Originally sent to newsletter subscribers on September 08, 2014. Sign up here to receive newsletters first and get extra newsletter-only content!
I blame Star Wars. For what? Badass bad guys. Now, we could spend this entire newsletter debating whether “badass” is one word or two (it’s one), but instead, let’s talk about how it’s all George Lucas’s fault that I tend to favor the bad guys. The Empire was just full of the coolest characters. Darth Vader, obviously. And Boba Fett? Heck Yeah! I love me some Boba Fett (forget that screaming, flailing flight into the mouth of the Sarlacc and instead focus on how he blew it up later in the Expanded Universe).
So why do I like badass bad guys, and subsequently write about them? Because without a good bad guy, someone who makes you question whether the hero will actually come out on top, someone who makes you question your own loyalties from time to time, the story is predictable and boring. The bad guy needs just as good a chance at winning as the good guy (if not better). Otherwise, what’s the point?
When I’m writing, I often start out with a really horrible bad guy in mind. They’re terrible, awful, and pure evil. But then, as I start to flesh out their character, I find myself enjoying them and their wicked ways. One of my favorite bad guys to write so far has been Leanansidhe from The Risen King series. She’s just so deliciously evil that I can’t help but adore her. I want to love my bad guys as much as I love my good guys. Badass bad guys can make or break a book. Without them to balance out the hero, a key component is missing from the story.
Who are some of your favorite bad guys? Do you find yourself cheering for the bad guy more often than not, or do you prefer heroes over villains?