Of course we all know the hero and heroine make or break a story. If these two are not likable, captivating or sexy in some way, it's a big *YAWN*. I started reading a story this weekend and from page one the heroine started tap dancing on my next to last nerve...by page three she was doing the Quick Step on my last one. And then I didn't get a physical description of the hero until half way through the book! By then I really didn't give a rat's a--I mean posterior. Needless to say I almost put the book down...almost. What saved it from the give-it-to-some-poor-sucker-at-the-used-book-store-pile was the villain. He was deliciously warped, evil and morally bankrupt. *sigh* My kind of villain.
As much work goes into creating memorable heroes and heroines, the same amount of labor is afforded to molding the perfect antagonist. After all, this person must be just as charismatic, conflicted and interesting. So I started thinking about the different types of villains. Though their purpose may be the same--keep the hero and heroine from obtaining their HEA--they come with different personalities, moral codes and motivations.
1. The most common is the Evil-No-Redeemable-Qualities Villain. The first example that comes to mind is Parrish Sawyer in Linda Howard's Son of the Morning. What a corrupt son-of-a-sea-biscuit. Not to be confused with psychotic, because he wasn't. Completely lucid, intelligent and ruthless. His hunger for power and world domination eradicated all human qualities like mercy, love or empathy. He killed without compunction or conscious. By the time he received his comeuppance in the end, I kind of thought mass electrocution and pissing on himself just wasn't enough punishment!
2. Now one of my favorite villains--The Psycho. Nothing like a good nut! From the stalker that misinterpreted a wink as an undying vow of devotion to the killer who makes dresses out of flesh, they have their own reasons for murder and mayhem. Part of the fun is discovering what makes them tick. What is the meaning behind their ritual of murder? Unlike the evil villain, we can sometimes feel sympathy for the psycho. Depending on the reasons he or she is crazier than a s***house rat--child abuse, personality disorder, cheating spouse--we can almost not hate him or her. Sympathy. Yes. Redeemable qualities. Not so much. Example? Rebecca De Mornay in The Hand that Rocks the Cradle.
3. Next up, the Villain You Love to Hate and find yourself wishing they got away with their dastardly deeds. This one is the most ambiguous. Okay, we know this person is crooked. Up to no good. Seedy. Charismatic. Robin-Hoodish. Hot. The hot-factor is almost always a must in this category. Think Denzil Washington inTraining Day. Or Adam Black in Karen Marie Moning's Highlander series. Vin Diesel's Riddick in Pitch Black. They are awful but still have redeeming qualities that make you sad to see 'em go down. Get punished. Not win. They have moments of humor or generosity that counterbalance their moral weaknesses. And, yeah, they're hot.
5. And then there's the antagonist you just like. They are the Anti-Hero. The very characteristics that make them good villains also make them awesome heroes and heroines. Again, Adam Black. Sue Sylvester in Glee. They're funny, ruthless, vulnerable, scheming, heart-warming, confident and insecure. They're complex and redeemable. And too much fun to read or watch!
Who are your favorite villains and why? Do you have another type that I haven't covered? Better yet...who is the hottest villain out there in either book or movie?
Naima Simone’s love of romance was first stirred by Johanna Lindsey and Linda Howard many years ago. Though her first attempt at writing a romance novel at age 11 never saw the light of day, her love of romance and writing has endured. Now, she spends her time creating stories of unique men and women who experience the dizzying heights of passion and the tender heat of love.
She is wife to Superman—or his non-Kryptonian, less bullet proof equivalent—and mother to the most awesome kids ever. They all live in perfect, domestically-challenged bliss in the southern United States.
When Greer Addison finds her future husband in bed with another woman, she runs…right into the arms of dark and dangerous Raphael Marcel. Angry and hurt, she throws caution to the wind and spends a hot night with the sexy security specialist. But when her fiancé is found dead, Greer becomes the main suspect of a crime she can’t remember.
Raphael is stunned and suspicious when Greer shows up on his doorstep claiming she’s carrying his baby. Worse, she’s the target of a stalker bent on making her pay for a murder she doesn’t recall. As Raphael begins to trust Greer, they must race against the clock to uncover a killer. Because Greer’s memory is returning...