When your antagonist is an actual person, considering motives and circumstance is very important to draw the reader in. You don’t want your antagonist to be shallow. Let’s take a look at some famous ones and why I think they worked.
- Darth Vader in Star Wars and Voldemort in Harry Potter—Both were originally viewed as just plain evil seeking world domination. We were thrown into the story in the middle and probably didn’t sympathize with the character. But, the world that was created allowed for other conflicts to keep the plot moving forward and keep it fun.
- T-Rex in Jurassic Park and King Kong—these conflict characters do what they do. They were motivated by food and companionship, who doesn’t seek that? The enemy is not clear strung and in the end we question our own humanity.
- Annie Wilkes in Misery and Norman Bates in Psycho--they could’ve been school mates. Evil was embedded in their character so well that they didn’t realize they needed a reality check, bad, leaving the reader/viewer so engrossed in their misconception of reality that it brought chills to our core. Mine anyway.
Who is your favorite bad guy?