Monday, August 1, 2011

Villains with a backstory




In my current work in progress I wanted my villain to have a backstory. Some of the best villains in literature and movies have had backstories: Darth Vader, Voldemort and others.

Villains, after all, have lived before we get to know them. While reading a few posts on villain backstory, some people argue that giving them backstories minimizes their sense of real evil.  It almost requires the reader to feel sorry for them so the fear is gone. 

So, I'm wondering what do you think?  Should villains be given backstories?  Does knowing that Darth Vader wasn't always evil, or Voldemort had screwed up parents, lesson the readers or movie goer experience in fearing them?


6 comments:

  1. Yes! Villans with a backstory make for a complete story. It's entertaining to read the destruction of soul and it helps to know the character better.

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  2. I think backstories are awesome. It helps the villain be more than two-dimensional!

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  3. I think some stories are richer for it. In others it might be less necessary. i guess it's really just what the story calls for- how you want the reader to feel.

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  4. I love backstories for villains! They're such intriguing reads. It doesn't make them any less frightening. I like a little mystery, but sometimes the reveal of a dark past can be much more thrilling.

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  5. Of COURSE they need backstory! Don't get me wrong; I enjoy the occasional short-piece villain who's evil simply for evil's sake. The element of madness is always compelling, especially in horror. But for the most part there's got to be a reason why evildoers do such terrible things. Even the devil has a motivation, some driving force that keeps him going.

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  6. I too like backstory. It makes it real. Thanks for your comments.

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