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how easy is it to write the bad boy/the villain?

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  #1  
Old 07-06-2016, 03:01 AM
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Icon3 how easy is it to write the bad boy/the villain?


as oppose to the good guy?
or is there no difference?

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Old 07-06-2016, 12:55 PM
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bad guys are much easier

good guys have rules bad guys don't

that being said, in a lot of todays stories it's awfully hard to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

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Old 07-06-2016, 04:52 PM
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Hi Nacia.

I find them totally different. That's because my mind seems opposed to thinking and behaving like a bad guy so I have to work harder to understand him.

For instance, when I wrote Johhny Nine Lives the bad guy was a serial killer who raped, murdered and dismembered his victims. I had to learn how someone like that feels, his background, where his insaniety comes from, etc. I spend close to a year interviewing various people, reading about serial killers, interviewing detectives, etc. before I felt I knew my invented bad guy well enough to write about him. The effects of that research caused me more problems than I thought they would and the images and descriptions of evil crimes haunted me for years.

MaxCrush is right that currently the distinction between good and bad guys has blurred. And in some stories the only way you can determine who the hero is by figuring out which character did the least evil.

Why did you ask the question? I assume you know the answer bcause it's clear to me the distinction between good and bad. And I assume it's clear to you. Are digging for something more?

Just some thoughts for you... wrc
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Last edited by wrc; 07-06-2016 at 04:58 PM..
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Old 07-07-2016, 12:33 AM
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I guess depending on the "kind" of bad guy you want to write can be either hard or easy. Bad guys don't necessarily have to think what their doing is bad it can be that their intentions just don't agree with other people.
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Old 07-07-2016, 04:06 AM
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One shouldn't be any harder or easier. We all know and know of good and bad people. And I think each of us has the capacity to be good or bad, depending on the circumstances. Add a little imagination -- and voila!
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Old 07-07-2016, 06:51 AM
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There isn't much of a difference. Bad guys think they are good guys. A "bad guy" is usually what we call people with a moral code that is different from our own.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:04 AM
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Of course. And I suppose somebody had to say it.

But in fiction when someone uses the word "villain," they're usually talking about a character who crosses generally accepted lines of what is good or bad, so it's not so ambiguous. That's what makes them "villains."

Otherwise, you're right. And I think the most interesting characters are "the bad guys" with whom you can empathize, where the lines are blurred and the moral codes are called into question due to circumstances.

That's why I tend to cringe a bit when people say "villain" on writing sites. It usually doesn't indicate the subtlety or ambiguity that can make for great characters.
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Old 07-07-2016, 08:50 AM
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Well, that's true. Lemme rephrase, just for kicks. Assuming that "villain" = character who crosses generally accepted lines of what is good or bad, and also assuming that the author abides by those generally accepted lines, it is probably harder to write a villain because it is difficult to justify actions that we believe are wrong. And yet, it's necessary to do just that in order to write a villain believably: portray why the villain thinks their actions are justified.
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Old 07-07-2016, 02:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Unpredictabloo View Post
Well, that's true. Lemme rephrase, just for kicks. Assuming that "villain" = character who crosses generally accepted lines of what is good or bad, and also assuming that the author abides by those generally accepted lines, it is probably harder to write a villain because it is difficult to justify actions that we believe are wrong. And yet, it's necessary to do just that in order to write a villain believably: portray why the villain thinks their actions are justified.
Thanks. That's what I was trying to say earlier. It the writer wants a round character they need to explain the thinking behind the actions of the bad character. And to do a good job the writer has to understand and feel that pov. Which is why I find it harder to write well for 'bad' guys because on an emotional level I hate them.

If the writer is satisfied with flat cardboard bad guys this is no problem. Just let them be evil and to hell with explaining. But that's like writing bad guys for teenage air heads.

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Old 07-07-2016, 06:47 PM
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Part of what makes great story telling is writing believable characters who are outside your immediate experience or who might behave differently than you. For most of us, that includes writing bad guys and "villains" or maybe people who just aren't very nice.

What it takes empathy and imagination. Of course it's hard sometimes. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Last edited by Binx B; 07-08-2016 at 02:43 AM..
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Old 09-10-2016, 09:15 PM
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On the one hand....I find writing the bad guy very easy. I get to talk about all the things that I WANT to do with impunity (reckless driving for example)....

On the other hand...as I keep spiralling down....I find the depths of the truly utter WICKEDNESS that I can achieve deeply disturbing...even to me....

One of the high hurdles that I'm probably going to have to cross at some point-- if I am to have any real chance of being successful-- is that THAT level of Evil....as long as it only remains a story....only reduces me to the level of HUMAN. Given the RIGHT set of circumstances....most people are capable of kidnapping and murder (in my head...it's far, far worse).... Thinking it is one thing....mind to screen is another.....actually DOING it is another....

The trap is that even if I really did dream up the perfect crime (never happen)...and even if I DID get away with it AND keep my mouth shut for the rest of my life.... I would know that I did it. And that would eat at me...with no way out.....
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Old 09-11-2016, 05:55 PM
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Hi collegedropout. My hat's off to you for realizing that you need to personalize experiences so you can write truthfully about them. I agree with you 100%. But experiences from the dark side cause a problem because most of us don't want to have those experiences. If your story walks the path of evil should the storyteller also do it.

Consider that if you truly empathize with evil there's the fear that you'll adopt it.

In a past screenplay, the main character was a serial rapist, who tortured, then killed and dismembered all the victims to avoid detection. I spent almost a year researching serial killers. I love researching and try to get as many facts as I can. But this time, the topic screwed up my life. I couldn't sleep. The nightmares were devastating. Even after I completed the project I had nightmares but with time they eased and finally never happened again. I now fully realize why many writers don't deal with the autonomy of evil and just let it go with a 'shit happens' POV.

The advice to beginning writers to write about what they know is good because the work will be more authentic. But carrying that to the extreme is probably not a good idea. Anyway, I think you're on the right track, just don't let your desire for authenticity overtake your wellbeing.

Have a nice writing day. wrc

Originally Posted by collegedropout View Post
On the one hand....I find writing the bad guy very easy. I get to talk about all the things that I WANT to do with impunity (reckless driving for example)....

On the other hand...as I keep spiralling down....I find the depths of the truly utter WICKEDNESS that I can achieve deeply disturbing...even to me....

One of the high hurdles that I'm probably going to have to cross at some point-- if I am to have any real chance of being successful-- is that THAT level of Evil....as long as it only remains a story....only reduces me to the level of HUMAN. Given the RIGHT set of circumstances....most people are capable of kidnapping and murder (in my head...it's far, far worse).... Thinking it is one thing....mind to screen is another.....actually DOING it is another....

The trap is that even if I really did dream up the perfect crime (never happen)...and even if I DID get away with it AND keep my mouth shut for the rest of my life.... I would know that I did it. And that would eat at me...with no way out.....
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Last edited by wrc; 09-11-2016 at 06:01 PM..
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Old 10-17-2016, 02:28 AM
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It was just yesterday when my friend told me that playing good guys is much harder than bad guys. I think it depends on a lot of thing. For me it is still hard to write about violence in general, because I'm very peaceful guy and I can't understand why some people are hating another people because of their difference. But I'm working on it. So this is why it is much easier for me to write about good guys.
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