Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Writing Wednesday: The Bad Guy II

I've finally made it to the end of the second act in my novel MIND THIEF and I'm really loving my bad guy. The nice thing about writing him is his motivation is very clear and that is what makes him a bad guy.

He is really motivated by the saying the “ends justify the means”. His goal is simple, he wants to live forever which isn't an evil goal in itself but in order to reach his goal he will do anything, and I mean anything to reach it. So far he has worked with the Nazis during World War II, ran human experimentation camps all over the third world, killed JFK. Lady Di, and his own wife, as well as starting both Iraq wars. So he's a little obsessed with his goal.

To me a great bad guy isn't someone who is evil for evil's sake, but someone who starts out with a clear mission to do something and that mission overtakes his thinking so that it becomes more important than the reason he started on the mission.

The true bad guy doesn't think of himself as a bad guy just someone who is willing to do whatever it takes to reach a higher goal. That is what makes the bad guy truly evil. I much prefer a bad guy who is driven to do bad things by what they believe is a noble cause than just a mindless killing machine like Jason in the Friday the 13th series, who killed anyone who couldn't outrun his brisk walk.

Those are my quick thoughts on the bad guy, but what do you think makes for a truly memorable bad guy in fiction?

By Darrell B. Nelson author of Alien Thoughts


Stephanie Barr said...

I wrote extensively on bad guys some while back on my blog. I have never favored evil for the sake of evil villains, though I have frequently had evil for the sake of power types. They don't think of it as noble necessarily, but do consider it the natural order of things.

Much like Wall Street today.

Project Savior said...

I think it adds a whole new level of evil if the bad guy want's power not for power sake but for a higher goal, like immortality.
BTW: Greatest movie bad guy ever, Dorothy for Wizard of Oz. Kills the witch and instead of giving the heir her insurance papers takes the possessions that should rightfully go to the heir. Steals a farmer's Scarecrow causing lots of crop damage. Steals food from the trees. Goes on a political hit job for the Wizard. Then when the whole land of Oz has a great power void and needs a leader she convinces the leader to leave. All so she can go home.
Ultimate bad guy behavior.