Writing a new villain

Is there anything more fun than writing in a new villain?

megamind
“All men must choose between two paths. Good is the path of honour, heroism, and nobility. Evil… well, it’s just cooler. “

The villain for my latest casebook is linked to a former Baron, disfigured by Holmes in ‘The Adventure of the Illustrious Client.’ The original story was set in 1902, so 30 years later, the Baron would be in his 70s, so I am going to make the villain his son, who could be in his 40s. Also of note, Austria abolished the nobility in 1919, so the son of a Baron might still be exceedingly rich, but he would no longer hold the title of Baron (read the Wikipedia article here). The way that Portia identifies him is going to be a pin he inherited from his father, and I think I am going to use a medal of honor from the first world war as the basis for that pin – this one.

One of my main complaints about villains is that while we as writers often put a lot of effort into giving our protagonists many facets, and layer upon layer of experience, background and range, we leave our antagonists with surface personalities. In my head I’m thinking of MegaMind, which was a cute movie (if you get a chance to watch it, it’s on Netflix!) and focused on the ‘villain’ almost to a fault. It was a story where the protagonist was the villain, so of course you got a multi-faceted villain, but then the antagonist (the hero in the story) was the one that was a shallow caricature. Can’t both protagonist AND antagonist have a background, a place from where they came, a reason they do what they do? All those things and more are what I want for my villains.

To that end it is important for me that this son of Baron Adelbert Gruner is not just bent on revenge for revenges’ sake. He must have other things driving him. Other reasons why after 30 years he is bent on an evil plan.

Let’s see how I do (back to the bat cave I go!) — wish me luck!

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