Sunday, September 18, 2016

Sunday Snippets: Topic: Villain(s) 9/18/2016

A change of pace this Sunday this Sunday.  Instead of a snippets from my featured novel, "Brede".
I thought I post a writing topic.

One of the most important characters in a story, the person we love to hate.  The 'villain'.

a cruelly malicious person who is involved in or devoted towickedness or crime; 
a character in a play, novel, or the like, who constitutes an important evil agency 
in the plot.

My personal faves (if you can label a villain as such): 

White Witch from "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C. S. Lewis
The White Witch is a beautiful, proud, and cruel villain who has made herself Queen of Narnia against the wishes of all who live there. It is because of her that it has been always winter and never Christmas for the last 100 years. If anyone tries to rebel against her, they are sure to be found and captured by her spies, at which point the rebel will be imprisoned or turned to stone. She is also the witch who wages war against Peter, Lucy, and their Narnian army.  (She still frightens me).
Jane Eyre was really is like a Cinderella story in some ways, with plenty of villainy for our heroine to cope with as she proves herself a princess.  (Skillfully written, this novel is a favorite of mine).
Darth Vader, Star Wars. The Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard of Oz.
Do I write these type of villains?  
No. ( I wouldn't be able to sleep at night.). Usually, villains in my novels are people who did not start out as evil; if the villain is evil, she/ he is mostly off stage (remember Meerkat Manor gives me nightmares).
In my YA novel, Whisper upon the Water, Sister Enid, did a great deal of good before her focus changed.  Since this was a YA novel (Dream Real Award Winner, National Book Award Nominee, and Frankfurt eBook Finalist), which deals with Native American issues, I was careful not to make the evil a racial focus.  Instead, Sister Enid and the circumstances where a product of the times: ignorance and fear, which became hatred.
The Purpose of Villains.
In my opinion,the villain can be worth more than the hero. I say this because the villain, or antagonist, serves many purposes. In his or her simplest form, the villain is a foil to the protagonist. The values and goals of the hero are contrasted and challenged by the villain. 

The villain and the hero both play different roles in the plot. While the villain initiates and develops the conflict, the hero finds the solution.  In many novels and stories, the villain is far more complex than the hero. What led them to choose his or her path?  A hero may have "greatness thrust upon him," but a villain leads a life of isolation. What I mean to say is that no matter how difficult it gets for the hero on his or her journey, Good will always be there for support. In contrast, the villain chooses Evil —a path he or she will walk alone. 

The antagonist and villain figures of fiction and real life teach us more about ourselves than the hero. In the villain we identify our best and worst qualities by either disagreeing with the villain's actions or attempting to comprehend the vile deeds he or she commits. 

It must be emphasized that heroes and villains are interchangeable and far from black and white, but in their most stereotyped forms, they contrast. A hero may struggle, but his or her values are strong and unwavering. A villain, like Darth Vader, may switch to the Good side. 

Villains provide fiction with entertainment, plot and philosophical depth. In many ways, it is the villain that defines the hero - chooses him. 

Happy Reading,

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anne stenhouse said...

Hi Connie, this is my first venture into a shared blog topic. I recognised so much of what you say above. Anne Stenhouse

Rhobin said...

Good post Connie! I've read where the characters in a book are all aspects of the same soul, which your post explains. Villains are interesting! Thanks for posting.

Geeta Kakade said...

Well described Connie.
Love the part about you not wanting to write/create the really scary ones.
Think you did a great job in Brede with your villain...gave me the chills.

Unknown said...

Your post makes so much sense. I don't write scary villains either, rather someone who usually makes a transition to a good guy. In my recently released Erotic Romance (debut/swan song in that genre), the husband was the villain, until he learned what a jerk he was and made a complete turn around. In the post today, I used the father as an obstacle to his daughter loving a military man simply because he lacked trust in them, having been a one himself. Yep...I use villains, but I don't have them munch on other folks, come out only at night, or fly around on brooms...I stick with the kind I've experienced in my lifetime. Thanks for pointing that out.

Fiona McGier said...

When I took a class on fairy tales in college, the theme was that fairy tales could be analyzed psychologically. The hero was the ego, the villain was the id, and the heroine who was in danger was the self that we've had since childhood, the innocent, pure kid, which is how so many still see themselves. Our final project was to take an analysis and write our own fairy tales. Challenging to say the least.

Villains don't have to be evil, per se, but they DO have to enjoy watching others suffer because of their actions. And not all stories lend themselves to stereotypical "bad guys".

Marci Baun said...

Interesting take on villains. There are many types of villains, but all good villains create conflict. I don't usually write villains, although I have stories with villains in them. To me, a villain is someone who is intent on doing harm or working to prevent the hero/heroine from gaining their goal.

I have a couple of stories without villains, and I think they work. More often than not, it's the situation that creates the conflict and not a particular person. It can work, but it's not necessarily as easy to do.


darkwriter said...

Thought provoking post on villains.
I liked your take that the villain initiates and develops the conflict, the hero finds the solution. I hadn't thought of it that way.

Connie Vines said...

Thank you, Anne. Welcome to Rhobin's monthly blog tour.

Connie Vines said...

Rhobin, thank you for the positive comments on my post.

Connie Vines said...

Geeta, praise for my villain. Thank you. Romantic Suspense must have a strong villain and foreshadowing of events to come.

Connie Vines said...

Ginger, a villain who makes a complete turn around. I like your style!

Connie Vines said...

Fiona, a villain must enjoy watching others suffer. That is very, very frightening.

Connie Vines said...

Marci, I appreciate your observations. I agree the situation does produce conflict.

Unknown said...

I love your posts. In fact, I'm going to change our Banner and I'll be sending you a new one. I really like the idea of not limiting ourselves to posts from our books, rather tying them in with a writing tip or hint. You do that so well. Thanks for continuing on with me in this endeavor.