I have a confession: this question came about in possibly the weirdest way: I was thinking about film villains. I know, I know, it’s seems blasphemous to be thinking about film, and applying it to fiction, but that’s how my mind works.
But, villains. Let’s face it, the villain is kind of more fun — Melinda Salisbury, author of The Sin Eater’s Daughter — did an amazing piece about villains that made me realise she’s right: anyone can be a villain, because it only a little for someone to do the wrong thing. A villain is the opposite version of your hero, and they must be understandable and relatable. The right kind of villain makes the hero darker, makes him or her question everything — isn’t that the sort of twisty goodness you want in book and a hero?
Which brings me to the next question in the #LoveOzLit project: do villains make heroes better? Can the right villain can make a hero more than a cardboard cut-out character to which audiences cannot respond? Or is all about the hero?
Below, is a quote from Tony Park, author of the recent An Empty Coast on villains, and here he too mentions how understandable a villain must be to work in fiction.
Which villains in fiction do that for you? Which ones make you understand them or even like them?