How to Write a Villain: 6 Scenes Your Story Needs

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You have an amazing idea for a protagonist, but for some reason, your story idea doesn't excite you in the way you hoped. You're lacking a fearsome villain, and you're stumped about how to write a villain that feels real. That really raises the stakes.

That stands out.

how to write a villain

Villains make our heroes.

Without Voldemort, Harry Potter is just another young wizard. Without Moriarty, Sherlock Holmes is just a know-it-all in a weird hat. Without the Joker, Batman is just a rich dude with anger issues and too much time on his hands.

Villains are essential. Without them, our heroes can’t shine. That's why it's important to give our villains scenes where they can wow us with their quirks and scare us with their ferocity.

But what makes a great villain? In this post, you'll learn how to write a villain—one who is equally memorable to the protagonist—with six scenes that make a significant difference from books where the villain is just, eh.

Want to learn more about how to plot and structure your story? Check out Joe Bunting's new book, The Write Structure, on sale for $5.99 (for a limited time!). It helps writers like you make their plot better and write books readers love. Get the book here.

6 Key Scenes to Write a Good Villain

In general, heroes are predictable and sometimes boring. It’s only when a great villain creates chaos that the good guy has a chance to show us what they are made of.

Yet it isn’t enough to simply point to a character and say, “That’s the bad guy.” You’ve got to let the reader get to know them. Your reader needs to understand what makes them tick.

And most of all, your reader needs to believe that the bad guy can beat the hero and win the day.

Here are six scenes you can use to highlight the villainy, character arc, dark side, and everything else bad guys.

Scene #1: The Backstory

Every baddie starts somewhere.

The origin story is a wonderful moment in which you can help the reader relate to your villain. In this moment, villain's backstory is brought to the front and center of the scene. Here, their humanity shines through, and you can pull at your readers' heartstrings in ways that might tempt them to see their own lives and choices through the villain's point of view.

As an example, take Pixar's excellent superhero film, The Incredibles. 

When the big bad Syndrome is revealed, we can't help but feel sympathy for him after his reflection about Mr. Incredible rejecting him.

Or how about when we learn why Kylo Ren turns to the Dark Side?

Even in an animated world with super-stretchy stay-at-home mothers, these characters become relateable human beings. They are honest and vulnerable. They have emotions, and all of this comes out with their character motivation at play.

If you can make your villain’s struggle an exaggerated version of something we all battle in real life, your readers will begin to understand them on an even deeper level, even when it's a bit scary to do so.

After all, there's nothing more terrifying than a sympathetic villain that one can see him or herself becoming!

Backstory Practice

Come up with one tragic story from your villain's childhood that made them the kind of villain they are when your story starts. Consider how they were forced into a dilemma because of this moment in their life, and how they made a decision that led to the dark trajectory of their existence.

Scene #2: The First Look

First impressions are important. The first time we see your villain at work, we need to be wowed. It’s that first crime, that first harsh word, that first evil glance that will set the tone for your villain.

Take the introduction of Hannibal Lecter in The Silence of the Lambs. In a truly horrifying scene, Agent Clarice Starling must descend into a literal dungeon where the most severely deranged, sadistic serial killers are kept. Once she passes by several, including a disgusting pervert named Miggs, Starling arrives at the final cell inhabited by Dr. Lecter.

Yet she doesn't find a monster waiting for her—at least not at first. Instead, she sees a man standing calmly in his cell, with a polite smile on his face. His first words to her? “Good morning.”

What a contrast to what has come before! There's something freakishly eerie about this man's unnerved demeanor.

As the story reveals, Hannibal Lecter isn't just an overused trope of a misunderstood villain. Lecter is a criminal mastermind who commits shocking acts of evil, willingly jeopardizing Starling's life in the process.

In many stories, writers can often defend that, in the villain's own mind, they are the hero of their own story. These are the villains who truly believe that what they are doing is right, even if their actions are driven by their egos and misbeliefs (take the White Witch in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, or really any dictator in history).

Hannibal Lecter may be one of the only exceptions to this trope. He is brilliant, sophisticated—and wildly dangerous. And he owns this.

It's part of what makes him so terrifying. He knows the wrongs he commits, and gets energized by them.

The same goes for the Joker in Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight series.

The 1989 Batman film introduces the Joker in a memorable way, as does the 2008 The Dark Knight:

In both films, the Joker does very bad things that reveal a twisted dark side of the human psyche. And both scenes are remarkably memorable for just how powerfully and succinctly they capture the bad guy's willingness to harm other human beings.

Nothing and nobody can reason with the Joker. He's out to burn the world.

So plan and write a scene for your antagonist's first look that encapsulates all that they stand for, and sets them apart as a truly evil villain.

First Look Practice

Think about what happens in the scene we first see your story's villain. What progressive complication turns the Value in this scene from bad to worse? What action or revelation do we see that shows that surrounding characters shouldn't mess with this Villain?

For instance, in The Dark Knight, following Joker's POV, there's a moment when one of the pawns in Joker's game holds Joker at gunpoint. For a moment we think, here we go—another one down. But then, Joker (then masked) indicates something about a bus driver. This stuns the other bank robber, seconds before being plowed down by a bus.

The Joker has had a plan all along, and when he reveals who he is to the bank teller lying on the ground, we know this isn't like any Batman movie we've seen before.

Because this villain is . . . something else.

Scene #3: The First Confrontation

This scene shows that moment when the two rivals (protagonist and villain) size each other up.

Consider this the coin toss before the football game, the handshake before the political debate. It's when your villain and hero meet face-to-face for the first time, and in these minutes, the protagonist gets a personal look at how dangerous the villain really is.

It's a wonderful opportunity to show your reader why the villain will be a good foil for your hero.

Because of this, the stakes are raised. A lot.

Consider the scene when Thanos pulverizes Thor and Hulk in the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War.

Top 30 Hulk Fights Thanos GIFs | Find the best GIF on Gfycat

Or when Cersei and Jamie come to Winterfell for the first time, we immediately see the contrast between them and the Starks.

These crucial confrontations are at their best when the villain reveals a chink in your hero’s armor. Until this point in the story, you’ve led your reader to believe that the hero was strong and good; but when you show that main character can't defeat this bad guy so easily, suspense ripples into the story.

The reader sees that everything isn't as perfect, and that the main character is going to have a fierce fight on their hands.

Writing villains isn't all about dreaming up stomach-turning atrocities; it's about conflict between two moral forces. And in that first moment of conflict, your hero must discover that the forces of evil pack a wicked punch.

So cook up a great scene in which the tables turn and power whips back and forth between the two, ending with your protagonist on the ropes.

If you want to craft a memorable villain that readers can't stop talking about, you have to be willing to let your hero lose . . . at least for a while.

First Confrontation Practice

It's time to pin your protagonist against your villain for the first time. Make a list of five progressive complications that your hero faces in this scene while battling your villain. Rank these in intensity from one to five, and use these in your scene as  a way to show how matters grow more difficult for your protagonist.

Remember that not all villains are action stories. Let's look at a scene with a stronger psychological focus, Mr. Potter in It's a Wonderful Life. What do you think are the progressive complications George Bailey faces when he confronts Mr. Potter?

How could you do something similar in your face-off scene?

Scene #4: The Hero’s Temporary Defeat

This moment is a must for every story.

If your hero gets knocked down after the first confrontation, there needs to be a scene later in which they get knocked the heck out. 

No one likes a blow out—at least in a novel or a short story.

If your heroes win for the entire game, or if there's really not a threat to their goals, then your readers are going to be bored stiff. We need to know that the stakes are real. Instead, your readers should always question whether this story is going to end well until the very end.

J.K. Rowling pulled this off masterfully throughout the Harry Potter series, and especially in the final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. 

The final book is a bloodbath for the good guys. Voldemort has his way with everyone and everything in almost every scene. And when the good guys do win, by a hair's width and a cost that comes with several beloved lives—the highest price.

This shows how dark and dangerous the series has become since book one. Not only does it feel like everyone is fair game starting with Moody, but each time Harry, Hermione, and Ron try to destroy a horcrux, the risk (that impacts their survival) grows worse.

The battle with Voldemort's forces in the end sees the death of many beloved characters. And even the novel's final confrontation, in which Harry bravely ventures into the Dark Forest to face He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named for (what he thinks is) the final time, he is content to sacrifice himself so his friends can live.

Whoa. That's dire.

But rewind for a moment. Remember that this scene is about a temporary defeat for the protagonist. To best accomplish this, it's useful to show a scene where a protagonist relies on old ways or misbeliefs while fighting the villain, and because of this, they suffer a great loss.

in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this scene is best scene when Voldemort his enemies, Harry included, a chance to collect their dead. At the same time, he calls out Harry as a coward and invites him into the forest.

Up to this point, Harry and his friends have fought valiantly, but they can't defeat Voldemort unless, as Harry learns, he sacrifices himself.

Survival for Harry's friends, Harry realizes, can't happen unless he changes his strategy. The very scene that proves this is that which shows Harry's suffered defeat at the villain's hands.

While Voldemort isn't a terribly relatable villain, as most real life people have complicated world views and character development (which Voldemort has, but is also pure evil), he is the type of villain that makes readers clutch the book with white knuckles until the very end.

Pro Tip: These scenes can only be accomplished by strong structure. You have to plan ahead.

You have to plan your hero's defeat in advance so you don't “cheat” with a deus ex machina. 

If you write your hero into a corner, you have to know their exit strategy. Somewhere along the journey, the protagonist must have built a relationship, learned a skill, or discovered some secret power or magic that enables them to legitimately escape the fate they find themselves in.

For Harry Potter, as we learn after this scene, it is the scar.

All along, J.K. Rowling knew what it actually was (I won't put it here, just in case you somehow don't already know), and why it would save Harry if he willingly sacrificed himself at just the right moment.

So Harry Potter doesn't cheat, even though Harry technically survives death. He executes a perfect “Resurrection” step in his hero's journey, but this wouldn't exist without Voldemort.

Temporary Defeat Practice

When does your hero rely on their old ways while trying to fight their villain? How do these old ways fail them? Take some time to journal about a scene that keeps the above questions in mind, and then show how your protagonist suffers defeat in this moment—a low moment for them in the book.

Scene #5: The Monologue

The monologue is the moment we all wait for, the moment we love to hate. James Bond is tied to a table as a laser beam is slowly creeps toward him. Feeling that victory is imminent, the villain decides to reveal their master plan.

We, the audience, know it’s a mistake. We know the hero is going to escape; yet still, we eat it up because it’s such an important moment in the story.

It not only raises the stakes of the conflict by giving us a glimpse into what will happen if your hero doesn’t rise to the challenge; it also gives us a clear picture of your villain’s motivation. Does he want money? Power? Or does she just want to watch the world burn?

Who is the maniacal character causing all this chaos? In the monologue, we get to see the world through your villain’s eyes.

Keep in mind that the villain's monologue has become a well-known trope, so be sure to make innovative choices when you write this scene. If you aren't familiar with the way The Incredibles teases this common archetype, make sure you rewatch the film and pay attention when Syndrome reveals his true identity.

Monologue Practice

What does your villain want to say that really gives it to the protagonist? What is it that your villain wants in your story, and how is this revealed in this scene through a monologue?

Pro Tip: Knowing this scene will help you understand every motive your villain uses in every scene where they appear. So, if you don't know this scene in your book, try writing it before all the others. It might help you figure out how all the other five scenes fall into place!

Scene #6: The Moment of Partial Redemption

Only the very best villains have these scenes.

This is when, for the briefest moment, we are led to believe that the zebra might change its stripes. It may only last a split second, but in this scene your villain convinces us that there might be a chance that they can be redeemed.

It’s Gollum professing his loyalty to Frodo before trying to take to the ring for himself in The Lord of the Rings. It’s Long John Silver earning Jim’s trust before revealing himself to be a treasure-hungry mutineer in Treasure Island. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, it’s the White Witch convincing Edmund she just wants to meet his brother and sisters, making us think for a split second that maybe she isn’t a heartless, hope-crushing, Christmas-hating monster.

If your villain can fool us, we will love them for it.

They'll hook us, and hold onto our attention with both hands.

Moment of Partial Redemption Practice

In your book, what could make your villain want partial redemption? How is this opportunity brought to our attention, and why does the villain fool us—or change—even if for a split second? Take some notes on this idea, and let it cook.

Give Your Villain the Stage

In order to write a memorable protagonist, you need a villain that is equally powerful—if not more so.

Think about it: the bigger the protagonist, the bigger the villain.

And because you’ve worked hard to create a villain that will give your hero a chance to show us what they are made of, you need to give your baddie a place to shine.

To do this, use the six scenes covered in this post. Build them a stage and let their performance wow us.

And always keep in mind the importance of raising the stakes with each moment. After all, eventually all your scenes build to your story's final showdown between your hero and the villain.

At your story's precipice, we will see what both your protagonist and villain are really made of.

What scenes do you like to use to create great villains? Let me know in the comments.

Need more plot help? After you practice these scenes in the exercise below, check out my new book The Write Structure which helps writers make their plot better and write books readers love. Low price for a limited time!

Get The Write Structure for $9.99 »

PRACTICE

Think of the hero and villain from your work in progress, or imagine a new hero and villain. Then, take fifteen minutes to write one of the six scenes above. When you're finished, share your scene with us in the comments. And if you share, remember to leave feedback for your fellow writers.

Jeff Elkins is a writer who lives Baltimore with his wife and five kids. If you enjoy his writing, he'd be honored if you would subscribe to his free monthly newsletter. All subscribers receive a free copy of Jeff's urban fantasy novella "The Window Washing Boy."

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34 Comments

  1. seth_barnes

    This was excellent!

    Reply
  2. Michael Vanderosen

    Good Stuff Jeff!… just as I’m about to flesh out my villain… thanks!! 😀

    Reply
  3. Jason

    Good stuff!

    Reply
  4. Candace

    Great read Jeff! I especially liked the first look and first confrontation part. Stories that have villains who are ale to make the hero question their own abilities during those moments are powerful. The final victory is much sweeter as a result.

    Reply
  5. Stella

    “If that Malay karang guni man comes, tell him no newspaper today.”

    Jean looked at the big stack of old newspapers behind the door. “Then what do you want to do with them?”

    “Later you help me bring to the recycle bin downstairs.”

    Judging by the volume of papers, that would take at least three trips. She could just imagine that: tottering down the corridor, fumbling for the lift button with one hand, vision blocked by the precarious paper tower in her arms.

    She took her gaze off the television and looked straight at her mother. “Ma, that’s ridiculous.”

    Her mother looked up from the ironing board. “After the bomb, better don’t go near that kind of people.”

    What kind of people?”

    Her mother lowered her voice. “Like him, lor.”

    Jean rolled her eyes. “Like what? Males? Guys who wear flip-flops? People with ten fingers, two ears and a nose – am I getting close?”

    The voice was now so soft she could barely hear it. “Malays.”

    She couldn’t take it any more. “You know Malays are different from Muslims right? It’s not like the freaking karang guni man was the one who – oh my god, I can’t even.”

    She flopped back onto the sofa. Where was Sally at a time like this? She needed someone, anyone, to roll her eyes with. An entire conversation exchanged in just that flicker of gazes.

    Can you believe our parents just said that?

    Your mother is embarrassing.

    My mother? She’s your mother.

    The mother – who was unfortunately, hers – sighed. “Ah Girl, now you don’t want to listen to me. Later something happen to you, too late already. Old people eat more salt –”

    “Than I eat rice. Yes, I know.” How many times had her mother trotted out that Chinese proverb to justify her latest piece of advice? “That saying doesn’t even make sense.”

    Her mother didn’t appear to be listening. “So you help me bring down the newspapers later ah? Ah Girl guai.”

    *

    So, context. This is a story that explores what happens after a terrorist attack happens in Singapore. (We are lucky enough that this has not happened yet, and I might be morbid for writing on this, but it’s only a matter of time…) Malays, who are mostly Muslim, are the biggest minority group in majority-Chinese Singapore. Our protagonist is discovering that she and her mother have different reactions to the terrorist attack.

    Reply
    • Jeff Elkins

      Both are great personalities. The conversation flows. Nice work. Thanks for sharing.

      Reply
      • Stella

        Thanks Jeff. Enjoyed your article. Though I found it difficult to apply to my writing because the scenes you describe are more for movie or traditional villains. What about ‘villains’ like the characters I wrote about?

        Reply
        • Jeff Elkins

          While I agree that we naturally imagine these scenes in that way, I think they can/do exist in every story. Every story has a protagonist (hero) and antagonist (villain). Even in super hero type stories, these characters aren’t black/white, but grey.

          In your story, I was reading the mother as the antagonist and the narrator as the protagonist. I didn’t label them this because one is “good” and the other is “bad,” but rather because I naturally assumed the narrator’s point of view to be the primary one sense the story is told from her perspective.

          I thought of your scene as a “First Confrontation” scene because you are paralleling the differing views against one another. If you were to expand this piece, I would expect there to be some kind of scene where the mother’s views are revealed for the first time and the girl is surprised (the First Look), a scene where the justification of the mother’s views is explained (the Origin Story), the daughter struggling with the mother’s views as the mother lashes out (the Monologue), and even a moment when the mother’s views appear to be kind in some way (the Moment of Partial Redemption) – maybe the daughter sees the mother’s perspective in a new light and it causes her to question herself.

          While this story won’t end like a super hero story – with the mother being handcuffed and take to jail – there will still be resolution where the villain (the mother’s views) are dealt with and the conflict with the hero is resolved.

          Hope that all makes sense.

          Reply
          • Stella

            That’s fantastic! Yes, I am developing this story and you just gave me a roadmap of how to do it. You’re right, those villain scenes would work great like you suggested!

    • Bruce Carroll

      This is very good, and you’ve tackled a subject many of us would rather avoid. You seem to have circumvented the idea of a “villain” in favor of creating human characters. Each is a foil for the other.

      Reply
      • Stella

        Thanks Bruce. That’s very insightful of you, I didn’t think of the characters as foils but I realise you’re right. I realise that most of my stories – including all my WIPs – don’t have villains. Things are rarely so black and white in real life.

        Most of my conflict comes from characters with different values who get in each other’s way. Like I have two characters who co-lead a team of warriors. They fight because one is more concerned for the warriors’ welfare and how fighting is affecting their lives, whereas the other only sees the greater good.

        Are you entering the Scars competition? My above excerpt is for that. Would be happy to bounce ideas together if you’re entering too.

        Reply
        • Bruce Carroll

          I am not aware of the Scars competition. Feel free to bounce idea off of me regardless.

          Reply
          • Stella

            Hi Bruce, late reply. Thanks for being open to discussing. I was referring to The Write Practice’s upcoming writing contest that closes on 31 July. I’ve written a story for this about the aftermath of terrorists attacking Singapore. My email is lightningbolt746@yahoo.com.sg, could you drop me an email so I can send you a draft? If you have time to read it, would appreciate feedback!

  6. Member of the Tribe

    Loved the article. Here’s my attempt at a First Look scene
    _______________________________

    Imani and her younger brother Alex practically exploded out of the tiny door of the apartment where Mom and Dad kept them captive. It was 12:30 on beautiful summer afternoon and they were forced to finish their daily ritual of finishing summer school homework assignments. But now they were free and raced down the quiet block in search of all the fun the world had to offer. “We should go get sandwich and an ice cream and hot fries and two C&C’s – no three because I want to try orange this,” Alex sentence choked off in back of his throat. Imani was already in a dead stop and her larger frame must have block his vision of the terrible sight. They watched in horror as Scott, the junior high bully that tormented their school, stood laughing over boy smaller than Alex.

    Scott doubled over in increasingly demonic laughter as the four large boys surrounding him kicked the little boy. “Let go of the damn bike, idiot” one of the largest of the enforcers cackled. The little boy eventually did and the group snatched the bike and began arguing over who would ride first. At this point Imani and Alex regained composure and attempted to sulk away in the opposite direction before being struck into stillness again from the shriek of Scott’s familiar voice. “My friends, we have visitors. And I was so bored before now”, Scott called out.

    Before Imani could properly turn back around, they were surrounded by the group of bullies. Minus Scott, who apparently wanted to take his time and stroll to the occasion.

    Even though Alex was terrified and tiny and so ill prepared for any moments that resembled the one he found himself, Imani was quite the opposite. Boys in her school knew not to mess with her. Her dad taught her to box at an early age so fighting was not something she ran from. In fact, she was pretty sure she’s had a run in with at least one of the boys in today’s group and gotten the better end of the affair. She wasn’t really worried, just annoyed. No one wants to start a summer day fighting, but if it meant keeping her brother safe, Imani would oblige. She waited until Scott got close to them and mentally prepared to implement the advice her father always told her.

    “You only need to knock out the biggest, baddest kid on the block once. Nobody’s ever gonna mess with you after that”

    “What do you want Scott?”, Imani muttered. She hoped to get sucker punch him in mid sentence. For some reason that made the punches hurt more. That would end things and they’d be able to go about their day.

    “I’m glad you asked. I was walking by your shitty neighborhood and saw this kid-”

    Imani cocked back and swung with every bad intention she’s ever had. She swung harder than that time she mistakenly cracked a girls jaw that tried to take her lip balm. She swung with everything and connected squarely on Scott’s jaw. Imani was as accurate as she was vicious.

    But something must have been strange about today because Scott barely moved. It looked like his body didn’t know it was hit. His head turned slightly and gasps stole the air from the lungs of his team. But he didn’t see hurt. Instead he turned back with a smack across Imani’s face that was so loud, a neighbor opened her window. Imani screamed with pain. She was sure she saw stars. She gave Scott her best shot when he wasn’t ready and did nothing. And now he flicked her off like a fly.

    He laughed

    “This should be fun. Walk with us, guys”

    Reply
    • Jeff Elkins

      Great opening scene. Scott’s got a crew. He seems to have all the power. He’s bent on destruction. All seems lost for Imani and Alex. Great start!

      Reply
      • Member of the Tribe

        Thank you!

        Reply
    • Bruce Carroll

      I agree with Jeff. You’ve introduced the villain and shown us right from the start that he is more powerful than Imani and Alex. Whatever victory you have in store for them, we readers know they will have earned it.

      Reply
  7. jim calocci

    scene one – the origin story – in this scene , your villain’s humanity shows through
    “PUP ”
    logline – would you put your self on the line to help the defenseless
    visitor / consolari – villain
    we had a product , you took it
    to maintain trust with our clients
    we must keep our word , period
    DOC – hero
    we had a situation , to be honorable
    we had to intervene
    Visitor / Consolari
    we must take action that will maintain
    the trust of our clients

    Reply
  8. Vio

    What are your thoughts on having the villain win in the end or having the villain be right all along?

    Reply
    • Jeff Elkins

      If you can pull it off, it’s brilliant.

      Reply
      • Mintress

        I hope I will be able to. I feel like it would be an interesting twist to my story.

        Reply
  9. Nicola Tapson

    Thanks for a great list of scenes to consider when writing about a villain. Here is my attempt at the monologue.
    ——————————————————————————–
    “Hello, sleeping beauty. Did you have a nice sleep?” grinned Frank. He had glint in his eyes. Anne had seen this glint before. It was the one which belonged to dear and loving boyfriend. What was he doing here? Why was her head pounding? And why couldn’t she feel the tips of her fingers? She looked at him. “What are you doing?” she asked calmly. “I am performing my final coup d’etat. I am sorry it is no as luxurious as the others had it but unfortunately the cops have staked out all the 5 start hotels in ridge land so I am afraid you will meet your end here.” He pointed towards the walls. They had slimy dripping of them and there was distinct fishy smell in the air. Where were they? Were they in the docks? That is where Frank worked or at least that is what he had told her. Anne looked around and retched at the smell. This was not how she had imagined her death not that someone ever imagines their death. “But why?” pleaded Anne. “We loved one another. We had dreams. We planned a future together.” “Well, that my dear lovely was just a ruse to get your scent of my tail. There was a time when you had almost caught me and I had to act fast. Lucky for me you are a die hard romantic so it was easy to woo you. It was fun to watch as you searched for the killer and he was sharing your bed.” Anne puked at the idea. Frank lifted her chin with the end of his switchblade “That is not what you thought at the time. You thought I was a knight in shining armour who rode in and saved the day. Ah how shallow some appearances can be.” Cackled Frank. “As you can see, I am now ready to end this little charade of mine as you were getting to close to figuring me out and that would do not be good. No No No. We need to end it before they find me.” Frank started to pace up and down. “You couldn’t have left well alone. You couldn’t enjoy the present and not dig deeper to why the innocents lives where being lost. Why couldn’t you just have left it ANNE?” screamed Frank. Anne stared at him. “Because you are useless human and don’t deserve to breath”. Frank slammed his fist into her chest. She gasped for air. “What is that all you got?” hissed Anne. Frank lifted the switchblade and barrelled down on Anne. Now she had done it.

    Reply
  10. Bruce Carroll

    Jeff, I think you missed the Dying Breath moment. That moment when the villain knows he (or she) is defeated, but lashes out against the hero anyway. It is Khan, his ship hopelessly crippled, himself with a fatal injury, detonating the Genesis Device out of spite.

    I am posting a chapter from my WIP. It is the final chapter (spoiler alert!), although it will be followed by a short epilogue. (Another spoiler alert: Akiko is okay at the end of the story.) I know I’ve made some mistakes, the most obvious to me is introducing the villain in this last chapter. I’ll fix all of that as I write more of the middle.

    I should mention that in a prior (as yet unwritten) chapter, Akiko has heard of this man with the baritone voice. He is an arms dealer who specializes in hard-to-get weaponry. She has heard he has a cobalt bomb (and a little about the dangers of such a weapon) and that he made a deal to sell it to someone.

    ~ ~ ~

    Akiko struggled, but it was no use. The men dragged her into a building and threw her to the floor. The tile was hard beneath her knees. She caught herself with her hands to keep from having her face hit the tile as well.
    “You’re wondering why you’re here,” said a man with a deep baritone voice. He was in front of and above her. Possibly sitting, as Akiko was on the floor.
    “It ends here,” the man went on. “Now. Tonight.”
    Akiko forced herself to her feet, her fists balled at her sides, ready to defend herself.
    The man with the baritone voice chuckled. It was a cold, menacing sound.
    “I admire your spunk,” he said. “I really do. But it isn’t going to help you now. Stretch out your hand. Go ahead.”
    Akiko reached out in front of her tentatively. She touched something cold and metallic. She explored it with her fingertips. It was flat, with a sharp edge; obviously a sword. She wasn’t certain which end was which, but she quickly grasped with both hands to her left, the wielder’s right, trying desperately to take it from him. He jerked the sword back before she ever found out for certain which end was which.
    Baritone was chuckling again. “Like I said, kid; you’ve got spunk!”
    Akiko heard the faint rustle of movement. She dove to her right and heard the blade strike the floor behind her. She scrambled quickly across the floor until she came to the feet of one of the men who had dragged her in. She immediately wrapped her arms around his ankles. She waited until she felt him bend down to grab her then leveraged herself to her feet, adding her motion to his to toss him behind her towards Baritone. She kept going until she reached the wall. She stood, her fingers desperately grasping at anything on the wall. There were metallic objects hanging here. She realized they were an array of bladed weapons. She wondered if they were in a museum.
    With only seconds to make a selection, she grabbed a sword from the wall and turned to face her adversary, poised to defend herself. The sword was heavier than she would have liked.
    Baritone chuckled. “This will be fun,” he said. “Go to the airport, catch the plane. Tell the Sultan I’ve been delayed, and will arrive on the next flight. If he balks, stall him. Tell him I’ve had another offer.”
    Someone said, “Yes, sir,” as Akiko heard the others in the room leave. She hoped they were all gone. Baritone was going to be challenge enough.
    “Well, little girl,” Baritone said. The way he clipped the end of girl and the rustle of his clothing alerted Akiko, and she brought her sword up to block his blow just in time. There was the harsh clang of steel against steel. Her hand stung from the blow. This was going to be a lot harder than a barehanded fight.
    She felt the pressure of Baritone’s sword leave her blade. She brought her weapon to a vertical position and gritted her teeth as his blade slammed into hers again. The force of the blow almost dislodged the weapon from her hand. She knew the battle wouldn’t turn in her favor if she couldn’t get away from the wall. She tentatively circled to her right. She could hear him moving slowly, stalking her like prey.
    “It’s fitting, really…” Baritone said.
    She sensed him swinging again and just managed to parry his blow. She didn’t know how long she could keep this up. One missed block and she’d be dead.
    “…that I should kill you…”
    Another swing. She blocked it, too. The sound of blades clashing rang in her ears, and her hand stung badly. She wanted to switch hands, but feared he would cut her down as she made the exchange. Besides, she wasn’t nearly as quick with her left hand.
    “…after having killed…”
    She heard him move and swung her sword again. She misjudged, though: he had not swung but thrust. Her parry spared her life, but she felt the tip of his sword push deep into the flesh of her left arm, just below the shoulder. She cried out as he removed it.
    “…your parents.”
    Akiko felt a sharp pain in the back of her head. She seemed to be losing her sense of balance. Shards of white hot light pierced the sides of her eyes. There was a tidal wave of light and color dancing in her mind. She stepped back, reeling.
    She could see.
    She stepped back again, holding her blade upright before her as her eyes focused.
    She saw the man with the baritone voice. He was taller than she had expected. His dark hair flowed past his shoulders, and his eyes were a menacing shade of blue. A neatly-trimmed goatee adorned his square jaw.
    It was him!
    Her memory had returned along with her sight. She could remember the sight she had never wanted to see; the sight of this man slaughtering her parents as she watched hidden in the closet with the slatted door. She remembered how he had discovered her and dragged her out; how he had beaten her and driven her half-conscious body to the abandoned warehouse.
    Her newly-restored vision blurred, and she realized she was crying. “Who are you?” she shouted.
    The man with the baritone voice stepped forward. “Call me Moriarty,” he said, swinging his sword at her again. She defended herself more easily this time, although “easy” didn’t really describe it. They exchanged several blows. Her left arm burned where he had stabbed it.
    He was stronger than she was, and while he was not unusually fast, the weight of the sword slowed Akiko greatly. She was in pain and bleeding. She was getting tired.
    Moriarty toyed with her, like a cat cornering a mouse. He would attack fiercely and after several blows, he would pause to chuckle. Once he struck Akiko’s wound with the flat of his blade, making her wince.
    She fought off another flurry of blows. Her breathing was ragged. Unless she could get some sort of advantage, she was going to lose.
    Moriarty attacked again. The barrage was longer this time, but Akiko parried every blow. She didn’t have much opportunity to return blows, however.
    When Moriarty paused again, she looked at her surroundings. They were in a store, not a museum; a store which specialized in Asian merchandise, mostly weaponry. Surely there was something….
    Moriarty attacked again, and Akiko barely repelled him. She backed into a glass display case.
    He halted again. He was tiring, too, though not as quickly as Akiko. She took the opportunity to look into the case. There was an assortment of shuriken, Japanese throwing stars. They were ornamental, but they would work.
    Moriarty lunged at her, and she deflected his deadly blows. When she saw him start a downstroke she dodged the blow, letting him shatter the glass case for her.
    She didn’t trust her inured arm to be able to make the throws she would need. Swallowing her anxiety, she closed her eyes and placed the hefty sword on the floor. Moriarty was chuckling again, but she stood, opening her eyes and finding five suitable throwing stars.
    “So, the little girl has her sight back and now she wants to try a new tactic,” Moriarty taunted.
    Akiko tried to resist the urge to say anything. She didn’t want to give away her plan. Her left arm hurt badly but she was able to hold the throwing stars in that hand. She took one in her right hand, ready to throw. She looked her imposing adversary in the eye and said, “You underestimate me.”
    There were only three lamps in the shop, and Akiko managed to throw two of the shuriken before Moriarty could react. Both of them hit their marks. The first shattered the bulb, and the second knocked over a second lamp. Whether it broke or pulled the plug out of the socket as it fell, Akiko couldn’t say, but it was out.
    Moriarty hefted his sword and swung at her, but she dove for the floor. The blade swished mere inches over her head. She rose to one knee and threw another shuriken at the last lamp. The small piece of metal struck the lamp, which rocked once before toppling over and shattering on the floor.
    Akiko rolled as Moriarty struck the floor where she had just been. There was a faint glow, and Akiko realized she hadn’t considered the exit sign. It was still too dark for Moriarty to see clearly, but she knew his eyes would adjust. She closed her own eyes long enough to retrieve her sword from where she had left it. If she had had time, she would have been grateful that the overhead lights were not on, grateful that the store owner had build shelves over the windows so no light could get in.
    Moriarty was close. He swore and called her names no one should be called, especially a child. Akiko raised her sword above her head and with a cry charged past him. She made a high leap in the air and smashed the exit sign with her blade.
    The little shop was utterly dark. When the last of the plastic and glass had settled, there was no sound except the two of them breathing.
    “You see,” Akiko explained, “darkness is my ally.”
    She heard him, lumbering toward her voice in the darkness. He was trying to rely on his hearing, but he didn’t have Akiko’s experience. She circled stealthily behind him. She thought of calling out, of taunting him some more, but she was tired. She wanted this fight over. She wanted to call the police and end it all.
    In one motion, she latched onto his big shoulder and brought the edge of her sword under his chin. “It’s over,” she hissed. “Give up.”
    But it was not over. He shrugged her off like an uncomfortable sweater. Akiko hit the floor on her injured arm. Fresh pain shot through her, making her yelp.
    There was light in the room again, faint but persistent. Akiko saw he had a cell phone in his hand. It was just the glow of the screen, but it was more than bright enough.
    Moriarty threw his sword to the floor and growled, “This has gone far enough!”
    Before she could react he picked her up, turning her away from him. His massive arm wrapped around her neck, cutting off her air. She had managed to hold onto her sword, but she couldn’t use it in this position. He was choking her; killing her. In desperation she moved the sword to a reverse grip in her left hand and as best she could manage thrust the blade behind her.
    Moriarty cried out and dropped her, sending a new pang up her arm. Her sword clattered to the floor. Even by the dim glow of the cell phone, she could see the blade was bloody.
    She turned and looked at her adversary. He was sitting on the floor. The wound in his side was deep and jagged. It bled profusely, and Akiko felt bile rising in her throat.
    He reached for the fallen phone, picked it up and touched the screen. In a moment, Akiko could see he had opened a flashlight app.
    Taking the phone with him, he slithered behind the counter, leaving a trail of blood. Akiko stood, picked up her sword, and followed him.
    He had set the phone down, the light from it providing enough for him to see. He opened a small grey case. Akiko heard a couple of electronic chirps. Then with a groan, Moriarty rolled over onto his back. He looked at Akiko and with the last of his fading strength made a rude gesture with a single finger. Then he slumped back, dead.
    Akiko crouched to see what was in the case. It was a device of some kind. It was about the size of a large cereal box, and there were glowing numbers on it. The numbers were quickly getting smaller. 1:26…1:25…1:24…. It was a countdown. Akiko’s stomach lurched as she realized this was the cobalt bomb she had heard the men talking about.
    She crouched down beside it. She had no idea how to defuse it. She didn’t even know if she was safe from the radiation. But she had to try something. It another minute, it wouldn’t matter if she did something wrong.
    She remembered watching an old TV show with her parents in which someone defused a bomb. The man in the show had had to cut different colored wires in a certain order. She remembered her father scoffing, saying anyone making a bomb would probably only use one color of wire and that in any case, there was no standard color coding for a detonator. Akiko couldn’t see any wires on this bomb. She thought about prying it open, but was worried about the radiation.
    She looked at the countdown more closely. 46…45…44…. It was some sort of display, like a large cell phone or a small tablet. Could it be that simple?
    Her fingers trembled as she reached out and touched the screen. The numbers shrank into the upper left corner of the screen, but the countdown continued. Below the numbers appeared four icons: a house, an envelope, a grid of nine squares, and three horizontal lines. She touched the grid.
    The four icons were replaced with a half-dozen different icons. One was shaped like an hourglass. She touched it.
    The countdown filled the center of the screen. 22…21…20…. Above it was the word TIMER, and below were controls: SET, an up arrow, a down arrow, PAUSE, and RESET. She pressed PAUSE.
    The numbers on the display stopped at 12. Had she done it? Akiko held her breath. When nothing happened, she breathed a sigh of relief.
    Suddenly Moriarty grabbed her ankle, groaning menacingly. Akiko shrieked.

    Reply
    • Stella

      Fascinating. It was not immediately clear that Akiko was blind. Until the part you said her vision was restored, I was wondering if she was blindfolded. But since this is your last chapter, I don’t think your readers will have the same issue.

      ‘He shrugged her off like an uncomfortable sweater’ is a simile that grabbed my attention. But I’m not sure it’s appropriate in this context. I’d associate it with maybe a husband who’s come home late for the third day in a row and is sick of his wife nagging him for answers.

      Several interesting points. Akiko trying to grab the blade and figuring out she’s in a museum showed her spunk and intelligence, even in a desperate situation. Her vision being restored leaves me asking questions on how. Putting out the lights with the throwing stars is a nice twist, as is pressing ‘pause’ to stop the bomb instead of the ridiculous movie version (as you pointed out).

      This paragraph dragged though: “Akiko heard the faint rustle of movement…The sword was heavier than she would have liked.” In these paras you’re just describing actions mechanically. Colour it with Akiko’s voice or add her emotions, that would improve it a lot.

      Reply
      • Bruce Carroll

        Thanks for your insight (no pun intended). I forget that not everyone has been following Akiko’s adventures on The Write Practice. Yes, she starts the story blind and amnesiac. She later discovers that her blindness is not physical, but psychological, and probably due to whatever it is that has blocked her memory. I hope that helps.

        Again, thank you. I will put more of Akiko’s voice into the narration.

        Reply
  11. Jane

    I have a question. Is it better to combine two villains into one very big, bad villain, if possible? Or is it okay to have more than one villain with different degrees of evil in them? Some more evil than others?

    Reply
    • Jeff Elkins

      For me it’s preference. What does your story demand? I kind of like having multiple antagonists, if I can pull it off. It makes for a bigger and most diverse challenge for the hero, but it requires a more complex plot.

      Reply
      • Jane

        I was thinking of giving my main villain a sidekick to cover up for him and help him to keep his “good guy” facade around their small town. Sort of like a Victor Frankenstein and Igor type of thing, except the sidekick is much more evil than my main villain instead of the other way around. My main villain suffers from schizophrenia and hears voices telling him to kill people, and his sidekick actually enjoys killing people because he’s bitter, vengeful, and deranged. They are an unlikely pair because they come from different social classes, but come together to indulge in murderous acts together that no one suspects. They cover up each other’s tracks and are each other’s eyes and ears in their community. They are complete opposites in the eyes of other. One highly respected in the community while the other is scum. One can’t help but to kill to quiet the voices and the other delights and prides himself on being evil because of his dire thirst for vengeance. They come together to kill for different reasons, but share the “high” they get from killing others, like sharing an addictive drug together. I guess it would be hard to combine such different people. Or would it?

        Reply
  12. RevDr. Robert Foster, AbC, EfG

    Brace yourselves, this is rather long:

    ____________________________________________

    Sera folded her legs under her on the large chair. “I don’t get it. What is your endgame with Carter? What was the point of getting him to infect himself with Tianarri Moss?”
    “What do you know about the Walker of Worlds and what he does?” Belial spoke without turning from the map spread over the long table.
    She shrugged. “Not much. I know Drago is afraid of him, and Lucas wants his power.” She folded her hands over her knee. “As far as to what he can actually do, I’ve not seen much.”
    The half-demon made a mark on the chart. “The Walker of Worlds is capable of fighting, and defeating, gods. He – or she – can kill, or banish them if need be.”
    “How is this possible?”
    “It’s how they were created. Other than that, I don’t have a clue.”
    “If Carter is able of fighting gods…”
    “Why do I put myself as his opponent?”
    “Yes.”
    “You’ve met him. Fought him. What do you think?” He turned and faced her, leaning against the table with his arms folded over his barrel chest.
    “He seemed like any other man.”
    “Go on.”
    “Is he only a threat to gods?”
    “You saw his performance in the arena. Do you think he’s only a threat to them?”
    Sera ducked her head, resting her mouth on her wrist, deep in thought. Belial waited. He knew she would get it. After several moments, she raised her head. “He got better with each fight. The arena was to train him, then?”
    “It was to test and assess. As you say, he improved with each battle. Though Carter is untrained as Walker, he is still a deadly threat.”
    “Then why not kill him outright?”
    “Think about it. When you realize the answer to that question, you’ll also learn the reason for the infection.”
    “You want to control him.” She rose from her seat and crossed to the table. Glancing at the map, she noticed Belial seemed to be creating a path. She tapped the freshest mark. “Is this where he is?”
    “Yes.”
    “Shall I gather an army and take him?”
    “We cannot right now. The land is warded.”
    “Damn it.” Leaning against the table, and resting her elbows on the map, she tapped her fingers together. “Why are they called ‘Walker of Worlds’?”
    “Because that is what they do. They travel from world to world in the multiverse, bringing balance.”
    “Wait. There really is a multiverse?”
    He titled his head. “What do you mean?”
    “In my world, the idea of a multiverse is only a mathematical theory without empirical evidence for it. It’s only one of many about the universe, though.”
    “What is a theory?”
    “Well, as scientists define it, a theory is a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena.”
    “That is an impressive amount of words. What’s a phenomena?”
    “It’s the plural of the word phenomenon, which is a fact, occurrence, or circumstance observed or observable.”
    “What is a scientist?”
    “An expert in science, which is systemized knowledge.”
    “Like magic?”
    She shook her head. “No. In my world, magic doesn’t exist.”
    Belial straightened. “Magic doesn’t exist? But, it is an integral part of life. How can life exist without magic?”
    “In my world, gods don’t exist, and so, didn’t create life.”
    “Where did it come from, then?”
    “The stars.”
    He scratched his chin. “The stars?”
    “Yes. The stars are made of elements that lead to life after billions of years.”
    “How, though?”
    She shrugged. “I don’t really know. I’m not a scientist.”
    “That is very odd.”
    Another shrug. “What does this have to do with Carter?”
    “Nothing. I was curious about your world.”
    “You still haven’t explained how having control of Carter will help you make things equal between all the races.”
    “No, I haven’t.” Crossing over to a shelf, he pulled down a book and flipped through it. As he did, a blue winged bat flew into the room and landed on the table. Sera reached for it and Belial spoke. “If you value your hand, don’t.”
    She yanked her hand back and it grew into a tall man dressed in high quality robes. “I’d not have torn off her hand, Lord Belial. What kind of man do you take me for?”
    “I take you for a vampire, Rorikil. Which is what you are.”
    The newcomer smiled. “True, but I’m not a werewolf like Devoril. Now, he probably would ave taken the lovely young lady’s hand.”
    He turned and bowed, giving Sera a good look at him. Snow white hair was slicked back from piercing ice blue eyes. His azure robes were of an antique design that Belial’s mother Zatanna favored.
    “What do you have to report, Rorikil?” She said.
    And elegantly arched eyebrow curved up. “Who are you, little one?”
    “Belial’s second. Now answer my question.” He locked his eyes on hers. She smirked and then shut hers. “Commanding doesn’t work on me, Vampire. I know how to combat it.” He darted forward, moving faster than even Belial could follow. Sera halted his advance with her hand on his throat. She lifted him in the air with ease. “I’m also strong than you, no matter how old you are. Last year, I killed the First for being too snippy.” Sera opened her eyes and locked gazes with her captive. “I did it with my bare hands.” Setting him back on his feet. “Now, you have something to report?”
    Rorikil rubbed his neck, not sure why it burned. “Carter is no longer in the land of the Swamp Elves. He has gone north, into the mountains.”
    She glanced to the half-demon. “Now may I go after him?”
    “Why do you want to face him so badly?”
    “I want to see if he’s gotten stronger.”
    “You think surviving for six years in the Abyss isn’t proof enough?”
    “Of course not. I do it for fun, remember?”
    “I do. And it always worries me when you go.”
    She crossed over to him and placed her hands on his shoulder. As he leaned over, she rose on her toes and kissed his cheek. “If you’re not careful, my lord, people might think you care.”
    He swatted her butt. “I do care, Sera. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to you.”
    “The day the untrained Walker of Worlds can defeat me if the day I stop fighting.”
    “He’s already defeated you. Or did you forget your first encounter?”
    She narrowed her eyes. “Never that.”
    She then strode out of the library, pulling the door behind her. Rorikil waited until her footsteps faded away. “I can’t believe you were able to say that with a straight face.”
    Belial smirked. “It’s easy to lie to those you’ve relieved of their virginity.”
    The vampire chortled. “You were her first lover?” The half-demon nodded. “May I have her when you grow bored?”
    “As always, my friend.”
    “Good. I owe her for that stunt she pulled.” Rorikil rubbed his neck again.
    “Still burning?”
    “Yes. What does she have on her hands?”
    “Powdered silver. It’s a nasty trick she picked up from one of these.” He waved at the book shelf.
    “So that is why I couldn’t break free.” Another nod. “I’m guessing that is how she was able to defeat the First?”
    “Partially. I fed him a sanctified human first, though.”

    Reply
  13. Rodgin K

    Late to the party due to computer issues. Any of these villain posts excite ,e as my story is essential about the villain. This is the end of the story and his monologue. It’s very unpolished but I wanted it here for feedback. Critique away my friends.

    ———————–
    When will it be enough Arcus,” Ilandra screamed over the howling wind that railed against the (Elven Ship Name). “When will you stop this madness and let me live?”
    “It will never be enough,” Arcus bellowed back, his face contorted in rage. “You will go your whole life knowing that I have taken everything and will continue to do so. Six hundred more years Ilandra, always watching, always knowing that anything you gain will be stripped away. Every good deed, every loose coin, every skillful work will be taken by me and left to ruin.”
    “Why Arcus?” she wailed, tears running freely, only to be ripped from her face by the wind. “I asked for your forgiveness. I repented of my youthful folly and you said you forgave me. What have I done since to deserve this ruin you’ve heaped upon me. Where is your heart, Arcus. That noble loving heart that won me in our youth?”
    “An excellent question,” Arcus said, the bitterness of his voice cutting clearly through the gale. “I gave it to you. My most treasured possession, unblemished by any other hand, was laid solely in your care. So where is it Ilandra?! Did you cherish it ever? Did you once know its worth? I doubt it greatly. I would imagine it simply cast away as neatly as your former husband was cast over the rail where you stand now, shattered on impact. Thrown away as all things with no value are. But you see it now, don’t you Ilandra? The worth of what you so carelessly tossed aside. It is the only thing that could save you now but it is no more. So where is my heart Ilandra? Where is your salvation?!”
    He advanced on her as he started his accusations. A few months earlier she may have been able to stand up under this vicious onslaught, but no longer. Ilandra was wholly ruined, finding her last hope and recourse to be the very root of her problem. Not trusting her feet, she simply collapsed, sobbing in giant gasping cries. A part of her wished to fight, knowing this monster was not her creation. But there was no fight left to be had, and so she could do nothing more than accept her fate.
    Arcus looked down on her mercilessly. She was still beautiful, but no longer in the way he remembered. Rather than the robin in spring, she was now the broken shell one would find in summer. His heart glowed in triumph, knowing she must now understand the last forty years of his life as no other could. Not that it mattered now. His course was set and redemption was not a phrase he considered. He had made her pay, as he would all that had held him back all of these years. The druids would pay for their lies, though they would never see it until their precious forest lie in ruin around them. The nobles would pay for trying to shut him out. And the Queen would pay with the best kind of currency; power. All for him to keep her secrets.

    Reply
  14. Vincent

    Okay this wound up taking more than 15 minutes, but it is rushed and needs a lot of work. It may find its way in some future book, but not in the near future.
    The heat broke
    over here for a few weeks. We get an afternoon or evening thunderstorm
    off the mountains every other day. Nice. 🙂 August is usually brutal and the first half of September.

    Bought a bicycle. The knee is holding up so far. I only ride it once
    every couple of days and I don’t ride like a maniac, that might be the
    reason my knee revolted. hahaha. Nahhh, the doc always told me half my
    problem was genetics.
    Kayaking is good and the kid I have twice a
    week for blacksmithing is beginning to learn what it takes to do nicer
    work. He is at the point now that I make him plan everything out. He
    likes to shoot from the hip every time he comes here and it has kind of
    worked for him, but I want him to learn the importance of drawing his
    work out, using a piece of clay to figure what blows he needs to make,
    etc. When he gets back to the states he will be almost ready to go.

    Joe tells me they decided to do the 2018 conference in Richmond. He
    told me I need to return to work it. He says he is holding my Tee-shirt
    as ransom. I told him I guess I will have to pay. hahaha.
    My
    niece and her family are supposed to visit Budapest, Hungary this coming
    April. I will meet them there. Should interesting. We have some long
    lost cousins who live nearby. We will see, maybe I will look them up. I
    haven’t done so in 3 years now, it might be a bit awkward now or then. We will see.

    Anyway life goes on. Albania is performing some political shenanigans
    after taking US money to reform it’s judicial system. The Ambassador is
    threatening severe consequences. The Albanian goverment says it doesn’t
    want outsiders telling them what to do. hahaha, They asked for a
    commission headed by the US, they don’t like it now that they have to
    live with the results. What does it mean, they are going to dissolve
    their gov’t so they don’t have to address the issues. All that means is
    they will reshuffle the deck, the same old guys. It is funny and sad to
    watch as the people sit and drink their coffees, where they get money
    for coffee I have no idea, 30% of them are unemployed. They are
    unemployed because of the way their judicial system allows the gov’t to
    persecute, deny and allow corruption throughout. They put up great ideas
    at the coffee tables. 🙂 Anyway it is sad that they haven’t progressed
    any further because of the few.

    Reply
  15. Ken Hughes

    Great choices.

    I want to add one caveat about the monologue:

    It’s become a cliche that villains use it to self-destruct (eg the Incredibles), and that’s given it a bad name. I think the problem is using it in its full form during a fight, when it’s obvious it’s taking so long the hero is (or should be) using the time to turn the tables, and the villain’s a moron for allowing it. But a monologue can provide most of this clarity if it’s outside of actual conflict scenes, say a good rant when the hero and villain have to sit opposite a table and not fight yet– and then in the fights a *quick* call-back to it like “I told you you were too soft!” can add energy to the action.

    Or, the most frightening thing about a full-on monologue in the darkest moments is it’s the villain believing he truly can’t lose any more. A story that can push itself to that point, where the hero’s escape will be a well-hidden twist (or best of all, where the villain actually will kill one hero or otherwise get some of what he wants) is the perfect time for a monologue.

    And some villains are so driven they can’t help babbling even when they shouldn’t. That works too, if you’re sure they have enough scariness that they can afford to give some away with the rant.

    Reply
  16. Jessie Davis Nekut

    As I’m reading these different scenes and characters submitted here, I’m thinking back to books I’ve recently read and realizing something, every scene has a villain and a protagonist, even if it’s not necessarily the main good guy/bad guy struggle. I’m still working on the scenes below. In the first scene, I believe it is memory which is the antagonist. In the second scene which immediately follows, it’s more difficult to tell…possibly secrets? Bear with me, this is also quite long….and my formatting is all messed up on here. 🙂
    ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

    The next morning, Todd was up early as usual. He ate his breakfast more quietly than he normally did, aware of the girl sleeping in the alcove just off the kitchen. “Is she a runaway, Nan?” he asked his wife quietly.
    “There’s no way to tell, Dear”, Nan patted his arm as she took his thrice-cleaned plate and placed it in the basin to wash. Todd frowned down at his hands.
    “Well she’s running the wrong way. How did you happen to be looking out while she passed by again?” He peered up at his wife suspiciously. Nan cleared her throat and tried on a little smile.
    “More coffee, Dear?” Her voice sounded high-pitched, even to her own ears. Todd sighed and shook his head.
    “Nan…”, he began—
    “Alright, I was curious.” Nan cut him off, assuming she knew what he was going to say. “It’s been such a long time since we’ve had any outsiders in the village, Toddy. I just wanted to see. I was, mostly, careful.”, she finished lamely. Todd’s jaw tightened and he rose from the table abruptly and his chair fell over. Nan had the good grace to look abashed as he approached and uncharacteristically wrapped his arms tightly around her. Nan looked up at her husband with her mouth open.
    “Woman!”he hissed through clenched teeth. “You know that if new people start coming to the village again on a regular basis they will be the kind you hide from! Don’t you understand what a risk you took?” Todd gave his wife a little shake as he continued to hold her tightly against his chest. “Seeing that little girl last night, and again this morning, brought it all back from me—the cries, the screams, the running— what we lost. I never want those cries to be yours, Nan. Don’t you see I couldn’t live if something happened to you? You’re all I have in the world.” Todd’s last words were muffled against his wife’s hair.
    He held her tightly for a long moment before gradually releasing her. He then turned quickly and gathered his things, including the basket lunch she always made for him. As he reached for the door, Nan quietly told him she loved him. Todd stopped, turned, and strode towards her before kissing her soundly on the lips and gave her hair a tweak which was done up in a long braid down her back.
    Nan reached up to grab at her scalp and rubbed at the sore spot. “Toddy, wha—?” she began.
    “And don’t call me Toddy” he said with a wink before disappearing out the door.
    Nan shook her head as she heard him chuckling as he walked away, but on her lips was the salt taste of his tears.
    Todd, took a coarse rag out of his pocket and wiped his nose and eyes surreptitiously, before striding down to the docks where the villagers’ few boats sat bobbing, their ropes tugging against their moorings. It didn’t take him long to spot the bright blue trawler with the bright red trim and yellow and white flags. As he approached the craft, he spotted a smartly dressed “crew member” who smiled and waved him aboard. Several other men wearing similar clothing could be seen either on board or busying themselves about the docks and shore.
    Not everyone knew what Todd knew. Although each of the men were certainly capable aboard a ship, and could be seen efficiently performing the tasks of an average crew of an average ship, to a man, they were all in reality hired bodyguards probably armed to the teeth. Not for the first time, Todd hoped that Nan had only a very fuzzy idea of what he did to put bread on their table. The vessel rocked beneath him as he boarded and ducked under the green, gilt-edged awning and entered the ship’s opulent cabin, coming face to face with Semleges Kémhatás, the merchant whose neutrality was legendary except when it came to his own protection and ability to turn a profit,which he always did, no matter what the political climate was at any given time or place. Todd stood for a moment, in the open doorway, a chill gust of wind nudging him inside. A voice called out to him as he shut the door.
    “Meric! What terrible weather! Come in and have some tea with me!” To the uninitiated, it might have seemed that a slightly wheedling voice called out shrilly from a mound of white cushions piled in the middle of the floor. In reality, Todd knew that Semleges Kémhatás was simply an exceedingly fat man, and the majority of the cushioned mound in front of him was actually the merchant’s plump body.
    “Meric, Meric, why do you stand there like an uninvited guest? Come, sit with me and have some tea while the cook prepares my breakfast.” A pudgy hand twinkled with jewel-encrusted rings as the merchant patted a seat beside him. Todd pulled up a stool from the side of the cabin instead, fearing that if he got too close he might literally be engulfed in the man’s richly-clad rolls. Kémhatás didn’t seem to mind the change-up as he settled into his customary business tones.
    A conversation with the merchant often reminded Todd of a game of strategy, with both parties only giving up as much information as necessary to gain what they each needed from the other. Generally, the information gathering session was lighthearted on the surface, but both parties visibly relaxed when a more neutral topic was introduced by either of them. This day, when he had cajoled as much as he could out of the tight-lipped villager, Kémhatás settled back onto his cushions and signaled his steward to begin bringing the platters which held his usual breakfast feast. The steward had already discreetly brought in the table as the two were talking, and positioned it between the two men, forcing Todd back a bit more. Perhaps it was a prearranged signal, or perhaps the steward was a bit more interested in their conversation than was proper?
    The manners and traditions of his native land forced the merchant to offer Todd a somewhat grudging seat at what would certainly be a sumptuous table. His already full stomach notwithstanding, Todd was almost tempted to take him up on the offer, until the steward brought a large thick cloth and began tucking it around the merchants back and under his double chins. Todd’s stomach turned over at the thought of what, exactly, it might be like to share a meal with someone who seemed to take to it with such relish as his corpulent host. Indeed, his eyes were already glazed over in anticipation of this most recent gastronomic venture.
    “I’m sorry, My Friend, but my wife is having a visitor right now and I shouldn’t be too long away from the house.” Todd replied. The merchant’s attention was suddenly piqued.
    “Visitor, you say?” The wheedling tone was back. “I was not aware that the Queen’s men had finished the road they were building in this direction. By the way, Meric, did you happen to see a young girl recently? Apparently the young one has gained the interest of the royal court, for what reason I know not. Information about her would bring not a few gold coins your way.” Kémhatás’ eyes shone with greed and intrigue, his two favorite things. At long last, the merchant was certain he’d found Todd out.
    Todd sighed. “I wish I could tell you that was the case, but no. I meant simply to imply that my wife is having her woman’s time and I need to be heading home.” Todd lied evenly. The merchant barked out a great laugh.
    “So! A new layer of the man of mystery reveals itself! Poor Meric is actually a hen pecked husband! Ha! Ha-Ha! Ha!” The large man was in danger of choking as he laughed at Todd’s expense.
    On that cue, Todd rose from his seat, inclined his head, wished the merchant a pleasant breakfast and a safe trip home, and headed out the door. The merchant’s laugher died as the many trays were set before him and he began to feast in earnest, the conversation with Todd all but forgotten. Todd tried not to imagine the scene of gluttony being played out in the cabin’s small interior as he strode purposefully back toward his home. No doubt, Kémhatás had spies everywhere, so it was wise to back up his story with action.

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  17. Anastasios

    I’m writing a book where the villains aren’t actually the ones trying to destroy the world, their drive is money and power (greed), but the heroes believe they are the ones spreading the particles which eventually will corrupt the world and destroy it. The actual villain of the story is one who ‘possesses’ the protagonist, well his soul lives inside of her conscience. He eventually understands his past and takes his true form and tries to destroy the world.

    Now some subplots get confusing, like the protagonist slowly descending into a villain after learning her father is one and accidently killing her love interest. Then she regains her conscience as the time she was a villain was the time the Entity (possessing guy) tried to figure out his dark past, which is part of the reason why my protagonist had been corrupted and transferred.

    I’m just asking if my plot is too complex and if the idea of “Distraction Villains” are a thing, like can you write villains who aren’t the real main focus, (A red herring).

    Reply

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