I recently saw the new Marvel movie, Dr. Strange. I enjoyed its dazzling dreamlike special effects but also found it helpful to me as writer. I’ve been struggling with how to make the villain in my novel into a fully developed character vs just giant pile of pure evil. Ironically, Dr. Strange with its larger than life archetypal characters helped me see how to do that.
Dr. Strange, the hero, is a brilliant, totally self-centered man who must overcome his egotism and use his powers to help humanity in order to find his true strength. Kaecilius, Strange’s nemesis, possesses magical powers like Strange, but succumbs to egotism and uses his powers for evil. While Strange and Kaecilius are at opposite ends of the good and evil spectrum, they are also (if you overlook the web of glitter and black lines around Kaecilius’s creepy eyes) surprisingly alike. In fact, Kaecilius, the villain, is like a reflection of Strange in a distorting mirror. To make my own villain three-dimensional I realized I had to understand how he connects with and reflects my heroine.
Here are some great villains from young adult fiction and tips for creating your own.
- Marie Lu, the author of The Young Elites says,“We all have a little darkness in us…Villains are unbound by the burdens of being a hero. They’re much more unpredictable and fascinating to follow.” If you’re looking to connect with your inner darkness check out these 6 YA Reads With Villainous Leads Who Will Rock Your World.
- I’m excited about this forthcoming villain-themed anthology that will pair YA authors with Booktubers.
- If you’re itching to write your own villain, 10 Ways To Create Dangerously Nuanced Antagonists has tips on how to create a “worthy adversary.”
- If writing a villain isn’t enough and you want to actually be one, no worries. Take this quiz to find out Which YA Book Villain Are You? Apparently I am Lord Voldemort.