below the radar better for the things he’s attempting (human trafficking and a bomb plot to blow up the local college bowl game).

  139. helknighton 06 Aug 2012 at 4:03 pm

    Well in my book there is this creature that can eat souls that obayes the main villain and those peaple who souls it eats the fallow the creature but I cant think of a name for eather

  140. mythos manon 15 Aug 2012 at 1:09 am


    try this it may help. i only skimmed it but i hope i hope its useful

  141. Fisticuff Joneson 03 Nov 2012 at 6:05 pm

    Hey guys, I don’t know if this is the right place to ask this, but I’m coming up with a story that is about the medieval and fantasy forces resurfacing in the modern world after they were extinguished or made extinct by some evil force in medieval times. What should this force be based on? I was thinking something like the Black Knight’s supernatural army, but I don’t know if that will stick to the theme of the story. First and foremost, there are 7 mage kids from the 7 continents who must unite to fight this evil force. They must each find the magical artifact that corresponds with their branch of magic (for example, one is a summoner as compared to the psychic, and then there is a geologer, one who gets his magic through different gemstones and minerals) which will enhance their powers and abilities. Their adventure takes them to lost and hidden places (or places in plain sight) that are populated with elves, dwarves, dragons, etc. (which is where the fantasy element kicks in). Knights just seem a bit too rooted in reality compared to the other races and people, but that is the best idea I have at the moment.

  142. Nayanon 03 Nov 2012 at 9:48 pm

    I need some help for developing the main villian for my story. He is the leader of a terrorist group. He wants to start world war by attacking different countries with nuclear missiles. But I have not been able to come up with a reason for him to do it. What will be his profit in doing that? If this is not a good idea, please give me some ideas on threatening plans a terrorist organization should have.

  143. Edgukatoron 03 Nov 2012 at 10:47 pm

    @Nayan – This article might help.


    Personally I think you want to get away from the word terrorist as soon as possible, because it will probably typecast your character. We tend to think of terrorists as unerringly evil, no distinguishing features other than they want to kill people. I suggest, instead, why someone would engage in an act of terror.

    I have to be very careful here, because I don’t want to appear too sympathetic to terrorists, but if you’re going to create a bad-guy you have to understand why they do it, even if you don’t agree with what they do.

    Justice: Like it or not, most terrorists have a point. Their actions may serve that point to the extreme, but there is normally a real injustice at the center. The IRA felt that they were an occupied country. The people they felt kinship with, who shared their religion, lived in a country called Ireland, yet their particular part of that island was ruled by another country. Likewise, after World War II the people of Palestine suddenly had their land taken away and given to the people of another religion. If you put yourself in their shoes, there is often an issue of justice involved (though, of course, it may well be twisted and confused).

    Fear: Religious extremism is often a victim of fear. The entire worldview is predicated on the tenants of their book or religion being unerring. If your entire worldview revolves around the truth of their beliefs, so if something should be introduced that might contradict that “truth”, reaction can be in direct contradiction to their actual belief’s. Witness the Taliban’s attacks on education, which I think comes from the same fear that they are increasingly irrelevant to a modern society.

  144. B. McKenzieon 03 Nov 2012 at 11:46 pm

    “First and foremost, there are 7 mage kids from the 7 continents who must unite to fight this evil force.” Hmm. Generally I would recommend doing fewer protagonists than 7 so that you have more time/space to develop each character*. In addition, giving each character a continent may make the characters Captain Ethnics (i.e. reduce the characters to something like national/regional stereotypes a la the Planeteers in Captain Planet).

    *E.g. you could eliminate Antarctica and merge Australia with Asia.

    “They must each find the magical artifact that corresponds with their branch of magic (for example, one is a summoner as compared to the psychic, and then there is a geologer, one who gets his magic through different gemstones and minerals) which will enhance their powers and abilities.” I think doing this type of plot coupon formula 7 times is likely to feel monotonous. I’d recommend a more organic plot structure and/or slashing the number of times you go through this formula. (For example, is it necessary that you do it for every character? Could you merge these quests in some way so that it’s more centralized and efficient than doing seven different quests?)

    “Knights just seem a bit too rooted in reality compared to the other races and people, but that is the best idea I have at the moment.” Perhaps the group of knights has mystical powers or a magical origin of some sort–e.g. maybe they were the knights that actually found the Holy Grail, a quest which changed them in some significant way(s). Alternately, maybe the persecuting force has shapeshifting or other subterfuge-themed powers and eliminated/suppressed other supernatural forces to maintain their secret over humans at large.

  145. Fisticuff Joneson 04 Nov 2012 at 4:52 pm

    Alright. I figure I could eliminate two characters, and then only one character must find their artifact, since the others still kept in touch with their magical abilities. The Black Knight (he will be the main antagonist) has worshipped a dark force and absorbed evil power, and he commands a dark army of shadow knights. The main protagonist will have to find the other four kids and ultimately combine their power to create the ultimate magical weapon to confront the Black Knight. Along the way they enhance their powers through training and lessons taught from chance meetings with the revived magical races of old, until they can finally work together to create the weapon.

    Does it sound too generic/boring?

  146. YellowJujuon 06 Dec 2012 at 7:01 pm

    The other day I realized that while I enjoy writing about Symalgin, he’s very serious. I tend to be a fan of cookoo villains (Joker). Could I add another minor villain that I can use to get my much desired cookoo? It worked well in all the Dark Knight movies but those are well known characters. Would it be too confusing to have 2 big villains in my book?

  147. Dr. Vo Spaderon 06 Dec 2012 at 8:11 pm

    I personally favor bigger casts, so I’ve got the same question.

  148. B. McKenzieon 06 Dec 2012 at 8:37 pm

    “Would it be too confusing to have 2 big villains in my book?” If there’s a good reason, I don’t think it would be an issue.

    “Could I add another minor villain that I can use to get my much desired cuckoo?” Hmm… I’d recommend fleshing out the reasoning here and/or building more value into this character. What does the character add to the story and/or character development? If he’s mainly contributing craziness, he could probably be cut (or perhaps reduced to a bit role). In The Taxman Must Die, I use a secondary villain (mad roboticist Hex Abrams) as a red herring to incite the plot and give me time to develop another character that gradually emerges as the main villain. Abrams also happens to be crazy*, but that’s secondary to making it easier for me to keep readers interested while I gradually introduce the main villain.

    *Among other things, Abrams responds very poorly when the titular IRS agent attempts to audit him. When federal agents find his robotics lab, they find only partial schematics for a 200 foot robotic monstrosity and Gary’s likeness scrawled on a wall in rocket fuel alongside “THE TAXMAN MUST DIE.”

  149. Yuuki12on 17 Jan 2013 at 6:54 pm

    What about Villains whose motivation is for altruistic purposes? Personally, those types of foes are more enjoyable, given they properly flesh out the character, and give them some redeemable aspects.

    It is this idea that I hope to achieve with my villain. If there were four words I could use to describe her, one of them would be intelligence.

    With her power aside(which she could easily defeat, Derek, the main protagonist), she’s bright, capable of coming up with several strategies. Given she was once a vetrean member the organization Derek serves, the Adjudicator, she has extensive knowledge of the order and such uses it.

    An example of this is that during the middle of the story. When Derek goes undercover to try to figure out her plan(this coming from an individual, apprehended by the Adjudicators, who was seen with her lead supporters).

    However, in a twist, Miranda, the villain, anticipating that the group would somehow obtain the information, misled the person, telling them that the meeting was to take place in a certain dimension, but in fact it took place somewhere else. How is that when demonstrating her intelligence in that regards?

    The next characteristic I see her is being very cold. Miranda not one to allow her emotions to shine through. However, she is committed to doing whatever it takes to accomplish her goals.

    With that said her ruthlessness is also marred by another part of her. That being her manipulative nature. Miranda is the type of person gets what she wants, and is not above to using people to do so. This is displayed in the individuals who follow her, as Miranda has convinced them (either easily or more elaborately) to her side.

    She also displays these tendencies towards Derek. The final aspect to her is Confidence. Miranda knows she has done terrible things, and that the path she has set herself will incur millions of lives lost. But that doesn’t diminish her mindset. She stands strong, willing to face the prospects of death without so much as flinching.

    All in all, how’s that for a villain? Sure she isn’t perfect, and such I’ll need to work on her, but I am curious.

  150. Silverfishon 18 Jan 2013 at 8:41 am

    Giving someone a different location could work. You could show her intelligence off even more though with this idea. For example, does she tell everyone false details about the meeting? If so, how does she give the actual members of the meeting the right address? Or, if she only tells a few people, how does she make sure that the individuals captured are those with the false information? There are various ways that her intelligence and manipulative skills can be shown off.

    Cold and ruthless villains are fairly common. Differentiating her more would be good. For example, you said that her power ‘could easily defeat Derek’. She is also cold and ruthless, leaving me to believe that she isn’t one to give second chances or lose a good opportunity to strike. In this case, why does she not simply use her power to defeat Derek already? Questioning her decisions should hopefully give you a better idea of what kind of person she is, and therefore let you differ her from other villains.

    One way to make her different is to give her flaws. Overconfidence, whilst a possibility for Miranda, would probably be a cliche. Perhaps she overanalyzes things due to her manipulative and intelligent nature, forgetting to address more simple solutions to problems/ simple ways to stop her plans? Maybe due to her altruistic motivations, she thinks that other people would agree with her intentions, and feels that she has more support than she really has? For example, if she tries to rally support in the middle of a crowded city and expects people to join her, she might have problems if the crowd turns on her or ignores her.

    I hope that some of those points help a little.

  151. Jake Vitelaon 25 Jan 2013 at 3:31 pm

    What about if the villain can negate nearly every power the protagonist and most of her friends have? I’m trying to find a drawback; either she can only negate attacks she can see or if it’s only “natural” superpowers she can render useless and that an external source (like a gun or knife not charged or whatever by superpowers) can go through. In the latter case, I was thinking she could use her secondary superpower of a gravity field around her to lessen the impact on bullets when they come near so they only tap her.

    Also, I believe my villain is lacking in motivation. She mainly does it because of some mixture of that she’s bored, wants to show other criminals how to do it right, and how much she can get away with. Not sure if I should have a more sympathetic reason but I will if she isn’t considered likable; I already have a character that I plan to make solely to despise, so I want to avoid that.

    I hope someone can understand what I’m talking about, I’m afraid it sounds like rambling nonsense.

  152. B. McKenzieon 25 Jan 2013 at 5:57 pm

    “What about if the villain can negate nearly every power the protagonist and most of her friends have? I’m trying to find a drawback…” A few possibilities come to mind.
    –The villain’s power comes with some cost attached. For example, a technologically savvy supervillain might have an EMP generator which devastates the Iron Man suit, BUT also interferes with some of his own electronics.
    –The characters beat the villain without their powers. There’s something more to them than their superpowers, right?
    –“She… wants to show other criminals how to do it right.” Why does she care whether they are effective? Given the choice between showing the heroes how to do it right and the villains, why does she choose the villains?
    –“She mainly does because of some mixture of that she’s bored… and how much she can get away with.” Hmm. I think this would not necessarily be a problem for a side villain (e.g. thrill-seeker Roxy Rocket), but it is a bit thin for a main villain. It might help if the conflict between her and the heroes stemmed from something a bit more substantial than boredom (and relatedly her desire to see how much she can get away with). “Not sure if I should have a more sympathetic reason but I will if she isn’t considered likable…” I’m less worried about whether she’s likable than about whether she’s interesting. Possible alternative: the character is generally pretty competent and has superpowers, so she probably had options as either a hero or in a regular job. What about those paths didn’t appeal to her? One possibility is that being a villain frees her to do X that she couldn’t do anywhere else–e.g. being a villain means she can be 100% honest with people in a way no one else can be. Perhaps she was once a promising scientist (or whatever) but wasn’t willing to (in her eyes) lower herself by pretending to get along with people she hated for whatever reason.

    “I already have a character that I plan to make solely to despise…” Hmm. When you pitch your story, I’d recommend rephrasing this a few times to make the character sound more three-dimensional and interesting. It’s fine if a villain is unlikable, but I’d recommend fleshing out the character so that there’s more to the character than just annoying/angering readers. For example, there are DEFINITELY hugely unlikable things about Hannibal Lecter (like that whole serial cannibal thing) but readers also have reason to want to read more about him–he’s hilarious and his knowledge about how serial killers operate make him very useful to the main plot (an FBI profiler trying to capture a serial killer). Your readers obviously don’t have to want to have a drink with your villains, but DO make sure that your readers want to read more about them.

  153. Watcher in the Wingson 28 Jan 2013 at 10:21 am

    What would be a good villain for my character “Guardian”? He has enhanced speed strength agility and is resistant to pain/injury thanks to an experimental serum that also cured his cancer. He’s in college and works as a government hero, they deploy him on a few missions and he gets a fancy check (he’s not in it for the money it’s just a bonus). I was thinking maybe someone who also took the serum, but i don’t wan’t them to be a duplicate of me

  154. Watcher in the Wingson 28 Jan 2013 at 10:22 am

    meant him, not me. My computer is an idiot with it’s so called auto correct

  155. NatashaTheSovieton 16 May 2013 at 6:02 pm

    I’m having trouble coming up with motivations for my supervillain.

    Okay, that’s not really true, I’m basing his character on the most evil person I know, aka my father.

    If only he had powers. My father is guiltless, loves to make people (especially women and children and people who love him) feel terrible by saying things like ‘You don’t care, ___. That’s why you did [the thing I didn’t like]. You hate me’ . He reduces my 9-year-old sister to tears almost very night. He kicks our dog, curses out (in private) anyone who doesn’t workship him. He’s actually wished for the death of a two-year-old. Perfect supervillain material.

    But I’m having trouble coming up with motivations. Can anyone help me to discern these from hi personality traits?

  156. Proxie#0on 16 May 2013 at 6:57 pm

    NatashaTheSoviet, I would suggest not basing your Antagonist entirely on someone you hate…or detest, but i sense actual hate here. Anyways, the problem with basing any character entirely on someone you know in real life can make the story and development very biased and bland, and pretty predictable too.

    It also has a very frequent tendency to give the writer an excuse to go on a rant as to how “horrible” or “amazing” some character is. In my experience, no one really likes that very much.

    If I may, I am going to offer some advice from a previous article by B. Mac. I don’t remember which one it is exactly, so this is from memory… To create a likable character, you should start with three basic personality traits, one bad, and two good. If you were to do this for a character you would rather the audience not like, then you could do the reverse. (one good trait and two bad traits) It isn’t unnecessary, but most people like a villain that they can relate to on some level. For example, in the “Hobbit” and the “Lord of the Rings,” we see that Gollum is a paranoid schizophrenic that is very deceptive, and very much vies for what he sees as being his. But his redeeming quality is that through everything he has suffered, only to lose it all once again, he tries to fight against his darker side to try to help Sam and Frodo.

    This is just my two cents…

  157. B. McKenzieon 17 May 2013 at 7:13 am

    Proxie, I think the article is “Characterization by Trait.”

    Natasha, I’d be careful about basing a character on friends, family, or (especially) someone you hate. Prospective publishers may be warded away by the risk of a lawsuit from your father, and it doesn’t sound like your father has much of the style I’d want to see in a supervillain. (Very few real people do — for example, I don’t know anyone that could pull THIS off).

  158. NatashaTheSovieton 19 May 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I understand the risk of trying to drive home that the character you hate is bad too hard; I didn’t mean the character of my father, just aspects of his personality. I’m actually pretty good at staying detached from my stories. Also lawsuits wouldn’t be very practical as my father doesn’t to that sort of thing (and also I’m thirteen years old.)

    After some soul-searching I’ve come up with better villains; the one with my father’s traits, a queen of [whatever]. Queen of [whatever] needs to feed her people, her people can only eat [human flesh/brains/guts/feelings]. So she loves her people and wants to keep them alive, but at the same time she doesn’t care about anyone who stands in her way, so she’s also evil. Most of the other villains in my story are just being manipulated by her for what they think is their own benefit.

    Thanks for your input, Proxie and B. Mackenzie!

  159. Dagger_Dropon 10 Jul 2013 at 7:53 pm

    I’ve been working on the primary villain in my story. His name is Dr. James Crawford, though he has dubbed himself Dr. Savage. He has the ability to steal super powers for a limited time and he has highly increased intelligence (the drawback to this intelligence is manic schizophrenia).
    Before becoming Dr. Savage he was a biology professor at a university i made up. I’m having trouble thinking of an origin for his powers though. He wasn’t evil before getting his powers, his enhanced intelligence gave him manic schizophrenia and he believes he’s doing good and that the heroes in the story are trying to doom mankind. I had the idea that a hallucination is planting the ideas in his head (eg. “The heroes must pay, if we don’t stop them they’ll send humanity to it’s extinction! if you don’t bomb that charity banquet we won’t be able to save them.” and after ‘his’ end game is revealed and set in motion he realizes what he’s done as the protagonist stops it and the villain tries to kill his hallucination, killing himself in the process.
    He’s definitely competent. He matches the heroes every step of the way (not hard when he can get their powers with the touch of his palm), even capturing and torturing a hero who can turn himself into dust that he can control. Even when the heroes think they catch him he makes them decide between saving a building filled with people or catching him. It’s tough to beat a guy when he can have your powers.
    Not sure about his style but he has a strong presence in the story. At one point he is speaking to the main protagonist and stops to criticize a hallucination of a henchman. At other times he stands somewhere on the line between absurdly insane and brilliant visionary. He believes himself to be a humanitarian and doesn’t enjoy killing without a purpose behind it.
    He has plenty of ambition. He thinks that humanity is on a downward spiral to extinction, or at least the destruction of most of our species. He has come the the conclusion that he is our last hope. His master plan is that by wiping out the major world powers (both heroes and a few countries) he can get the rest of the world to follow him in his quest for peace through war. While this may seem like a hugely unrealistic goal he comes rather close throughout the story. He levels Chicago and a few parts of other cities before he is stopped.

    What do you guys think? Any thoughts on an origin story? Any feedback would be awesome.

  160. Dagger_Dropon 10 Jul 2013 at 8:03 pm

    P.S I’ve already looked at the origin story articles on this site

  161. Aj of Earthon 29 Dec 2013 at 5:58 pm

    I have a couple questions for any(all)one who’s currently working on their own narrative, as it relates to the development of villains…

    How many folks are actually spending narrative (substantial page space, scenes, word count, etc.) on establishing/building villains as their own, three-dimensional, fully developed characters? Beyond basic motivation, ie: supremacy, revenge, twisted backward altruism (ex. Watchmen’s Ozymandius) and the like, how much are you spending on making your villains as fleshed out and balanced as your heroes? And further, is that always the best approach?

    I ask because I see different approaches to this in fiction (scifi/superhero and otherwise) with varying degrees of effectiveness and wonder what the general consensus is among Superhero Nation-goers. In my own work I’m striving to make my villain(s) as real (competent/stylized/ambitious) as my MC (more-so, actually)… and it’s very much a challenge. But how much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much, without actually eclipsing the MC?

    What are some examples of literary villains that everyone has really enjoyed? Or not enjoyed?

    I’m very interested in everyone’s thoughts and opinions, if you’re inclined to share them.

    Dig it, y’all.


  162. Cat of Darknesson 29 Dec 2013 at 7:14 pm

    @Aj of Earth

    Your words are too confusing. Could you say it in an..easy to understand way?

    -Cat of Darkness

  163. Kevin Holsingeron 30 Dec 2013 at 4:42 am

    Good morning, Aj of Earth.

    Sauron from “Lord of the Rings” is the only example I can think off offhand where less development of a villain actually worked. Because you never saw him, it made him less an evil wizard and more an evil god.

    But normally, I prefer to go with more development than that. I don’t think Joker, for example, is more interesting because his past is “multiple choice” (“The Killing Joke”).

    The model I’m currently thinking about…as I develop my basic writing style…is that every major character needs at least three fleshing-out scenes before the final act begins. This includes the villain.

    The reason I’m currently on 3 scenes is that, in “Watchmen”, I felt that (spoiler) Ozymandias’ reveal as the villain didn’t work as well because you barely saw him before said reveal. Had the villain been Hollis Mason, that would’ve been shocking.

    Them’s my 2 cents.

    Enjoy your day.

  164. Proxie#0on 30 Dec 2013 at 6:26 am

    I think that I enjoyed a fairly terribly executed villain because I enjoyed the mystery of trying to find out what his true motive was. I am talking about the illustrious Freiza, from a horribly written but still very much adored anime series. They introduce him as this evil megalomaniac that wants nothing than to be immortal, and this IS true, but they also later on continue to show that his pride gets in his way of actually surviving…well…his and his enemies attacks.

    It becomes much more interesting when you add his family and the future movies and episodes in however. Freiza had an older brother named Cooler, who, as it is shown and explained, is your grade a jackard to freiza as they grow up, and does everything to put him diwn, ensuring to make freiza notice whenever he gets more powerful or whenever he accomplishes some feat. Being that they were raised as soiled, tyrannical royalty, it was usually slaughtering those who dissented from their fathers will or something akin to that, but nothing remotely considered good.

    So essentially, by my analysis, Freiza is essentially just a prideful little bully trying to prove to SOMEONE that he’s actually worth his own existence. Any who challenge him, die.

  165. Aj of Earthon 30 Dec 2013 at 10:39 am


    Sauron is definitely a good example of a rarely seen/developed-on-page villain. The shadow cast from his history/legend is more of a presence than his actual self (the Eye notwithstanding), lending to the overall feel of foreboding and malice (that, and the actions of those who serve him, ie. Sarumon the White and the various fell beasts/creatures of Middle Earth). And I definitely enjoyed that approach.

    I feel this is a similar avenue taken by Stephen King for his big bad the Crimson King in his Dark Tower books (and his other novels that exist on the Beam). Of course I understand the Dark Tower is a sort of Tolkien love-letter to begin with so thematically this approach is a given, but still. We never actually witnessed or interacted with the Crimson King on-page until the last book, instead dealing with those who serve him. Namely Marten Broadcloak/Walter o’Dim and beings such as the Low Men (*shudder*).

    That said, the Marvel Comics adaptation of the the Dark Tower story dealing with Roland as a young Gunslinger did a great job of working with the Crimson King as a tangible, on-page master villain and admittedly he was a great deal more effective/terrifying there than he was in the original source material. Knowing him on the page made all the difference. Make Mine Marvel!

    So I definitely like your idea of the three-scene-minimum model. I think that’s a pretty solid starting point to ensure development of a villain (which puts us in agreement on Watchmen’s Ozymandias reveal, and also helps me understand what I want from my own villains). Thank you kindly for your thoughts!


    Agreed, Frieza was a terrible villain from a horribly written series, lol. I have a hard time taking anything from DBZ seriously writing/content-wise, however, you do an interesting job of boiling down his motivations to something with some literary weight: The prideful bully trying to prove to someone(anyone) that he’s worth his own existence. A sort of super-sized inferiority complex made dangerous by the powers he possesses. This isn’t so dissimilar from Loki’s motivations IMO (“My big brother is better than me, wah! Look, I can do things too, wah! See? See?! wah!)… But personally something I want to avoid in my own narrative like it’s the plague. Which, much like Kevin’s thoughts, I thank you for pointing out to me so that I have a better idea of what I want/don’t want. I appreciate your response.

    @Cat of Darkness

    Hmm, I think what I’m asking in a simplified form is: How much do you feel is too much when it comes to developing villains in the stories you write? Or in the stories you’ve enjoyed reading in the past? What sort of approach do you feel makes the best/scariest/effective bad guys? …Sorry that I was confusing; looking forward to hearing your opinion.

  166. Cat of Darknesson 30 Dec 2013 at 11:06 am

    @Aj of Earth

    I see. How much is too much? Hmm…let me think.

    This is just my opinion, but I think that developing a villain is much harder than developing a hero. Mainly because a lot of villains are almost exactly alike. You definitely don’t want to go overboard, but you don’t want to do too little so that your villain is like a lot of them. Think of this…

    Smart vs. Insane. There are smart villains and there are insane villains. Maybe do a smart AND insane villain.
    Plans work all the time vs. Plans never work because of said hero. I’d say neither. I prefer Plans work a lot of the time over the other two.
    Outsmarts the hero vs. Hero outsmarts the villain. I think it should be half and half. The villain outsmarts the hero a lot and the hero outsmarts the villain a lot.

    Be unique. To me, that’s the main thing about writing ANY kind of story. To be creative, original, and unique.

    If you can’t decide on said villains traits (I guess you could say that), think of two that clash perfectly and put them in pairs. Then do the vs. and decide which one is better or if you need to combine them. If you need, make a list of all the vs. pairs you have and figure out what to do. If you think it’s a little too much, or that the villain is way way way more powerful than the hero, cut out a few, maybe the ones that are your least favorites. That’s what I do anyway.

    Hope I helped.

    -Cat of Darkness

  167. Proxie#0on 30 Dec 2013 at 4:05 pm

    @Aj of Earth

    I feel that there are generally two kinds of main villains that inflict large amounts of fear into the reader/viewer/player/audience.

    One is the Shadowed Villain. He is the villain that runs along the same vein as Sauron from LOTR. He is never really seen or heard directly, but through the actions and dialogue you hear from his/her subordinates, as well as any effect he may have on the world itself, can bring about a certain kind of fear.

    I have two other examples of this. If you watch or have heard of Tribe Twelve, a YouTube series, you know that it is another one of those “Slenderman” series. But the thing that makes any of these series interesting, actually worth watching, is that you almost never see the main villain. You always see the repercussions from his actions cast onto the protagonists, in many horrible ways I might add, but you never really see the Slenderman do much himself. He uses his minions and his “supernatural influence” to achieve his unknown goal, though what he often does achieve is causing protagonists to slowly lose their mind as they fall into a dark pit of paranoia and despair.

    The other example that I have of these cloak and dagger types is actually that of my own creation. In one of my series that is currently curing, waiting for fresh eyes to look on it, I have a villain known only to humanity as “Mother.” She had essentially become the god that carried them (the antagonists) across the milky way to the planet closest in all calculations to their own, Earth. Mother finds her way to the core, and slowly but surely sucks the life out of a planet as she changes all of its internal structures and biomes to better suit her creators, her followers. She is able to sap the energy, water and nutrition from any of those who walk upon her earth, and feed it back into her people. She can alter the brain patterns of whomever she sees fit. She is capable of changing the genetic structure of the living and dead to allow for one of her own fallen to enter that body. She can..well…essentially earth bend, control the movement of the parts of the earth that she controls. And finally, she can feel and know all things that happen upon her surface.

    I feel that all villains pass through this stage at some point. This is essentially the stage that is set before you meet the MAIN villain. You get to see their influence and what they can accomplish without getting involved themselves. Whenever you learn who the villain is and what his motives may be, you usually go into another stage, unless your plot dictates otherwise.

    The second kind of scary villain is the villain who is right. Not necessarily altruistic, though these traits do go hand in hand. Whereas an altruistic villain like Doctor Doom may feel that what they are doing is going to help the world, this villain has proof, they can show that their actions are needed to fix or do something. A good example of a villain like this has been mentioned already, and I will only lightly reiterate that point. Ozymandias knew for a fact that if something were not to be done to prevent the US and the USSR/Russia from going to war, nuclear war, that there would be hundreds of millions, possibly billions of lives lost (depending on how many were to be actually used). The only way that you can stop two fighting dogs is to rap them both on the nose. It hocks them out of it, and that is the only thing that could have been done.

  168. BMon 31 Dec 2013 at 7:29 am

    “How many folks are actually spending narrative (substantial page space, scenes, word count, etc.) on establishing/building villains as their own, three-dimensional, fully developed characters?” In The Taxman Must Die, I don’t anticipate giving the main villain any scenes where he is present but the heroes are not (though that is an option if the villain is sufficiently interesting).

    Suggestion: If you do any villain-centric scenes, I’d recommend keeping them really short. For example, the original three Star Wars movies spend a total of maybe 5-10 minutes on villain-centric scenes, and I think that’s enough to develop the villains without detracting from the development of the protagonists.

    “How much are you spending on making your heroes as fleshed out and balanced as your heroes?” Personally, I do not regard that as a major priority. In most books, I’d estimate the main villain is present on less than 10% of pages. More than 20% would be noticeably unusual (e.g. maybe if the villain cooperates with the hero for part of the book, like Silence of the Lambs). I think this generally means the villain is a lot less important than the hero to the success of the work — being an effective obstacle may be sufficient even if he doesn’t have an interesting personality or open up much interesting development in the protagonist*. If the hero is interesting enough, the villain would have to be an extraordinary disappointment to torpedo the work.

    *E.g. the cinematic Dr. Octopus strikes me as an effective villain that is more of an effective obstacle than an opportunity for developing the protagonist. His fight scenes were great, but I think most of his non-combat interactions with the protagonists were sort of forgettable. In contrast, I think Ozymandias, Darth Vader, and Hannibal Lecter brought a lot more to their works in terms of noncombat interactions with heroes.

  169. Aj of Earthon 31 Dec 2013 at 11:52 am

    Wow, this is all really fantastic feedback. I really enjoy and appreciate the various angles, approaches and examples y’all have provided! It really proves that there truly are multiple avenues that can be equally effective when it comes to villain development- and that it’s all about the execution. Thanks so much for offering your opinions!

    @B. Mac – I very much like your recommendation that if there are to be villain-centric scenes to keep them short and (darkly) sweet. This is in fact the approach I’m already taking, which prompted me to ask my questions to begin with. Was I doing too much? …I genuinely like the idea of giving the reader some villain meat to chew on, so that they have a grasp of what the protagonists are facing even if the protags don’t realize it themselves (yet). I just have to be very careful about the balance of those portions. Thank you.

    @Proxie – My favorite of the examples you’ve given, which will in fact be how I deal with my villains moving forward (ala B.Mac’s suggestion) is the cloak & dagger type. The reader will get some tasty tidbits, but not too many, and none that reveal too much. It’s part of my MC’s function to bring that to light for the rest of the group of protags and I want the reader to participate in that epiphany/revelation along with him. So while the reader will get a little something to whet the palate, they’ve got to keep reading to get to the real truth of it all!

    @Cat – Your thoughts about striking a strong balance between success and setback for the villains (as well as for the protags) are really keen, and I’ll be sure to keep them in mind as I move forward in my pages (currently 25,000+ words, dig it!).

    Again, mahalo plenty for all your opinions! Very good and very appreciated! Have a Happy New Year, y’all!



  170. Cat of Darknesson 31 Dec 2013 at 1:50 pm


    25,000+ words?! I’m not sure if that give me a headache or excitement.

    -Cat of Darkness

  171. B. McKenzieon 31 Dec 2013 at 2:02 pm

    “25,000+ words?! I’m not sure if that give me a headache or excitement.” It means he’s about a third of the way to finishing the first draft. (Congrats!)

  172. Cat of Darknesson 31 Dec 2013 at 2:17 pm

    Oh, I see! Congratulations, AoE!

  173. Aj of Earthon 31 Dec 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Thank you both very kindly!

    It’s been a tremendous endeavor, both completely challenging and completely thrilling. It’s the most I’ve ever written of single work and there’s a lot responsibility to do it in a way that honors the superhero genre that I personally love and respect so much – to git ‘er done right! as they say. A lot of the planning and motivation has come from being a part of the Superhero Nation community. This site is an invaluable resource.

    And that’s no lie.

  174. Jason Mondayon 28 Jan 2014 at 10:31 pm

    One question I have on some of the experts’ opinions: how do you feel about ‘accidental’ villains? For instance, a man who is trying to accomplish something for a loved one who is sick, but in the process becomes a villain by causing so much collateral. The character’s personality and intentions would still be well-intended, so much so that they are blinded.

    What are your opinions of a villain like this? I personally feel like it could provide an additional level on which to explore the villain’s character more, but I like me so I’m bias. What do you think?

  175. B. McKenzieon 28 Jan 2014 at 10:43 pm

    “What are your opinions of a villain like this? I personally feel like it could provide an additional level on which to explore the villain’s character more, but I like me so I’m bias. What do you think?” I’m also biased, but personally I think it’s more promising and fresher than (say) a one-dimensionally psychotic supervillain who apparently just woke up evil one day. That said, it might help to give him a more hefty motivation than a sick loved one. If I could use Breaking Bad as an example, part of the main character’s motivation for going evil was that he was terminally ill and had to provide for his family (including a handicapped son and a pregnant wife), but he also had some less altruistic motivations (e.g. he was too proud to die broke and defeated, and selling drugs was the only way he could see himself dying proud).

  176. AlucardZainon 29 Jan 2014 at 11:11 am

    So, I’m in the planning stages of my villain. Here’s what I’m thinking of so far:

    He’s a criminal mastermind of the underworld (drug dealing and stuff like that, sort of a Kingpin-ish character). He initially “creates” my heroine because he wants a challenge. The police just doesn’t give him much of one. So, he “creates” her, and in time, makes her make hard decisions. I’m also thinking of that he also knows of her past, and she tries to get this information from him. So he’s not hellbent on world domination, just wants a decent challenge.

    I don’t even have a name for him yet, so need help on that. Also, I don’t know what to do with him personality wise, so need help with that too. I want him to be a likable and relatable villain. So any advice/tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Anyway, my favorite villains in no particular order:

    -the Joker
    -Dr. Doom (mostly because of MvC3 and UMvC3, also like the fact he did take over the world once, but got bored of it.)
    -Albert Wesker (again, mostly because of MvC3 and UMvC3, and I like one of his lines “Uroboros will be released into the atmosphere ensuring complete global saturation.” and he believes hes not destroying the world, he’s trying to “save” it.)

    Also, I feel like the Green Goblin is a piss poor rip-off from the Joker. He never accomplished anything, except killing off the board of OsCorp, and look where that got him. And, the Joker doesn’t care who he kills, and he’s basically the opposide side of Batman.

  177. B. McKenzieon 29 Jan 2014 at 9:03 pm

    “I feel like the Green Goblin is a piss poor rip-off from the Joker. He never accomplished anything, except killing off the board of OsCorp, and look where that got him.” I think being able to execute a reign of terror (e.g. shooting up your enemies in the middle of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade or at a U.S. military base) counts for SOMETHING. Also, it was more gutsy than, say, sending a suicide bomber into a police station, I think.

    I’d give points for the most accomplished supervillain to probably…
    1) Ozymandias accomplished his main objective and got away pretty much scot-free, albeit because the heroes were abject idiots.

    2) Dark Knight Rises’ Bane managed to hold Gotham longer than, say, the French held Paris.

    3) Loki tried taking on a group of superheroes and couldn’t even outduel out of them, but STILL turned it into a promotion to king of Asgard — he rose to his level of incompetence, I guess.

  178. Yaoon 22 Mar 2014 at 6:58 pm

    i’m currently working on an idea for a character who is meant as mostly a minor villain, however i’m having a bit of difficulty trying to determine a real sort of style for him to have, his origin story is actually within the main plot, in which the main group of heroes catch wind of someone else doing “hero work” besides a legally sanctioned superhero, upon investigating the matter, they discover that the person is actually a ten year old kid armed with homemade gear who begs them to let him join their group. obviously they deny him since 1) he has no powers 2) he has no training and is only still alive by sheer luck and 3) they dont want him to lose his innocence by exposing him to such violent and dangerous situations. this goes ok until the main protagonist (a gruff, spoiled, and reckless hero-in-training) insults him. later on the boy is approached by a strange and dark individual whom offers to both make him an adult (mostly physically but he does gain a bit of an intellect boost as well) as well as provide him with superpowers of his own. upon accepting the deal he is left permanently transformed into an adult, following his own psychotic and murderous brand of justice, as well as seeking revenge on the hero who scorned him

    all in all i want him to act as something of a foil to the main hero, both have similar powers and personalities, but one as a more extreme version of the other

  179. J.Croweon 17 Dec 2014 at 12:00 am

    Can I get some opinions on my villain “Serenade”?

    Ambition: They have ambition aright, quite ironically seeing as they are an abhorrent nihilist. They share the hero’s belief that the world is corrupt and ruined, and it needs to be fixed. However, I mentioned that they are a nihilist. So they believe that there is no hope of reforming humanity or simply solving current issues. However, they also happen to be a sociopath (trust me on this, it’s not the cliché batman definition of a sociopath. I’m a sociopath myself, so I know how to write one). Because of their lack of actual empathy, as well as the impulsive behavior and lack of forethought, they jump to the irrational conclusion that the only way to fix humanity is to kill off 95% of the population, even if it means they die as well. They plan to do this by causing World War 3, which would theoretically devastate the planet.
    They are intended to be a deconstruction of a stereotypical super-villain: insane and wants to destroy the world. I always wondered when I was younger why anyone would want to destroy the world. Recently I realized why. So instead of foolishly acting upon it, I decided to create a character to explore the ideas without actually doing it. (As you can see, writing helps me with all my….less than legal ideas).
    Style: I’ve decided to go with a sort of punk/hipster style wardrobe for them. That fashion style can seem like a costume and yet still be normal clothing. They wear predominately black and red, and they have a huge obsession with masks. Collecting them, making them, etc. they just love masks.
    Competence: yeah, they are competent. I mean, they did co-design a superhero, single-handedly blow up [important building here], and build an amateur laser gun out of an airsoft gun (like the one on YouTube, but more lethal). I’d say they are pretty competent. (Not to mention having an advantage by having created one of the two heroes).

  180. Redon 19 Dec 2014 at 2:21 pm

    I don’t see any problems with your villain so far. You might want to add something back story wise that adds to his character but that’s just my opinion. Also is there a reason he’s called ‘serenade’? Irony? Or is there another reason? And I’m sure you know this yourself, but how do they plan to start WW3? (I’m writing a villain with a similar plan, but different motives).

    I wouldn’t mind some opinions on my villain:
    -currently unnamed, however it’s going to be his real name, not an alias-
    Using a group of 4 ex mercenaries. My villain tried to bring mindless violence, anarchy, pretty much just total destruction. And he succeeded.

    He is and was (partially)sane and (forgive the cliché) rich. His motives: He didn’t have a problem with world corruption or anything of sort, his actions initially seem like a ‘I’m gonna destroy everything because reasons’ plan become clearer throughout the story. After years and years of planning and about the same amount of time enacting his plan, he razed the earth (indirectly of course) through the help of his 4 accomplices (who he dubbed harbingers, their personalities and roles are based upon that of the 4 horseman of the apocalypse and various mythological gods). He has ulterior motives that become evident as the story progresses . He dons typical ‘rich villain wear’ but underneath adorns a mix and match of armour and weapons (nothing super techy, something more like armour plates, bullet proof vests, pistols, blades etc.)

    I know he needs some more fleshing out, but what do you think so far?

  181. Leson 31 Jan 2015 at 10:00 pm

    My villain, named Horrorcore, for the Vanquishers is currently on the works.

    I’m itching to make this character based on the Batman villain, Bane, because this guy’s hardcore scary, so much for his both brains and brawn.

    For my character though, I would also like this to have both genius-level intellect and brute strength and now that to make this a more fearsome, deranged, psychotic mad scientist, loner, and serial killer with a tragic past.

    Metaphorically speaking, the name Horrorcore (beside hardcore rap with horror themes) is a compound word for ‘horror’ and ‘core.’ Horror signifies fear, doom and aptly horror while ‘core’ represents strength, ferocity, and apty ‘hardcore muscle.’

    After three years in the army, he (Ralph Del Vecchio before he becomes Horrorcore) comes back to his NY hometown, and suddenly, the unknown militant group waged an all-out war on his group of vigilantes that were his best friends and slaughtered all of them, then burst into his home to kill his whole family (his mother, wife, and a child) and then nearly killed Ralph, but survived. The one who actually murdered his family is most likely Doomfrost’s older brother. As a result, Ralph swears brutal vengeance on him and he storms to his secret lab to create his own serum to become more power to avenge his fallen.

    I don’t know what else to make this villain unpredictable, so any good suggestions?

  182. B. McKenzieon 01 Feb 2015 at 11:24 am

    “Metaphorically speaking, the name Horrorcore (beside hardcore rap with horror themes) is a compound word for ‘horror’ and ‘core.’ Horror signifies fear, doom and aptly horror while ‘core’ represents strength, ferocity, and apty ‘hardcore muscle.’” Hmm, thank you for explaining the symbolism there… 😉

    When you’ve finished a draft of the manuscript (but not before), it may be worthwhile revisiting the name.

  183. BTMythicVIon 02 Feb 2015 at 4:28 pm

    Could I get some feedback on one of the main villains in one of my stories? He is called Salvage (name ideas are welcome) and his power is super genius and he has a sort of a techno-kineses, also he is sort of like spock where he has emotions but usually represses them and doesn’t understand them and with regard to the stuff mentioned in the article

    Competence: as stated earlier he is a genius with a pretty powerful ability as well as extreme physical strength

    Style: He is a 7’8″ Albino with 220 pounds of muscle and has made several technological improvements to his body so he has some metal exposed on his face, arms and back. He doesn’t usually wear a shirt but when he does he wears lots of white, silver and black. He also speaks with a monotone.

    Ambition: He is semi-altruistic, he loves humans but feels that they could go further if he was in control and they didn’t have emotions.

    I have to go so what do you think?

  184. Vixis Shiar'Deluson 16 Nov 2015 at 12:26 pm

    Just hoping to get some feedback for my series main villain (I say series because there is too much going on to fit into one book, but I do have points I can clearly identify as being a satisfying close to one book).

    Series takes place in a version of Earth that has been corrupted and invaded by a race of aliens who have fled from their own dying world across the Milky Way. Humanity is mostly located in areas in the far north and the far south, as the terraformation technology and psychic links that the Novae, the aliens, use to communicate and terraform do not work in cold climates. Additionally, the Novae have an innate but mostly unused ability to shift their consciousness into another beings body, and in extreme circumstances, inanimate objects. However, not many of them know how to use that ability.

    Jaizon, the villain, is a Novae that was part of an initial scouting project the Novae made to find habitable worlds to live on. However, he was detained by the US Government when he landed in New Mexico (twisted version of Roswell) and experimented on for years. When an experiment in a facility he was being temporarily held in in 38 Dates (twisted version of 29 Palms, where I’m stationed) went wrong, he shifted his consciousness to the body of a dog, and fled. Ever since, he has been evading the various world powers and trying to establish a normal life, while also trying to contact the other Novae that are on their way to the earth.

    Jaizon wants to get rid of the leadership for both the invading Novae and the residing humans. During his tenure at various military bases, he came to the conclusion that only the most depraved of societies would allow prisoners to be treated the way he was, and that most of the world leaders operated the same way. However, he also saw that upon the Novae invasion of the earth, that his own people were no better, and in many cases worse. Jaizon intends to destroy the leadership of both Novae and Humanity, and implant himself and other ‘just’ rulers to ensure that peace and prosperity are bred across the planet. He intends to stop the terraformation device at the center of the earth so that he can integrate humanity and Novae together, and allow for the advancement of both species.

    Over the many years that he had been detained and subsequently fleeing various world powers, Jaizon learned to be extremely deceptive, and is an impeccable liar and master manipulator. He has also learned to control his own possession abilities to the point that he can leave his consciousness in his own possessed body, and still imprint a fragment of himself in other. Throughout the story, he slowly makes his way up the North American refuge’s chain of command, successfully evading detection by all but very few of the protagonists. Even then, he uses media sources to blackmail and destroy opposition, and riggs an election for the person he feels he will be easiest to possess and control. When the protagonists begin to catch wind of what he is doing, he creates a situation where other Novae he has essentially stolen from the other main villain to instigate an attack on the city. During the confusion, he attacks and takes control of the new president. The most powerful character in the series is also the presidents son, and he comes to his aid after Jaizon has taken him. This allows Jaizon to kill the biggest threat to him. During this time, Jaizon has also had others order the three main protagonists to go on missions to Chicago and France, where they will do what no other person but they can do…shut down the Novae terraformation device at the center of the earth. As the protagonists abilities are energy based, they can enter the core and turn the device off, though it will kill them. This gets rid of any other problems that he would likely face.

  185. S Vermaon 26 Oct 2017 at 7:55 am

    I was trying to write a superhero story and so far the villain’s character is this- The hero( who’s main ability is to absorb energy – kinetic, electric, thermal etc ) during an attempt to save his city from a nuclear power plant malfunction tries to absorb the nuclear energy released and ends up losing his mind while also gaining the power to convert any type of energy to nuclear energy and use nuclear energy to create wormholes big and stable enough to travel to alternate dimensions and different times in his own dimension.

    He realizes that he has to absorb the life source of other versions of himself to enhance his powers and keep his body from rotting away due to the side effects of his powers. He finally decides to travel back to the past, when he was still a hero to corrupt his past self with his current powers so that he has the powers for a longer time and by the time he reaches his future self’s age, he has become much more powerful.

    But his past self ends up committing suicide after realizing that his future self is too powerful to defeat. But then the past self is revived by the power of SCIENCE! But he regrets being revived as he realizes that he is stuck in a loop for all of eternity, being killed by himself again and again. He cannot kill himself as if he kills himself, then his current consciousness is transferred to the moment when he was killed by his past self and is again revived. He tries to find a way to break this loop, but there seems to be no possible way… yet.

    I know it’s a bit complicated but other than that, what do you think?

  186. B. McKenzieon 26 Oct 2017 at 10:48 am

    Most variations of the villain being a future version (or alternate version) of the protagonist are a lot easier to follow. Most time travel and loops, too. I’d recommend checking out the brief loop in Dr. Strange, which I think is very elegant and easy to follow. In contrast, it feels very non-intuitive that reviving the past self creates a time loop or any sort of complications moving forward.

    Suggestion: I’d recommend looking into a less flexible time travel system with fewer complications. Maybe not one under the control of the person being transported (e.g. most versions of people from the past being transported into the body of a younger self). For example, maybe someone in the character’s life (perhaps a superhero teammate or a badass normal) suddenly gets replaced by a future version without the protagonist knowing. Maybe because the protagonist himself will eventually be a massive threat and needs to be stopped now.

  187. Megatronnyson 26 Jul 2018 at 3:41 am


  188. Ujjwal bhargavon 25 Apr 2019 at 11:17 am

    Here are some qualities of my villian Reven
    He’s psychopath and doesn’t gives his enemies a peaceful death. He tortures and literally eats them (.he’s a cannibal)
    He talks with extreme calmness and shrill with hissing sound
    He’s mastermind terrorist who wants to see democracy fall
    He extremely feared among other organizations (which is shown in the story when 48 terrorist organisations take responsibility for a blast done by him.
    He continuesly researches for different human and animal aspects to create bio weapons
    What else can be added or subtracted .
    Any suggestions

  189. B. McKenzieon 25 Apr 2019 at 4:43 pm

    “He extremely feared among other organizations (which is shown in the story when 48 terrorist organisations take responsibility for a blast done by him.” If they’re afraid of him, taking credit for his work en masse doesn’t seem like the most intuitive way of showing that. Potential alternative: what if the villain were so iconic that no one else COULD claim credit and/or is terrified of getting on his radar by disrespecting his work. E.g. who robs a bank for NOT the money?

    Some other things I’ve seen in a similarly distinctive vein:
    –Also in Dark Knight, crowdsourcing an assassination on Coleman Reese
    –Interfering with one murder investigation where the antagonist is not actually involved to gauge his police opponents and identify weaknesses.
    -“I’ve got a rock.” (An evil space mining company drops a meteor on someone that’s a particular problem).
    –Killer Croc: “It was a big rock.”
    –Game of Thrones: Baelish masterminds a coup against the king and sets it up to fail to kill an enemy and gain the trust of the king… so that he can betray the king himself later.

  190. Ujjwal bhargavon 25 Apr 2019 at 9:59 pm

    It’s actually the villain ‘s plan to confuse the government and he himself ordered this to others to do so
    Also can I give him two trusted assassins
    In which one is a chemical warfare expert and other is a highly trained hitman assassin who has the record of defeating 1000 armed soldiers without using any weapons

  191. Raymondon 08 Sep 2019 at 6:02 pm

    Ooh….I so much love Lex but my fav villain is actually DEATHSTROKE…that dude is cooler than cool

  192. Afiyin Olokunbolaon 21 Oct 2020 at 12:55 pm

    Yo B Mackenzie you’re one of the Ogs on this site lol I read you all the way from 2008 and you’re still commenting at 2019 that’s cool to see lol

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