August 26, 2017

How to Make Your Villain Unforgettable

     
     On Friday I watched Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan, and I was totally blown away by the whole film.
      I am a huge fan of M. Night Shyamalan, I love how he creates such gripping plot-lines, and his plot twists are always astonishing and well thought out. I have never been able to correctly guess one of his plot twists, they always completely catch me by surprise.
    BUT, Unbreakable made me speechless.
     The character development was exceptional.
     The storyline was awesome.
     And the plot twist, I can't even begin to describe how brilliant it was.
      But what struck me most was the main villain. I loved the villain, so much that this one will be unforgettable for me.
     And that made me start to think, What makes a villain unforgettable?



     1. An authentic backstory. Where does your villain come from? What emotion will their story stir inside of the people who hear or read about it? Fear? Anger? Hate? Sympathy? You don't have to put the entire backstory into your book, but knowing it will help you as the writer to put hints of your villain's past here and there, making them more genuine, and in some cases, terrifying.

     2. A goal. Too often I read about villains in YA who are evil just to be evil. But making your villain have a goal will make the reader feel more than one emotion about them, it will literally tear them to shreds on the inside, and since writers are cruel creatures, that is your goal. In Unbreakable, the villain reveals their goal at the very end, making your heart go out to them, “The scariest thing in life is not knowing why you're here.” In this case the villain's goal was finding their identity.

      3. A personality. Once again, back to the cliché of villains simply being evil. Everyone is passionate about something, some people are just better about hiding it than others. Honestly, one of these days I want to read a book based off of one of the villains in Rapunzel that liked baking cupcakes! I can see it now, “AHA! I have caught you, hero, prepare to die!!!”
The faint sound of an alarm going off in the distance rings through the air, the villain shifts, hanging the struggling hero by his shirt to a tree limb. “Right after I get my cupcakes out of the oven, excuse me.”
      I would totally buy that book. XD

       4. Make them cunning. Back to Unbreakable, in the movie there is another amazing quote that relates to villains, “The villains that fight using only brute force aren't the hero's real enemy, the hero's real rival is the smart one, the one with the brains.” So true. Who doesn't love a good cat and mouse game?

       5. Make them stand out. What makes your bad guy different than the hum-drum thugs, villains with corny capes, and scoundrels with booming laughs? Is it something they wear? Maybe they have their own little catch-phrase? Pick something that makes them different from the normal “evil one” mold, it doesn't have to be big, it can be as small. Just give them something that is their own.  
       Example: President Snow from the Hunger Games stands out with the fact that he loves white roses, and the reason why is revealed later in the plot.


        So that's all I have! Go watch Unbreakable, it's really a good film for writers to watch, especially if you're writing a villain. I wouldn't recommend it for family night, since it does have some more grownup themes, because the hero is fighting against modern day evil (sex traffickers, murders, etc.) And more intense fight scenes.
         But it's actually one of M. Night Shyamalan's cleanest works. The others have a lot of language and more suggestive scenes, but I ignore that because the of the amazing storylines and plot twists.
         I didn't notice any language in this one, but it's not like I was listening for it.
         Speaking of language and swear words, I will be doing a post on Rebellious Writing on September 16th, explaining why I don't like it in YA, so go follow us HERE or go to www.rebelliouswriting.com, so you don't miss that... *cough* PLUG *cough, cough*

       So, yeah. You should watch it and take notes on the character development. And then you need to come back here and contact me, so we can talk about it! XD



Have you seen Unbreakable by M. Night Shyamalan?
Do you have any tips for creating unforgettable villains??


Happy Writing, 





55 comments:

  1. Ooh this film sounds great! I'll have to check it out. XD I love your tips! Whenever I craft villains I always like to give them what I call their "human trait", where I try to create sympathy/understanding for them. I guess that ties in with my belief that people can't be completely evil; that somewhere along the line they did a kind thing, or meant well. :)

    Wonderful post! <3

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    1. It's really good.

      That is such a good thing to do, I agree with you that people can't be just one thing. :)

      Thank you for reading!

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  2. While the black-caped, monologue-ing villains can be really funny - if you're writing something that gently parodies the cliches - it isn't good for a serious story (shocker, I know). Villains that are human are the scariest. No one is pure evil (although I suppose that may depend on your genre??), and seeing human traits in the villain can help the audience to understand that we too could be villains. Not in a creepy, everyone-likes-the-villain-nowdays kind of way, in a there but for the grace of God I go kind of way. If that makes sense??
    Jem Jones

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    1. YES. Those are hilarious, for comedies!

      And yes, that makes total sense, I see what you're getting at.

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  3. Nice post! I agree with all your tips. And I'd love to read about a cupcake-baking villain too XD

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    1. Thank you! YES, WE NEED A CUPCAKE-BAKING VILLAIN, IT WOULD BE SO CUTE. XD

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    2. Yep, it would be XD And his motive for being a villain is that everyone made fun of him when he was younger because of his passion for baking, so that's why he turned evil. XD

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    3. Yes, that would be perfect! Maybe he could be trying to kill the hero because the hero use to be one of the bullies, and the hero is clueless and doesn't remember him. XD

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    4. Haha, yeah!

      Villain: I will make you pay for what you said about my cupcakes!!!
      Hero: I... Err... You... Say what now??!
      XD

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  4. I agree. I see a lot of villains that are just evil without a reason for doing the things that they are doing...
    I don't think that a person can be pure evil, so I try to think of reasons for my villain to be doing what they are doing. Also I like your idea of a cupcake making villain!:)
    -Quinley

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    1. Yeah, I don't get why writers would limit their character with one trait and one emotion, there are so many possibilities.
      Thank you! ;)

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  5. I love the flashy blog signature!
    Great post. It got me thinking about my villain and his motives. I don't think I've ever heard of these movies, though. I'll have to look into it.

    ~Ivie
    iviewrites.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks! I am kind of afraid it will be annoying for some people, so I might change it, but I do like it. :)

      They're really good, they just have a lot of swearing, although I didn't notice anything in Unbreakable, so I think it's the cleanest one. But the plot twists! SO. GOOD. The best plot twist is in The Visit, but it's also one of the crudest with language, and the POV is strange, since the eldest girl MC is suppose to be filming the entire movie. So it's hard to get into and it has A LOT of swearing, but when the plot twist was revealed I couldn't breathe!!! XD

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    2. Oh, and they are mild horror/thrillers, Unbreakable isn't, but the others are. I think The Visit is the scariest, my brother thinks that Split is, my mom things Signs is, and I think my dad thinks The Six Sense is! XD
      So don't watch them and blame me if you don't like them, I don't know if you enjoy scarier things or not!!! XD

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    3. Nope, not a horror movie fan, so maybe a rain check on those, haha? I saw ads for split and thought it looked scary/weird. But, I think we can learn a lot about writing from movies.

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    4. Yep. Most of my friends are like that too, I'm still on the hunt for people to have movie marathons with, sadly I don't think there's any in my homeschool group, but we do have a few new kids in my co-op this year, so maybe! XD

      Yes, we can learn a lot, and M. Night Shyamalan is really good at writing, he needs to write a book one of these days! XD

      Delete
    5. Hopefully you're able to find someone. I'm more into action/adventure movies, but I'm not a big t.v person. My all time favorite movie is The Wizard of Oz. So that might give you an insight of my preference. Fantasy I guess. And obviously Httyd.

      Hey, how's the weather treating you? Did the hurricane affect y'all?

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    6. I like most genres. :)

      It's really stormy and several of us out here are flooded in, if it keeps pouring like it has been for the past two days, we will be too. :/
      And of course, there is a chance we'll lose power and water, but this happens at least once a year, so we're pretty stocked up.

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    7. Well, its good you're stocked up. Hopefully you don't lose power/water or get flooded in.

      Its raining for me, too. And wind. Hopefully this storm clears sooner than they're predicting.

      Delete
  6. OHMYGOSH, YOUR HEADER!!!
    Its amazing!!!
    How'd you do that?

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    1. Thank you! I just took a picture of a white piece of paper, went to iPiccy, and added the fonts and the designs. Then I googled how to make it your header, it was way easier than I thought it would be! :D

      Delete
    2. That sounds awesome! I've been trying to figure out how to make my background white for the past couple days. Finally figured it out a little while ago.

      It looks really nice, Gray. :D

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  7. Thanks!!! I noticed that you changed it to white.

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    1. Yeah, I'm trying to go with something different. Still working out the kinks, lol. I want my theme to be something with peach and a light blue (teal), which are my two favorite colors. But, it might take a bit before I finish everything. Baby steps.

      I have an idea in mind, though. But, with all this rain, its not like I'm going anywhere. :/

      I'm just praying for the people in Rockport and those in Houston. They have a lot going on with all these storms.

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    2. Good luck! It can be tricky!!!

      Same, with being stuck at home. :/

      OH, yes. They need prayers, poor souls. :(

      Delete
  8. This was a great reminder! I'll keep these tips in mind - villains that are villainous and yet somehow sprinkle you with sympathy are the antagonists we want :D

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    1. Thank you for reading!
      Yep. That's exactly what I was getting at!!

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  9. Never watched the movie but GREAT tips. Spot on Gray!

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  10. These tips are so great. *nods* Having an unforgettable villain is a huge step towards having an unforgettable story.

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    1. Thanks, Jane! And that is so true, unforgettable stories are the best, and what every writer should strive for!! :D

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  11. Villains do often lack a personality-- I think it's because authors look around and think their evil actions just justify their character, but that just makes them one dimensional which shouldn't be the case!!!

    xoxo Abigail Lennah | ups & downs

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    1. Yes, and it's really sad, they have so much potential to be so much more, but it's so often wasted.

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  12. AHHHH!!! The Village by M. Night Shyamalan is one of my favorite movies!!! But thanks for the thoughts...this will help when working on the backstory for the multiple villages in my trilogy!

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    1. OMIGOSH! YAY!!! Another M. Night Shyamalan fan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XD

      The Village is SO GOOD. I LOVE IVY AND LUCIUS. Ivy had the best lines ever! XD

      You're welcome! Thank you, for reading!!!

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    2. I might have to look into this one now...so much for getting more writing/reading done...thanks a bunch... :)

      The Village soundtrack is my absolute favorite for writing to. Just beautiful. Ivy is one of my favorite heroines, as well. :)

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    3. OOPS. Sorry! ;D

      I know, it has a great soundtrack, Unbreakable does too, and I can't decide which is my favorite now!
      Ivy is awesome.

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  13. Very interesting post!
    I really like your new blog-look, by the way. :)

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  14. I HAVE BEEN WANTING TO WATCH THAT MOVIE FOR A LONG TIME!!! XD It sounds awesome. ;-D
    Thanks for the tips; I will remember them for my WIP villain. XD :-)

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  15. Replies
    1. AHkjjasjas, You MUST watch the movie it is SO GOOD! XD
      It's the story of how a superhero becomes a superhero, like, HOW AWESOME IS THAT?!?!?!

      Also, I can't wait to hear more about that villain of yours!! ;D

      Oooh, thank you! It's a work in progress, but I have faith I'll get it right someday! XD

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  16. I'm kind of writing one. I mean, I'm trying to think of a reason why he hates my main characters. I don't want to make the reason too cliche though.
    I'm SO CONFUSED?!?! I mean, my villain is definitely a villain. He's sick. But I'm trying to think of a reason why he's doing what he's doing to my protagonist. I mean, I don't know why he doesn't just kill them to kill them. I wrote a scene where he tells one of my MC's that he'll make an example of them. But, I don't know WHO he's making the example to, yet. I drive myself nuts!
    Any suggestions? Maybe, I could email you or something. I know you're busy, but I don't think I want to share what my story's about where everyone can see it. I dunno. Maybe just tell me what you think. If I've given you enough to chew on.
    God Bless, and thank you for this post! I'm sure it'll help me figure some of my mess up. lol
    *I love your new style as well!*

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    1. Okay, first you need to figure out how you want your reader to feel towards your villain. Fear, hate, or maybe both? Sympathy? Compassion? Fear? That will help you figure out what kind of backstory they could have.

      Then maybe do some research on what makes people snap, if your villain is sick, he/she probably had a breaking point where they went insane in their lives, your job is to find out why and how.

      I have to go now-but I'll comment more later. Email me if you have extra questions! :)

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    2. Okay, I'm back!

      It's also good to think of villains you really liked in books, and consider their backstories, or their motivations.

      Since I don't know a whole bunch about your WIP I can't really go into detail, but I hope that helps!

      And again, if you do need any help, don't hesitate to email me, I try to respond to people as soon as I can there, too. :D

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    3. My characters fear him, but they don't hate him. I can't figure out why my villain is actually doing what he's doing. I'll probably email you about him soon.
      He's not insane, but he's definitely cruel and heartless. I should research those too, though because I'm sure the sites would help a bit.
      I've read about this one villain in this one book. Now, this guy's the definition of sick. He's evil. All. The. Way. My villain isn't as bad as this one guy, but he's pretty heartless. I don't think I'm giving you much information. lol I'll email you. I'm sure that would work better.
      Thank you so much! I will. :)
      God Bless! <3

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  17. YES!!!!!!! YES TO ALL OF THIS. <3 I agree 100000% this is SUCH A GOOD POST! Villains have to be relatable in some sense, (even though we're not villains *nervous laughter* ...I think) because just like the protagonist HOW ARE WE SUPPOSED TO FEEL ANYTHING IF WE CAN'T RELATE ON SOME LEVEL?? So yes wow I agree with this so much jflkjdfljsak YOU NAILED IT GIRL!

    rock on,
    abbiee

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    1. Thank you! <33

      Villains do have to be sort of relatable, or else they wouldn't appear complex. As for the fact that we may or may not be villains, I can't say for sure... even the best people do horrible things too, thinking they won't get caught! All we need is motivation!! XD

      THANK YOU, though!!! This comment made my evening!!! :D

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  18. Wow! I've been needing this post! THANK YOU! You made so many good points. Most of the time, whether I'm reading a book or watching a movie, I can't help but like the villain. Mostly because I feel sorry for him/her. That's why I don't like the endings of movies where the villain dies, because they're most likely not going to a good place!!!! *cries* I'd rather read/watch something where the villain isn't let off without a punishment but experiences redemption. <3

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    1. You're welcome, it makes me so happy to hear that it helped! :D

      I know, villains can be so perfect and in some cases, loveable. It is sad, more books need to have bad guys realize the error of their ways before it's too late.

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    2. Exactly. I'm planning on writing a redemption story because as I write the villain's story, I get SO ATTACHED. lol <3

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  19. I enjoyed this post!
    I love working with villains; they can be hard but done right it is very rewarding. I also agree with all of your points to make a good villain. I think that practicing really helps when you're making characters. :)
    Also another thing I like to do (and I've seen it in movies and books too) is to make sure the hero AND THE READERS see how terrible the villain is, not too long after the villain is introduced to the story. Why is the hero so intimidated/afraid of the villain? We need to be sure to write about terrible things that the villain has done to give us something to be afraid of, and to also understand the hero's fear. You know what I mean? Basically, we need a reason to hate/fear the villain.

    Anyways, I loved this post! Characters are some of my favorite things ever. :)
    -Amaris

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    1. Working with villains is so much fun! And yes, practice really does help. :)

      Same! Sometimes it feels like there's no reason to fear the villain, and that's always so sad that it wasn't written well enough. I know exactly what you mean!

      Thank you! Characters are my favorite too.

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