A Study in ‘Bad Guys’

Hey all! Things are going super well in Starving Writer Land.  I have plans for my next vlog (coming on MONDAY!), I’ve been working super hard on curriculum for the summer writing program I’m teaching at Lake Country Martial Arts, and I’m seeing Iron Maiden on Wednesday.

Things are going pretty well on the creative writing front.  I might be in a little bit of a funk – I have some really difficult chapters to write in Opus Crescendo.  The revision of Opus Prelude is coming along excellently – again, some tough scenes to add and rewrite in there.  But altogether, writing is going well this week.

I do apologize for the lack of updates this week.  I deviated from my list.

ANYWAY.  I did a post like this last year – My Obsession with Morally Grey Characters.  And I had wanted to a second post with some lame title like “Some More Morally Grey characters”.  I stewed on it and decided to let it be for the time being.  The post was just difficult to write, which meant I was writing it at the wrong time.

Bad Guys

Bad is, of course, up for interpretation.  For the sake of this, lets go with NOT THE GOOD GUY.  I was browsing around on tumblr, as I am wont to do, and found a post from the aptly titled “bad guy confessions” tumblr that I really related to.  It simply said “I blame The Phantom of the Opera for starting me on my fascination and love of villains.” (link to post)  I first saw Phantom of the Opera when I was 11 – mind you, this was the stage musical.  Even at that super young age…I was rooting for the Phantom.  That probably should concern me…but it doesn’t.

I thought Raoul was kind of wimpy.

But that got me thinking to characters I like today.  My current obsession favorite is Loki Laufeyson from Thor and The Avengers.  Huh.

Yeah, he’s totally the villain.  Ooops.  Backtrack, backtrack, lets see, who else?

So it seems I have a thing for bad guys. Ooops. Guess I fall for the ‘every girl likes a bad boy’ cliche.  We’re all allowed to like some cliches.  Either that or I like intelligent villains.  Probably a bit of both.

My Reasoning

I’ve always found villains fascinating.  They come in so many flavors, so many shapes.  You have the “I DO WHAT I WANT” type, the manipulative type, psychotic ones, chessmasters – so many different kinds.  I want to know what motivates them into causing strife.  I want to know how they came to this point in their life – what tragedy motivated them to this.  I just want to know their backstory.  I want to pick them apart and figure out what makes them tick.  Of course, I want to do that with a lot of characters.

They tend to be more interesting than stereotypical heroes anyway.  As I mentioned in the Morally Grey blog, it gets boring when you know how a character is going to behave.  A morally white or black character is always going to behave in the same manner.  It’s thoroughly boring.  It’s far more interesting to be surprised by something morally grey.

So yes, it still is me being obsessed with morally grey.  It just happens that villains tend to lean more towards morally grey than heroes.  I should probably be concerned with this trend.

But I’m totally not.

So Villains are Better…?

Not necessarily.  I just happen to have a thing for villains.  They fascinate me.  But many types of characters fascinate me.  I’m a huge fan of anti-heroes as well.  I should do a blog post on some of them.  I’m all for interesting characters – whether they be villains or heroes or anything in between.  It just so happens that villains catch my interest more often than not.  Sometimes I even start cheering for them.

And whether people will admit it or not…the world is morally grey.  People have the capacity for good and evil – how they are is entirely up to them.  Writers try to imbue their characters with this trait – I find it’s one of the most important things to bring to a character. Flaws, darkness…that kind of thing.  Most often if characters don’t have these traits they feel flat, boring, or bland.  Boring even.

In Conclusion…

I really like villains.  They’re entertaining and really interest me from a psychological and creative standpoint.  They’re also super fun to write.  Seriously…I play Marvel Movieverse Loki Laufeyson in an RP with some friends – he’s so easy to slip into and so easy to play.  And I’ve been told I play him well.  So fun.  So much mischief.

Maybe the point of this is to look closer at the character rather than dismissing the villain as purely evil?  There are almost always reasons why a character does what he does.  What caused them to get this way, what causes them to take action.  For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.  While this deals with physics…it can be applied in writing.  It should be applied in writing.

Anyway, I think that’s it.  I like villains, some people don’t.  Maybe I’ll do some blog posts on villains I find particularly interesting.

~LL Lemke

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5 thoughts on “A Study in ‘Bad Guys’

  1. To quote Venture Brothers…. “I believe the less hurtful term is Antagonist.”

    Snark aside, I think we’ve got the same outlook (villains/antagonists are fun!). And Loki is stupidly easy to play.

    • Yes, I do suppose antagonist is the less hurtful term. I suppose the title “A Study in Villains” would have sounded more polished as well.

      Snark is perfectly welcome and you know it. And it’s wonderful to know that I’m not alone in favoring villains/antagonists. Oh…and Loki is so easy to play. And so fun. Disturbingly fun.

  2. Pingback: Time Flies When There are JRPGs and Anime | Rants from a Starving Writer

  3. Pingback: Why Loki is my Favorite Marvel Movie-Verse Character | Rants from a Starving Writer

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