Babying Your Villain

As a general rule, villains aren’t the best of people. They’re selfish, cruel, and usually downright evil. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes a villain can have a good moment, and every once in a while you find a villain who has positive qualities.  But in the end, they wouldn’t be villains if they weren’t mostly bad in some way or another.

Let’s face it: our villains are more often than not the unwanted step-cousins that come over uninvited and spoil family time with their rude behavior, negative attitude, and game-piece-stealing. But the fact remains that just like valiant heroes and goofy sidekicks, the dastardly villains we write are our literary children too. And sometimes, for the sake of the story, they need a little TLC.

Case in point: My Dr. Fixit.

The picture above is not Dr. Fixit. That’s Fist, my secondary villain. Dr. Fixit has no picture because he has no physical presence in the story. At least, not one that’s his own. See, he possesses teenagers to do his dirty work for him. No he’s not a ghost. He’s a mad scientist and evil dictator, thank-you-very-much. But I have come to the conclusion that he’s also the reason my manuscript just won’t WORK, already. As a writer friend of mine said when I was discussing this with her, “Your villains are just TOO villainous–they’re trying to destroy the very fabric of the story itself!”

I can’t decide if that makes me an amazing writer or just very, very pathetic. I’m going to go with amazing for now.

Anyway, it’s not poor Dr. Fixit’s fault that he’s mucking up the story. It’s mine. See, I’ve never been very good at… well… caring… about my villains. Unlike all of my other characters, my villains have always been more like plot devices than people. I’ve gotten to know my heroes, my sidekicks, my secondary characters, etc. But I have never allowed myself to get too close to my villains. Why? Well, because villains are so mean! I know. I made them up. I shouldn’t be intimidated by my own creations. And I’m not. I just… don’t like getting to know bad people.

It’s icky.

But now I’m coming to the conclusion that in neglecting Dr. Fixit, I’ve neglected the entire other side of my story… and it just doesn’t work because of that.

Dr. Fixit does things that make no sense. He makes choices that contradict his goals. He goes back and forth between wanting to kill Guts and Glory and wanting to capture them and do… what? Not to mention the fact that there’s no way of knowing how he found out about them in the first place, since they’re from another world and all.


I neglected Dr. Fixit’s point of view, and thus neglected a vital story component — the struggle. It took me this long to realize why my story didn’t work because I never saw Dr. Fixit as anything more than a means to an end, not a real character like everyone else in the story.

And so, I will write a parallel to Dr. Fixit’s Malicious Machine from Dr. Fixit’s point of view. It won’t be a novel — just a short story — but it will encompass the entire story in my novel from the point of view of my villain, so I can finally see what’s making him tick, and why he does what he does.

Time to take a trip to the dark side… I hear they have cookies!


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