Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Heroes and Villains, Villains and Heroes

All heroes need a flaw to make them human, but it seems as if heroes today are more flawed than heroic. Perhaps that is why villains need to be so despicably evil -- it makes the unadmirable hero shine in comparison. Well, maybe not shine. Gleam dully, perhaps. If not for the utterly evil villain, we would think that the hero's actions were villainous. I suppose, in the fiction world, the end justifies the means, but the more unrealistic the villain, the more I'm aware that the conflict is an artificial construct. It seems that authors are trying to outdo each other to created the villainiest villain, but I don't think a writer has to resort to such theatrics to write a good story. We've talked before about the villain being the hero of his own story (which means that the hero is the villain of the villain's story). So, if a hero needs a flaw, a villain needs an unflaw -- something good to make him seem heroic, at least in his own mind.

What do you do to keep your protagonist and antagonist in conflict and still keep it real? What is your hero's flaw? What is your villain's unflaw? Why does your villain think he is doing the right thing? If the story were inverted, and you told it from the villain's point of view, what would make your hero seem villainous to him?

If this is too restricted a topic, or if it is too deep for a fine October evening, we can talk about our current projects. What are you working on? If you're not writing now, what are planning or hoping to write?

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