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October 28th, 2010
Bullies, Bastards & Bitches!

Thursday Thirteen

I’ll often pick up a writing craft book at the library. Recently I picked up a copy of Bullies, Bastards And Bitches: How To Write The Bad Guys Of Fiction by Jessica Page Morrell. I’ve found it fascinating and definitely helpful in writing villains. The author has included a list of characteristics of villains, which is very appropriate for this time of the year. Villains abound at Halloween, right?

Thirteen Characteristics of Villains

1. Villains are consistently bad. Their behavior isn’t random or a one-off act of nastiness.

2. They have a defining event in their background that set them on their path of bad behavior.

3. They often have secrets they’re desperate to hide from others.

4. They’re not usually afraid of confrontation.

5. Villains are complicated and multi-dimensional.

6. They’re unpredictable.

7. Viallains sacrifice victims to achieve their own ends.

8. Villains often have an aspect of narcissism in their personality makeup.

9. They like to take extreme risks.

10. They’re usually alpha males or females and have underlings who defer to them.

11. Villains like to obsess about details and their plan of attack.

12. A villain controls others by using guilt and loyalty.

13. A villain plays head games and is very good at playing them.

As you can see, a hero might possess some of the above characteristics. The villain and the hero are often two parts of the same coin.

Who is your favorite fictional villain?

23 comments to “Bullies, Bastards & Bitches!”

  1. Hmmm… My favorite fictional villain would be… Behemoth from The Master and Margarita. He’s just one of Satan’s sidekicks, but how can you top a demonic cat the size of a hog, who can shoot a gun and make wisecracks at the same time?

    Too cool.

    Happy TT!


  2. Hannibal Lechter.
    Voldemort
    The White Witch in Narnia.

    Good list–I’m going to put the book on the reserve list at the library.


  3. I love writing the villain’s role in a story. I’ll have to put this book on my Christmas Wish List. I don’t know who to send it to though lol
    Happy Halloween!


  4. I love creating a good villain and then somehow finding a way to redeem them. Kind of goes with your wonderful comment that villains and heroes are “often two parts of the same coin.”


  5. Hi Shelley!
    Thank you for sharing those 13 tips.
    My favorite villain is Moriarity.
    All the best,
    RKCharron


  6. Mine are very unpredictable!!!!


  7. I don’t think I have a favorite villain. What’s wrong with me!? :eek:

    There’s such a fine line between love and hate when it comes to villains. At least there is for me. If they’re really good villains I love to hate them. lol

    Thanks for sharing your list.
    Have a great Thursday!


  8. A good book to add to my reading list! I don’t have a favorite villian but would put Sauraman from Lord of the Rings on the list near the top for sure.


  9. I hate villain head games…

    Have a great Thursday!
    http://harrietandfriends.com/2010/10/i-love-hootin-anni-and-not-the-13-worst-beers-in-the-world/


  10. Great idea for a TT!

    *hugs*
    Paige

    My TT is at http://paigetylertheauthor.blogspot.com/


  11. I don’t know if I agree with all of the qualities on that list. Anybody else find them a bit one dimensional? Frankly, I find a villain more convincing if they’re leavened with a bit of humanity – some characteristic which I can identify with, that makes them more human and which casts their other actions into that much of a darker light. It’s always more uncomfortable for me as a reader when I can see some part of myself in someone doing horrible things – and sometimes a little squirm keeps me from getting complacent as a reader.


  12. Great list, Shelley. Many memorable villains in books and movies to be sure, but I don’t think I have a favorite.


  13. Great list, Shelley. Villains are as important as the protagonists imho. :grin:


  14. I don’t usually root for villans so it’s hard to have a favorite in the traditional sense. That said, my favorite villian is likely The Overlook Hotel in The Shining, both the book and mini-series version.

    My favorite villanous screen portrayal is Viggo Mortensen’s take on Lucifer in The Prophecy. It’s short but sweet and brilliant.

    Thanks for sharing, I’ll have to search out a copy.

    Happy Halloween and Happy TT,

    ~Xakara
    13 Inspirational Sentences


  15. Well, my favorite villain is Sethos from the Amelia Peabody mysteries. But he’s not really a villain …


  16. Great list of tips. I’ve added them to my notes.

    I’d have to think really hard to come up with my favorite villains, but here’s some I like that come to the top of my head:

    The Joker (Batman)
    Keiser Soze (The Usual Suspects)
    Darth Vader (Star Wars)
    Prince Zuko (Avatar: The Last Airbender)


  17. Oh No! This sounds like some of my co-workers {should I get my sickle now?}

    Nice TT


  18. Kimberly – I haven’t heard of him, but he certainly sounds like a great villain!

    Journeywoman – Good choices. I remember watching Silence of the Lambs. That was a very creepy performance.


  19. Adelle – I’ve found the book really interesting. It’s almost due back. I hope I can renew it because I want to read more.


  20. Caridad – I enjoy writing villains too. There’s a wonderful freedom since they have similar characteristics as heroes but they don’t have a “control button” so to speak.

    RK – Moriarity is an excellent villain.


  21. These are all very true. It’s tough to be a good villain.

    Have a terrific TT and Happy Halloween. :)


  22. Great list!


  23. My favorite villain is Hannibal Lechter. I think because he was so smart as well as creepy.