I thought this might be of interest :
From the Board at The Force.Net : How to write evil (Getting inside the mind of your villian)
What I find interesting , is the point of view that a villian , an evil person is sometimes someone who is not a villian from the own point of view. What I mean is, that in Star Wars the TIE Fighter pilots are not necessarily evil, but merely trying to establish and keep some sort of order.
It's very rare to come across an individual who will label themselves 'evil'. Even the people our society labels 'evil' (Saddam Hussein, Adolph Hitler, Idi Amin..., etc.) thought they were doing 'good' on behalf of their own people. And that's where viewpoint and motivation becomes interesting for a writer.
I've always been fascinated by human behavior. Not from a judgmental point of view, but probably more from a clinical aspect. People who inspire fear in the average person fascinate me. I have at least 50 books on serial killers, socio- and psychopaths, pedophiles, sadists, etc. in my library and many other books that are probably considered quite macabre. They have opened the door to a glimpse of man's darker side. A side which dwells in every one of us. The triggers that set these types of personalities in motion are what interests me the most. And those triggers are the basic motivation in developing a depraved character. (I.e., abusive childhood, witness to a violent crime, psychological abuse, etc. all are the impetus that bring about some kinds of personality disorders).
So when creating a compelling villain (my fingers have yet learned to type 'villain' properly, as it always comes out 'villian'), there has to be some kind of reader identification. Otherwise, the character and message are lost. A villain's character must have some redeeming quality. Even more appropriate, the conflict which inspires what we call 'evil' must be plausible within the context of the storyline and something the reader can identify with. Creating an antagonist without redeemable qualities will undoubtly result in a 2 dimensional character.
Also, when creating your antagonist, his/her actions (no matter how outlandish) must be anchored in the believeable. Designing an evil character for evil's sake is amateurish, lazy and not well thought out.
After giving some thought to who my favorite 'villain' (I really don't like that word) is, I'd say Hannibal Lecter. I both love and dispise him at the same time which makes an interesting character, IMHO.
Another way to look at 'bad men' is ask yourself this: Is it possible to like a person but dislike their actions? If you can answer 'yes' to that question, take note of your specific likes and dislikes for they will play an important role in a well-developed antagonist.
Faralas <img src="/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/mage.gif" alt="" />