Last night after a wonderful Saturday night with my friend Tea and her daughter I arrived home at nearly 11 pm wired to the gills and couldn’t sleep. There’s nothing unusual about that. I’ve always been a night owl by nature and I often do some of my best writing after most normal folks are snoring in bed.
So I grabbed a cup of ice, a diet Dr. Pepper, and sat down at my laptop to work on some rewrites until the Sandman decided to coat me in magic sleeping dust. 😉 It was while I was steeped in rewrites a thought occurred to me. Over the years I’ve always had the ability to creep out my friends and family with my storytelling. It never mattered where or why whether it was sitting around the campfire telling classic ghost stories from my childhood to the kiddies or posting installments on WIP fan fiction. The best reactions I received were always about my villains.
I’ve always been in love with villains. As a child I cheered for Snidely Whiplash in all his elegant top hat wearing, mustache twirling
glory. He was intelligent and funny, but despite his best laid plans was always stopped by the hero Dudley. Dudley on the other hand was an idiot who the Fates smiled upon time after time. Now as an adult I understand Snidely better than I did as a kid. I even relate to him despite his constant kidnapping of the fair Nell Fenwick and his attempts to do away with Dudley. The sad thing was Nell was interested in neither man preferring the company of Dudley’s horse.
It would have been better for both men if they’d thrown in the white flag and said to hell with Nell. After which they could have sat down for a cold beer, had a bitch-fest about women, and realized they were meant for each other (just kidding–maybe). Ah, yes…realism in cartoons. You have to love it. *chuckles*
Then there were Boris and Natasha, the ever present Cold War Russian agents determined to take down “Moose and Squirrel“. They tried their damnedest only to end up being mocked and laughed at by Rocky, Bullwinkle, and their audience. Poor Boris and Natasha they were only trying to do their jobs.
By now you’re probably thinking there’s something seriously wrong with me. Your more than likely screaming at me going “But they’re villains!” or “They’re evil!”. True, they are the villains, but just pause for a moment and think. Without villains to fight where would the heroes of the world be? They’d be bored. Hell, they wouldn’t be heroes. Without villains there is no need for heroes.
As a writer I always look forward to creating the villain. To me villains become villains for a reason; broken heart, abandonment, being picked on because they don’t fit in. Sure that’s not reason enough to turn to the dark side, but it does give you pause to wonder what might have been had they been loved, accepted, and shown a better way to live their lives. The villains I’ve created in my stories always have a back story, I try to make the reader even care in some way for them. Anyone who’s read my fiction knows that.
In the end my villains always meet the end they deserve. If you’re evil, do bad things, you ultimately need to face the piper as my mother used to say. Does that mean though that we as writers and even readers should ignore the importance of the villain? Of course not. We need to respect and love the villain as much as we despise and hate him or her. The old saying about there being a thin line between love and hate is true. I believe the same is true of villains and heroes. They are two faces of the same coin. Without one you can not have the other.
There is both light and dark in nature. We as humans chose one path or the other and ultimately become either the hero or the villain of our stories. We can learn as much from the villains as we do from the heroes.
Just something to chew on, folks.