2. Mrs. Coulter from His Dark Materials trilogy
3. Alec D'Urberville from Tess of the D'Urbervilles
4. Sauron from Lord of the Rings
5. The Joker from Batman
6. Voldemort from Harry Potter
7. Cruella de Vil from 101 Dalmatians
8. Darth Vader from Star Wars
9. The Grand High Witch from The Witches
10. Captain Hook from Peter Pan
11. The Child Catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
12. Miss Trunchbull from Matilda
So, I've listed a dozen characters. What do they have in common? Yep.
Want to know something else they have in common? They don't really curse/cuss/swear, and yet they are in the top ten/fifty lists all over the internet. Sorry... I find that pretty interesting. Anyway, language aside, what makes them so vile? How do you write that evil, creepy character?
Here are a few things I think a villain needs:
1. Likability. (Yeah, even Voldemort is mildly likable as a kid.) (But, yeah... Sauron? Not so likable.)
2. A good reason for being bad. (Mrs. Coulter is only trying to do what's best for her daughter, Lyra, right? And that's a good reason to be bad! Every mother has the right to protect her kid.)
3. They are as complex as (of not more so than) the hero. (Cruella de Vil is so much more interesting than all the "good guys" from her story bunched together!)
4. They are easy identify with. (Darth. In Star Wars III, I feel his pain so completely, I GET why he turns evil. And it breaks my heart.)
5. They're human. They have flaws. And weaknesses. And weakness exists in all of us. So we get them. (Alec D'Urberville loves Tess, in a twisted, vile sort of way. LOVE is his weakness. And who can blame a man for loving a woman?)
And tell me, what makes your villain shine? And do they cuss/curse/swear?