Jerzy here as quest-giver this time.
Bad guys and gals are often the most fun characters in fiction: they give us a catharsis, they represent a self-possession we long for, or they're just plain more colorful. But developing a "bad guy" isn't as simple as it may seem, especially if you want an audience to react to them.
A few years back I participated in a discussion on episode 82 of the Art & Story podcast, where we broke down a few rough categories of bad guys, which were:
Megalomaniac: The character who wants to control everything and will stop at nothing to achieve that.
Examples: Cobra Commander, Beast Wars Megatron, Skeletor, Doctor Doom, RJ Fletcher.
Madness: The crazy villain, either a victim of society or a victim of his or her own hubris.
Examples: The Joker, Green Goblin, Two-Face.
Revenge: The villain who seeks revenge (or, in the villain’s mind, “justice”) against a hero.
Examples: Khan, Magneto.
Greater Good: The villain who does something morally reprehensible in the name of solving an insurmountable problem.
Examples: Kodos, Magneto.
Force of Nature: Not having an evil intent as such, this character is often an expression of the repercussions of mankind screwing something up.
Examples, The Gill Man, Moby Dick, Jason Voorhees, Maskatron.
Sociopath: The character utterly without a sense of right and wrong, who does dark deeds by compulsion.
Examples: Anton Chigurh, from No Country For Old Men.
Tamas, or Dark Inertia: A villain who destroys for destruction’s sake. No creative impetus. Almost demonic.
Examples: Ellsworth Toohey, Birgil.
Normal Quest: Write a blog post assigning your own lists of villains to these categories, and why you put them there.
Heroic Quest: Design your own bad guy or gal and explain where they’d chart in these categories. Are they a Greater Good/Revenge character? Are they Madness/Megalomaniac? It doesn’t have to be a super villain!
To turn in the quest:
Tweet a link to your post with the hashtag #liaquest3
To offer a power-up:
Share a link to a similar kind of post or tutorial on how to design really neat bad guys/gals!