Monday, April 25, 2011

FOR THE WRITERS: How To Write Evil, Awesome Villains (Part I)

I have always been oddly fascinated by villains. When I was four or five, I was pretty much in love with Scar from The Lion King and often had quite a bit of fun using him to creep out my little sister. And today, I still have that weird infatuation with villains--and I have come to realize a few things that could help you, as a writer, create some evil, awesome villains. 

In my experience (which, by the way, is about nine years of novel-writing, about fifteen years of short-story writing [if not more!], and countless years of reading books and watching movies) there is one thing that I believe is the number one key to writing great villains: base them off of YOU. 

Now, I know that sounds a little creepy--why on earth would you want to turn yourself into a bad guy?!--but isn't creepiness the point? Aren't villains supposed to be creepy? Answer = Yes. 

In order to base your villain off of you, you need to take one of your own fatal flaws (we all have those) and give it to your villain. Then…turn up the volume. Putting yourself into the villain often makes them more terrifying because what makes them evil is something real--something that exists within the writer, the reader, and also within your story's hero. You'll also have a good foundation when writing him--because you know what he is feeling by experience. This will make your villain seem real and believable--and most importantly--terrifyingly unsettling. 

In fact, Scar is a great example of this concept. His fatal flaw would be jealousy--something that exists within us all. He grew up as the scrawny runt, living in the shadow of his much stronger brother, Mufasa, and has allowed his jealousy of his brother to turn into bitterness, anger, and hatred--which drives him to the extreme measure of murder. He believes he must prove that he is worthy to be the Lion King and not Mufasa--that he is strong and powerful, too--and even more so. 

Scar's jealousy is something that exists within us all on some level (I know some of it exists in me!) and that realization will suddenly make him seem much more unnerving a villain, because we realize some part of us is part of him, and visa versa. 

So, if you're willing to open yourself up and examine your own fatal flaws, you'll have a great chance of creating those evil, awesome villains we all love to hate. 

Happy Villain-Creating!

† Rebecca

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


I ran across something strange last night--it was a single phrase, printed in smeary, blood-red lettering on a black desktop background:

For a moment, I thought it was just an advertisement for another cliched deathmetal band, but a split-second later, I realized that this phrase had much more meaning.

"For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live." (Romans 8:13 NIV)

Maybe it would seem odd to some, seeing such a bloody and brutal-looking image portraying such a Christian concept; it's intimidating, and it's dark. It's violent. But think about this: murdering the flesh, the sinful nature, the 'misdeeds' is never an easy process. It is brutal and intimidating. It is violent and messy and painful. It's a constant struggle, a battle. A war between our flesh--the sinful human nature--and the Spirit's guiding force in our hearts. 

And face it--sometimes we lose. In our humanness, in our imperfection, sometimes we give in, screw up. Sometimes we're just not strong enough to say "no" to the temptations this world hurls at us.  Sometimes we fall into pits of weakness that we can't seem to crawl out of. It makes us feel unworthy, hopeless, ashamed. Dirty.

But how do we murder the flesh? It's when we submit to God, lift up to him our addictions and temptations, that we can win the battle. It's when we admit our failure, admit our humanness, admit our weakness and ask that he give us the strength to say "no." 

His Grace is enough to cover. His strength is enough to Overcome.

"All have sinned and fall short of God's glory, but all are treated as righteous freely by his grace because of a ransom that was paid by Christ Jesus. Through his faithfulness, God displayed Jesus as the place of sacrifice where mercy if found by means of his blood. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness in passing over sins that happened before" (Romans 3:23-26 CEB)

† Rebecca

P.S.: The above image was created by and belongs to The Whosoevers--an organization striving to spread Hope to those who have none. It was formed by former KoRn guitarist, Brian "Head" Welch (really cool dude with a great testimony--check him out!), Sonny Sandoval (the frontman of the band POD), Ryan Ries, and Ronnie Faisst.