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DISCUSSION: Villains/Characters of the Day/Week: How to Write Them Well

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You see them all the time--not just in anime, but Western cartoons as well--the villain/monster/other problem of the week (or day). So how do you go about writing this kind of story, and how to write memorable opponents of the week that are more than just cannon fodder for the hero(es)? What do you avoid? What are some memorable villains of the week/day you've created?

Or maybe you're looking to create some characters of the day/week for a Pokemon adventure--how do you make them interesting enough so the hero(es) want to help when the evil team shows up to cause trouble?
 
Introducing a villain can be tricky in fiction for sure. It depends what kind of villain you want. Personally I like the more direct and powerful villains who cause anxiety for the reader whenever they are in the same area as the protagonists.
In their first seen they take out a protagonist immediately and without mercy. That's it. That protagonist is gone for good, either via injury, death or a threat such as blackmail. That's it, they are just gone. The villain doesn't neccessarily have to have a rhyme or a reason to take someone out. They just can. Every now and then have them deal with someone else, either a protagonist, a passerby, or another villain. Remind the reader that no one is safe while this villain is around.

Make the power gap so tilted in the villain's favour that you are just waiting for them to snap and go after the protagonists again. It isn't a case of if the protagonists win, it is a case of when the protagonists lose.

This doesn't even have to be the main villain, but if this villain has enough unpredictability to cause concern for the reader for the remaining cast, then they are a good villain.

Also, redemption doesn't have to happen. Not all villains get a redemption arc. Some villains should get one, but not neccessarily all. I think choosing the way your characters interact with a defeated villain makes them incredibly memorable.
 
You also want to avoid the villains being too similar to each other. Like, if you have a tree monster in one episode, why use another one in a different episode? It would be being to have two tree monsters be villains of different episodes.
 
You also want to avoid the villains being too similar to each other. Like, if you have a tree monster in one episode, why use another one in a different episode? It would be being to have two tree monsters be villains of different episodes.
You can still use the same villains multiple times, but I think having them getting stronger and posing more of a threat is a great way to include a repeating villain - even allowing them to win in some instances. I think a good example of a villain like this is Seth from Dinosaur King. The guy is always around causing trouble, but never at the forefront. When he finally steps out of the shadows and creates the black t-rex he is an absolute menace for the heroes - and unlike his incompetant counterparts - who actually aren't even that incompetant (Zander, Ed, and Ursula) - he could very easily have won.
 
You can still use the same villains multiple times, but I think having them getting stronger and posing more of a threat is a great way to include a repeating villain - even allowing them to win in some instances. I think a good example of a villain like this is Seth from Dinosaur King. The guy is always around causing trouble, but never at the forefront. When he finally steps out of the shadows and creates the black t-rex he is an absolute menace for the heroes - and unlike his incompetant counterparts - who actually aren't even that incompetant (Zander, Ed, and Ursula) - he could very easily have won.
I suppose if he is doing something different each time, then it can work, but you also don't want to overuse them.
 
I suppose if he is doing something different each time, then it can work, but you also don't want to overuse them.
Yeah, in Seth's case, he's more behind the scenes and creating opportunities - but when he does act on his own, he's trouble. He isn't the head of the villains or anything - he's just there doing his own thing. (DR Z Should have used Seth more if he wanted to get the cards back FR).

You are 100% right - walking the fineline between overuse and getting it just right is something that people have to consider.
 
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