writing-questions-answered:

Anonymous said:

So, you know that thing where a villain thinks they’re terrifying but they just come off as ridiculous? I feel like I’m teetering on the edge of my hero laughing at the villain trying to look badass and evil and threatening. I don’t want that. My villain should definitely be badass and evil and threatening. He’s doing awful things when the hero confronts him but all I can think of is “lol okay dude”. I don’t know what else I can do to make him more of a serious monster, which he is.

Just make sure the things your villain is doing aren’t coming off as cheesy. These terrible things need to have substance–and not just general substance, either. They have to be things that matter to the hero–things that have real world consequences that impact the hero in some way. It’s kind of like this: if your villain blows up a big beautiful house, that might be terrible in practice, but your hero might just think, “Wow, that sucked. What a jerk,” and it comes off as cheesy. But if your villain blows up your hero’s beloved childhood home, within which he has established a flourishing orphanage, which is at the moment filled to capacity with innocent orphans–that’s not just generally horrible. That has a personal and devastating impact on the hero. Have it turn out that his wife was there volunteering with the children today, and you’ve now taken it to a catastrophic personal level for the hero. There’s no “lol dude” with something like that.

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