villains and antagonists

When I first began writing for real, I wrote a story called Hope.  Originally, in the story,  these aliens invaded earth, basically enslaved the people in the sense that they had to pay really high taxes and if they did anything wrong, they disappeared or are killed. Earth became very much of a farming community again with each community self supportive. Hope gets mixed up in a revolution between the humans and the aliens and much of it is about how that revolution starts and ends.

I posted this on an online writers group, because they said let’s post our current stories, and I got an interesting comment back. Don’t make the aliens faceless.

See, it’s really easy for aliens to walk around with much personality, evil little green creatures who are determined to bring down the doom and destruction of humans to Earth. But it is much better to know why the aliens function as they do. Why did they invade earth anyway and why do they think that they have the right to enslave humans?

Because of these comments, I created a character called Ka’yam. Ka’yam was one of the aliens who actually lived on EArth. For the reader, she was the eyes and ears of the other side, without using her to annoying build up the tension. She was awesome and  easily become one of my more favorite characters in the story.

This advice that I was given years ago has been my guideline for villains since then. When I began writing something that would involve the villain taking over the government, I needed a reason why he wanted to do it and what he hoped to accomplish. He wasn’t just after it for the power or would handle things like the evil overlord list; it had be something more.

I think that this is something that a new writer needs to keep in mind. It is easy to make the villains faceless but we have a much better story if we don’t slip into the easy place of not knowing our antagonist.

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About Abigail

I'm an elementary education major at a college in the Midwest. I might graduate as early as December '13 but more likely May '14. I write when I can. I also knit on occasion, draw, do homework and contradict teachers to make people think. :)

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