The Bad Guys

Bad Guy

Bad Guy

Everyone knows the Bad Guys. They wear a black hat or helmet. Or gory make-up. Or masks. Or they are ugly. And of course, they are mad, or sadistic, or aliens, or ruthless killers or all of the above. It’s easy, isn’t it?

Actually, it’s not.

Because those bad guys drive your story, at least for a while. They are the ones pushing the hero, setting things in motion and finally, forcing the hero to transform. They are important. They matter.

Makes sense? Not really? Okay, let’s look at some of them. (And cut me some slack. I’m not that much of movie gal, so if you have better examples, please share them in the comments.)

Black hat (or rather,  helmet) guy: Darth Vader.

He is the driving force behind the scenes for most of three movies. And he pushes the rebells and our heros, all the time. They tend to react to most of his moves. And most often, they run. It is a nice twist that he gets his own transformation at the very end, but for most of the time, he forces transformation on the heros.

Alien killers: Independence Day

Again, the movie starts out with the bad aliens dominating every move. Humans react. They try to initate communication and get kicked in the butt.  Finally, the heros begin fighting back, after being pushed into a corner – in this case, underground. The alien invasion triggers a transformation, as all nations have to cooperate. And of course, the programmer David becomes a hero, overcoming his fear of flying, and personally saves the world together with the pilot Steven.

So the Bad Guys matter. And it pays to devote time to develop them well. To know how they think and act. To create them in exactly the way that will push your hero to the utmost. And in addition, you want to make them believable.

All I’m saying is: Give some of your attention to the bad guys when you create your story. Give them screen time. And let them make your hero sweat. Your readers will love it.

Image Source: F. Moebius

PS: I’m teaching a short story workshop in May. Check it out here on my writers’ coaching site: The Short Story Workshop

About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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