Many writers, including James Bond creator Ian Fleming, confess to experiencing great difficulties in creating villains.
“Make them too psychotic and they start to win sympathy,” he said.
Make them normal and, well… a sinister villain has to be abnormal, I suppose. Or unusual.
Even the word 'sinister', meaning left-handed, suggests a departure from the normal
Hence Dr No had metal hands.
RL Stevenson’s Long John Silver had a peg leg.
Captain Hook in Peter Pan had a hook.
But today, it's increasingly difficult to match them.
After all the furore, it would take a courageous writer today to give another villain a cleft lip (Lone Ranger) or make them an albino (The Da Vinci Code).
Or dentally challenged (Jaws in the James Bond movie).
Or a pair of gay men assassins (Diamonds are Forever)
Or an evil black crime boss (Live and Let Die)
Choose any ‘difference’ and there’s going to be a society out there that will stand up and complain.
It’s simply lazy writing they say.
Is your villain too ugly?
Be sure that there is a society somewhere to protect the visually impaired (and we won’t talk about the vision impaired).
It probably explains the popularity of masks (Hannibal Lector) and a rash (or should that be a slash?) of baseball and other scream masks in slasher stories.
|Probably my most sinister fictional character was a veiled adversary in my Egyptian archaeological thriller The Smiting Texts|