AllCharacterizationCreative WritingWriting Tips

Writing a Good Hero-Villain Relationship

By June 5, 2019 June 22nd, 2019 No Comments

Hello Writers and Readers and welcome to this weeks post, as you can see by the video above this week is about the villains, and how to write them properly. This is a video created by awesome content creator Hello Future Me, he creates all kind of videos that can range on topic from analyzing movies and T.V shows, to (as you’ve seen) advice on writing. He has recently released a book that we will be linking down below for you to read, and we will also be linking his channel and anything else we find relevant. We can recommend you subscribe and check him out.

Now for all of you that would rather read than watch, or for those who want a quick briefer on the video then we have prepared a short summary for you. We got some awesome notes from this video, and we hope you did to, now on with the artiI mean summary!

In a story you need more than a great hero, you also need a great villain that can drive forward a proper narrative. Great villains and heros are often great because of how they are connected through a character web, which is a web of characters that relate to each other. This is because people understand characters better through comparing and contrasting them between each other. The hero and villain relationship is essential to set up stakes, tension, and themes, for your story. Your villain has to be the necessary opponent to your protagonist, this means that the villain is the best person to attack the heroes weaknesses, and thus also allows the hero to overcome their weakness and fight back.

There are 3 ways mentioned in this video on how to set up a good hero-villain relationship, these are:

  1. Structurally
  2. Ideologically
  3. Similarity

We will summarize these topics below.

Structurally

The antagonist and protagonist both want the same thing in life, causing a rivalry on who will get it. This sets the characters up as active, because they have to be actively trying to get what ever it is they are trying to get. This also sets stakes up early on in the narrative, because the reader knows that only one character can win in the end. There needs to be a moment in your story where the villain is finally showed to be the necessary villain, this is when the villain hurts the hero in a way that the hero has never experienced before. Often the hero has to understand this moment more than the reader, making the rivalry between them even deeper and tougher than before. Depending on where this moment is placed it can change how the story behaves and what creates tension.

Ideologically

The conflict of beliefs and values between two characters. These two beliefs MUST come into conflict someway, otherwise there is no real meaning behind the story, other than ‘plot said so’. By using this way to set up a relationship between villain and hero, you create a villain that can attack the hero on a more personalized level. This also allows for more character development, because of the examination of both protagonist’s and antagonist’s motives and values. But it is however hard to make one side completely wrong and the other completely right, as this is unrealistic. The double reversal is where both the antagonist and protagonist realize something, by doing the double reversal you can humanize the villain and create a character arc.

Similarity

As said previously, the reader interprets characters through their similarities and differences. In stories there is a thing called the character foil, where one character is made deliberately different to another to highlight these differences. Often the character foil is the antagonist, where the villain is different to the hero in many ways, but this can be weak and uninteresting if there aren’t any similarities. Similarities highlight the differences and values between two different characters. With many similarities between your hero and villain, the villain is more able to predict and undermine the hero in whatever they are doing, and by doing this you can create a small pool of differences that the reader will focus more heavily on. However if you focus to much on the similarities your villain can become stale and simplistic. If you are planning on having a, ‘we’re not so different’, moment then you should make it more effective by making the antagonist question the similarities between them. On the opposite side of the coin, you could have two characters with two completely different capabilities, making the main have to change tactic and form a new strategy to take down whatever villain they face, this can lead to changes in allegiance and morale.

It will be also good to note that characters change throughout the course of a story, meaning that the necessary villain can change as well.

Thank you for reading, and watching through today’s post, hope you all have a good day, and we’ll see you next week. (*dubstep outro music plays*)

Check out Hello Future Me’s channel here.

Check out the original video here.

Find Hello Future Me’s book here.