IWSG-Insecure Writers Support Group

Villains are Characters Too-IWSG

Today’s post for the insecure writers will be super short and probably filled with typo’s. Why? Because I am ridiculously busy right now. I’m waaaaay behind on my edits. But I can’t work on that because I’m trying to get my house on the market so that we can sell before the one we want is gone. Oh, but I can’t work on that today until I organize 111 boxes of Girl Scout cookies that my overachieving daughter sold this year. Did I mention that she sold to people all over the world, so now we have to internationally ship them to our friends overseas? Seriously, next year I’m just going to buy her the stuffed tiger.

The awesome co-hosts for the March 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure,Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard

March 6 question – Whose perspective do you like to write from best, the hero (protagonist) or the villain (antagonist)? And why?


I love the villain. They are always the best characters in my books. Where the hero has to work inside the rules of “likability,” and just plain repressive ideals like “legality” and “morality,” the villain can do whatever is necessary to get what he wants. Villains get all the best lines. They are allowed to say the things that we all secretly think, but would never say. They do all the things we wish we could do, but fear, or stickly things like a moral compass keep getting in the way. Villains live lives of pure freedom, and until the end of the book, they don’t have to deal with the consequences.

Sure, eventually the hero thwarts them, but for a few brief chapters, it’s all the glory and none of the pain.

With all the freedom a villain is granted, they can easily become the most faceted characters in the story. Why the rage? Why the quest for revenge? Why the need to watch the world burn? Why the sense of entitlement? Why the ego-mania?

Why the pain?

Villains can be broken beyond redemption. Heroes have limits. Sure, you can have an anti-hero, but even an anti-hero must have a spark of light. Some redeeming quality that gains the reader’s sympathy.

Villains are all fire.

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M.L. Keller is a freelance writer and editor. Her blog "The Manuscript Shredder" is focused on helping emerging writers hone their craft.

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