A Villain’s Rage

Last night, I went to the movies with my son. He’s doing football conditioning and it is god awful. So, I took him to see his choice of movie as sorta a pick-me-up. We walked into the mall and looked at the framed posters on the wall for a while, contemplating our choices. A nice older lady on the nearby bench suggested we see Hobbs and Shaw or maybe one of the comedies. But my son was set on watching Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. He likes scary stuff. He likes villains….

When I started writing, I found developing the main villain to be the hardest part of the story. There has to be a deep complexity to your main villain, a reason for all of his or her actions and that reason has to be so great and so compelling to force that person to commit heinous acts. I don’t know if other people have trouble with crafting a main antagonist……but Hashkeh Nabbah’s story in Searching for Fire, his description and his behaviors was the very last thing I wrote. I struggled to describe him at times. I skipped the beginning chapter about Hashkeh Nabbah, the angry warrior, and his lair. I wrote the whole book and then went back to complete that chapter. I wonder how long it must have taken Stephen King or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to develop their bad guys like Pennywise and Moriarty, truly amazing terrifying one-of-a-kind creations. I think the main reason that it is difficult to get inside the head of a main villain is that the majority of us operate on the level of a need for affiliation as opposed to power according to David McClelland’s Theory of Motivation. We just don’t think and operate the way a villain might.

The supporting villains are much easier to write. Perhaps this is because they are seemingly more one dimensional. You don’t have to describe the catalyst that caused their behavior. They just are what they are. You see this in watching the movie Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. In the individual stories, the supporting villains are just frightening and evil and act without motivation revealed. There’s the scarecrow Harold, the buried woman who takes Auggy, and the others. But, it is Sarah Bellows, the main antagonist who creates the stories who’s motivations must be explained and who’s inner turmoil and conflict must be resolved in the end by the protagonist.

I like these type of villains…..the ones with backgrounds that reveal deep trauma and rejection that leads to rage which leads to malevolence. You get to see them as they were before reality dealt them some cruel and vicious blows and they hardened like salt. One of my favorite recent depictions of a villain is Maleficent. The scene in the movie when she loses her wings is a really powerful moment. It explains the terrible betrayal of love and the need for revenge and cruelty.

When you see the whole story and not just the animated Disney version, which is great in its own right but lacks depth and complexity, you see someone deeply wounded inside covered by a hard outer shell.

I liked this method of storytelling so I included one supporting villain in the book Searching for Fire who has a wounded past. The description of his past is short…..just a chapter and may seem out of place with the rest of the story but the beginning is based on a true event that did happen under the Spanish colonization of the region of Texas in the 1600s. These things really did happen and so often our textbooks tend to gloss over the details.

So, anyways, here’s a toast to the villains. Here’s to the villains, the complex ones and the simple ones. I truly love them, love reading their stories. Without them, the heroes would be lifeless and without purpose or drive. The villains are often times the true epicenter of the story and unfortunately never get the credit they truly deserve nor the adoring fans…..hence the madness and rage I suppose. They sweep in on the stage and steal the show over and over again with awesome displays of wickedness. Without Lord Voldemort, what would Harry Potter be? Without Darth Vader, would we even want to watch Luke Skywalker? What would Star Wars even be without Vader?


Do you have a favorite villain? Comment below what your favorite story villain is and why. I’d love to hear your responses.


Author: J. Speer

I like to write. I have 5 books currently on Amazon, mostly fiction. I try to write positive and uplifting children's stories, expressive poetry for women, and interesting articles about personal growth, alternative medicine, and spirituality. My stories are often about diverse people but with human connection in mind through inner perspective. I love my characters especially the ones from my first book, Searching for Fire. I moved recently to Vermont. I live in the North Country region near Lake Willoughby, one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. My heart will always be with Kansas but I love travel and meeting new people with diverse perspectives on life. I have found Vermonters to have many admirable qualities like stoicism and a love and stewardship of nature. My hobbies are writing, gardening, outdoor activities like kayaking, fishing, and hiking. I am an amateur herbalist. Many years ago, an alternative medicine doctor cured me of a respiratory illness by teaching me about vitamins and for that, I owe her a debt of gratitude. I recently bought a Jeep Wrangler that fits my personality and love for adventure. Associated with the military in my younger years, I have lived in Israel, Germany, and Virginia as well - all of which I loved in different ways. I thoroughly believe in the military spouse phrase, "bloom where you are planted" and endeavor to carry a positive optimism wherever I roam. Most days are good but admittedly I get down sometimes. I am prone to sadness or severe cynicism at times, so I turn to music as my consolation and source of expression or inspiration. My favorite songs currently are "How Deep is Your Love" by the Beegees, "La Vie en Rose", "A Million Dreams" or maybe Karen Carpenter singing "Close to You" or Elton John singing "Your Song." I also like "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us" by Starship or "I'll Stand by You" by The Pretenders. "Faithfully" by Journey always reminds me of rollerskating with friends in the 1980s. My favorite quotes are from the Velveteen Rabbit, Steve Jobs, and this one..."To the caterpillar it was the end of the world, but to the butterfly it was merely a beautiful beginning." Or there is the quote from Peter Pan teaching Wendy..."What if I fall? But, oh my darling, what if you fly?" I also believe in being a pearl - graceful on the outside but full of grit and gratitude on the inside. My favorite women of the Bible are Ruth, Hannah, and Hagar. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Cheers, friend.

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