GoldieS

How to build a dreaded antagonist

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(Hopefully this is the correct place to ask such a question)

 

I was wondering if anyone had any tips in creating a truly villainous villain, one that people dread the protagonist running into rather than just another obstacle. Might anyone have any tips on achieving such a character?

Edited by GoldieS

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1 make them relatable.

2 show us why they are to be feared.

3 make their evil realistic to the universe they inhabit.

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6 minutes ago, Film Reel said:

1 make them relatable.

2 show us why they are to be feared.

3 make their evil realistic to the universe they inhabit.

I suppose, but my problem is this: After creating a villain, I feel as though the more they pop up, the less omnipresence and 'looming specter' they become. They just end up becoming another random character instead of the big bad villain they're supposed to be. Not sure if that makes sense at all. 

 

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omnipresence first of all that would be accomplished with the villain showing up everywhere or everywhere in fear of his presence as that is what omnipresence being everywhere at once. the problem your having is a development of character problem not them showing up too much if you develop right they will be that looming spectre if not they will just be that character 43920 that shows up.

Look at the joker I will throw my hands down the best villain ever. his personality is evil does not care who he kills and his evil is grounded for the universe he is in he's not too out there and not under powered so it's a good balance for the dark knight and he's omnipresence cause he's inside the batmans psychic, under his skin and all that. so you can use the character as much or as little as you need and you'll still have a good joker story.

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Not gonna lie, awesome example XD I guess it's just one of those things I have to tweak until I figure it out then...

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I think the most important part of a villain is why why do what they do, and a good reason at that. For example, when Sombra attacked and enslaved the crystal ponies, he did it just beacause. Same with Tirek. On the other hoof, Starlight Glimmer was alone and with no friends because of a cutie mark, so she tried to get rid of them so ponies could have good friends. (Warning, I'll be using Starlight as an example a lot.)

Also, some of the best villains and heros don't have some strong, crazy power. Batman (and yes, I know he's a hero) is one of the only heros to not have a superpower. He's just smart. Starlight, while pretty good with magic, uses her wit and cunning to lead her village. This makes your characters much more interesting, as they don't just have some power to fall back on. Another example of this is one of my OCs, Día Rosetta. She's not a villain, but she's more interested in her own desires than other ponies. 

Hope this helped!

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Make them relatable with the viewers and give them motives, or make them funny.

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To add on to these good ideas, have your villain WIN the majority of the conflicts that he/she brings upon the protagonist. Make the protagonist feel seemingly helpless the moment the villain's plan goes in motion. In order to make your villain intimidating, you need to make him/her smart and victorious, but you also need to try not to write yourself into a corner by making them too powerful.

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An alternative way to way to have a good villain is to start with them being the winner, base your story or whatever in a world where the villain has succeeded with his terrible plan, it's a good way to make him omnipotent by having him being not incredibly powerful but by having what he controls give him power, it then creates good story points of your protagonist having to go through all these things to reach the villain.

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Hot dog! Lot's of good advice, thanks guys! Plenty of stuff to go on now. If I knew how to individually call out people I would, but sadly I'm still a bit new here XD

Edited by GoldieS
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One method to improve villain to have them attack the hero on an "ideological" level.  It's why Discord was such a popular villain, he didn't just fight the mane 6 physically like Chrysalis, he went after the core of who they really were.  This ties the character's internal conflicts into the external ones and increases the threat, without increasing the villain's actual objective power.

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This is very specific to a certain type of villain (mainly tyrants and the like) but if people are always scared of the villain that builds them up. And I don't mean that their scared because the villains powerful, no I mean they're scared because the villain could be anywhere and hear everything. They're scared ti say anything against the villain because the last person who did disappeared. They might even be scared to say the villains name. The villain hears everything and that is terrifying.

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I'll say it right now, and I've mentioned this on other sites.  But my favorite kinds of villains are the ones that genuinely think they're doing the right thing.

One of the big things about villains is they always have some sort of goal that they'll go to almost any lengths in order to accomplish (whether it's to take over the world, cause a crisis, or just acquire wealth), regardless of whether or not it's ethical.  However, equally important is establishing WHY they want to achieve this goal.  Why do they feel the need to do this?  What drove them to it?

There can be more than one reason.  And if you write the villain with the mindset that they think they're doing the right thing, you could come up with a reason that the reader would consider to be a valid argument, regardless of what kind of world the villain is written for.

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On 8/21/2017 at 11:47 AM, GoldieS said:

I suppose, but my problem is this: After creating a villain, I feel as though the more they pop up, the less omnipresence and 'looming specter' they become. They just end up becoming another random character instead of the big bad villain they're supposed to be. Not sure if that makes sense at all. 

 

You can still make a villain scary even if they appear somewhat often. The key there is making each scene they appear in seem more threatening than it was before they showed up. Make the characters uncomfortable to think about them and on edge when in their presence. Of course, you have to make that fear justified. A villain who shows up to be scary and do nothing else, looses that effect. It's not how much we see them, it's WHAT we see of them.

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A true villain believes that what they are doing is right and the hero can sympathize with him/her. For an example, look at the villain in the Black Panther movie. His point of view was believable and relatable. Have the villain challenge the hero’s system of beliefs. 

Dont make a final fantasy villain that wants to destroy everything because he’s tired of living or everyone is suffering. Also, don’t make your villain be goofy. The reader won’t take him/seriously.

The villain can also be a dark reflection of the hero like with Batman and the Joker. 

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