Monday, July 18, 2011

Guest Author: A.F. Stewart on Why We Love Fictional Villains

Hello, all! Today I'm hosting A.F. Stewart for a very special article on fictional villains. Happy reading! Make sure to go over and check out her blog if you like what you read here!

Without further ado, take it away, A.F.

Why We Love Fictional Villains.

We all like to boo the bad guys, hiss at the scoundrels in books and on screen, but do we ever take the time to really appreciate their contribution to our favourite stories? Where would stalwart heroes be without their adversaries? Would Sherlock Holmes intrigued as well without Moriarty, would we have cared as much about the fate of Luke Skywalker without the threat of Darth Vader? Perhaps, but doubtful, a hero needs a good villain to truly shine.

What is it about villains that we love? Do we want to see them virtually vanquished, or is it that we relish the age-old sentiment of good triumphing over evil? Maybe we like that vicarious rush of wickedness we feel when watching them onscreen or reading about them in books?

Or do we all secretly want to be that fictional bad guy, just a little? I know I did. I liked playing pirate or bandit when I was a kid and my favourite Halloween was the one where I dressed up as Darth Vader. I never wanted to be mean in real life, but being a pretend bad guy, now that was cool.

And that’s probably why I still have such fun when writing the villains in my stories. My scoundrels and their dastardly deeds are always dear to my heart and I love it when they leap off the page wreaking mayhem.

No doubt this is what led me to write Killers and Demons, a collection of stories starring nasty, nasty rogues and the evil they inflict. My five baddies are as wicked as you can get, murderers to their core, dispatching their hapless victims with no remorse. Jeremy, Scott, Mr Peters, Balthazar, and Imaria are not the sort you want to meet in a dark alley (or a bright one either), but they do their work in style and with flare, just to give you, the reader, the cold shivers.

And isn’t that just what a villain is supposed to do?

to find out more about A.F. or her work, see below.

Her Website

Her Blog

Her Book


  1. I wonder if it was 'cause I grew up with brothers. I always wanted to play the bad guy too. Being the damsel in distress never appealed.

  2. I think my biggest revelation from studying Joseph Campbell and the journey of the Hero is the fact that the villain (or shadow or whatever you want to call him/her/it) is the hero of their own story, and the hero is their "bad guy." I think if we can remember this as writers, we will write better villains. Great post. I love writing the bad guys, as well.

    Paul D. Dail

  3. I've never written a true villain. You make it sound like so much fun! Maybe I'll try it someday.

  4. The damsel in distress never appealed to me either, Sheila.

  5. I agree Paul, antagonists should never think of themselves as a "villain". It can come across as too much of a caricature.

  6. There is a certain freedom, Pat, in writing a true villain. You get to throw out a lot of constraints when your character is willing to do horrible things.

  7. The thing about making villains do horrible things is that you have to give them a reason to do those things. I don't like books where the villain is just evil for evil's sake. Great villains have reasons for their evil.

  8. Lena, I agree. I always give my villains reasons to do awful things; sometimes they're not nice reasons, but they have them.