A Convincing heavy well built Character

by Cherry
(Alexandria, Egypt)

Hello there, I'm having a trouble with specific characters that should be really 'heavy' in the story, by heavy I mean effective, major, and convincing, as because those characters are the villains in the story. Its a dramatic, realistic and rich story, with so much important details.


My main problem is how to write about those bad characters in the story with such sincerity and skill? How to make them and build them in a professional way to push the thought of silliness; I'm talking about a gangster who is followed by the Italian police for years and still hadn't been caught for his brilliant mind that could make him a scientist if he used his brain for good. He's also a cold-blooded man, and every flaw in him is stretched. With those qualities I can't exactly know how to build his character though, bad characters in my opinion be more harder to write about, I think its easy to write about a hero or a role-model.

I don't know who to make this character so effective in its moves, words, and actions.

Answer: It sounds like you already have a good sense of who this character is, but perhaps he still doesn't feel real to you because you haven't written enough about him yet.

Try writing from his point of view. For instance, you could have him describe an important incident that happens to him either in the present or earlier in his life. Or you could write a journal entry in which he tries to figure out a situation or describes his desires for the future.

It doesn't matter if this writing ends up in the novel or not. The point is to spend some time in the character's head. This exercise often causes details about the character to emerge that give you a more concrete and distinct grasp on his personality, which in turn makes it easier to write passages of the novel that concern him.

Some other techniques that can help...

1. Look for photographs of people who resemble the character you have in mind.

2. Ask yourself questions about this character (any questions will do). Brainstorm as many possible answers as you can and then choose the answers that most make sense.

3. Read up on real life criminals and consider making your character a composite of traits borrowed from two or more people.

4. Imagine other aspects of the character's life -- his beliefs, relationships, environment, experiences, feelings, background, physical traits, etc.

Feel free to switch between all these approaches until you feel more certain about who this character is.

For some people, writing about villains is challenging because it means accessing parts of our personality we have been trained to suppress as part of our socialization. Maybe we grow up trying to be good, so we don't let ourselves think and feel in a villainous manner.

However, all aspects of humanity are in all people. As a writer you need to use your imagination to access what it would be like to think and feel in a villainous way. You can explore things on the page that you would never do in real life, just as readers can explore things in books they would never actually do. The great thing about literature is that it can be a safe forum for such exploration and, because of this, it can be a way for people to develop empathy for all types of people.

Comments for A Convincing heavy well built Character

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Sep 13, 2015
So Helpful
by: Cherry

It did really help, such a great advice, Thank you!

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