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Why is it that most bad guys, in most comics and stories are so cliche? Is it because these are tried and true formulas? Or just lack of imagination. I tend to think the writers simply know what works, not necessarily what may be good. Bad guys don't have to be totally bad. They can have compassion and humanity, just like the hero.
Your main bad guy should be as complex as your hero. What motivates him/her? Why is he/she hell bent on taking over the earth? Why does he/she hate the hero so much? If you can't sell your bad guy, your story won't sell either. One of the most convincing elements in establishing your hero, is the beleif that the bad guy is truely a villian. Your good guy, is only as good as his nemisis.
Don't be afraid to explore your villians psyche or emotions. What has scarred you villian so badly? What did the hero do ( or what does the villian think he did ) to the villian to warrant his hatred? Does he have a love interest? Family? What does he care about? Don't forget every villian is a person too. Not all villians are heartless cold psychopaths. Even some of the most sinister killers of our time have been more charming that our polititians. They could sell you dirt.
Henchmen and thugs help define your villian. What kind of company does he keep. What kind of players are on his team? And don't hold back giving these minor characters major personality. You never know when one of them may take the lead, or start up his own organization. One universal truth about evil: Evil eats its own kind. If evil detects weakness, it will destroy it and replace it. When they are allied, its just a matter of time before greed and lust for power pits them against each other. Evil can't win because evil feeds on evil. They can't share or work together. Remember this when you are creating a villian team or group. Make a strong supporting character that gives a dynamic relationship with the hero's nemisis.
And don't get me wrong about cliches. They have their place, and often justly so. But even if you decide to go with some sort of cliche, make it your own. Put your own mark on it. Why does your story need this cliche? What is it about your hero, villian or story that makes it so different?
Like in all artistic endevours, be creative and original. But most of all have fun. If its too much like work and not much like love, don't do it. Love what your doing. There will be times when it seems like your not getting anything out of it. Or that the feedback about your work is not what you would like it to be. Hang in there, everything you write makes you a better writer. Learn from it and push on. Just have fun doing it.
Editor - Lit.Org
Chrispian H. Burks
Lit.Org Owner / Founder
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