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Old 07-12-2017, 10:03 PM
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Default Tragic Villain


In my opinion this is the only kind of villainous antagonist that the reader can sympathize with. The villain of the story I plan to write to complete the trilogy of mod for the game I'm working on fits this category. I would like some tips on how to make a good tragic villain and making the reader sympathize with him without hating him.

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Old 07-13-2017, 04:08 PM
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What if he'd always wanted a puppy but his parents would never let him have one?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:24 PM
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When he was in 7th grade there was this hot chick named Betty Sue. She chose Dirk Romney to pop her cherry instead of him (Well, Dirk was captain of the baseball team).

He got a shot later because Betty was a slut, but it just wasn't the same?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:31 PM
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That would require way too much back story.

How about giving him a limp? Or he could suffer from male pattern baldness.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:36 PM
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I remember once upon a time, when I first joined a writing site, I posted a question about what I was GOING to write.

Yes -- it was a fairly well articulated and nuanced question about character development with rather specific literary references -- but boy oh boy, did I get bitch slapped.

I learned my lesson...
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
That would require way too much back story.

How about giving him a limp? Or he could suffer from male pattern baldness.


It's a pretty simple story, I think. Doesn't everyone have one?

Okay... her name was actually Annie Frankel. And Dirks name was Jeff Shook.

I hit it a few years later but... just not the same.
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:40 PM
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OK -- but let's give it a few layers and some real tension and conflict.

How about if Dirk gives him a wedgy in the locker room?
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
OK -- but let's give it a few layers and some real tension and conflict.

How about if Dirk gives him a wedgy in the locker room?


He did yeah... and a swirly a year after that. To be fair, I was a little guy with a big mouth, so...
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:46 PM
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I was a big guy with a big mouth. But I tended to give the most shit to people who were even bigger...
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Old 07-13-2017, 06:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
I was a big guy with a big mouth. But I tended to give the most shit to people who were even bigger...


You missed out on giving a lot of swirly's then. I'm not sure why they were so fun... I could never hold anyone upside over a toilet.
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Old 07-13-2017, 07:34 PM
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I fucking hated that shit. Hated seeing kids bullied -- and because of my size I did whatever I could to stop it. Never saw the fun in wedgies or swirlies or any of that.

But there were bigger kids -- and I didn't have the fighting instincts or coordination, so I got my ass kicked a few times.

Have you ever been to a class reunion? I love them.

I go to all of them, because I still live in the area of my school -- and I'm fascinated by how people have changed or haven't changed and what they're doing with their lives. It's like seeing the progress or outcome of an experiment.

Hard to say how people really feel inside or how they were affected by the high school experience -- but it's interesting to see people interact in a way that indicates they've seriously moved on.

One year, I ran into of my biggest adversaries -- and we just laughed before we even said anything.

The other interesting but not surprising thing -- some of the girls who would have gone unnoticed in high school turned out to be really attractive.

And the girls who were hot in high school? No, they didn't get all fat and nasty. They are still hot!
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Myers View Post
I fucking hated that shit. Hated seeing kids bullied -- and because of my size I did whatever I could to stop it. Never saw the fun in wedgies or swirlies or any of that.

But there were bigger kids -- and I didn't have the fighting instincts or coordination, so I got my ass kicked a few times.

Have you ever been to a class reunion? I love them.

I go to all of them, because I still live in the area of my school -- and I'm fascinated by how people have changed or haven't changed and what they're doing with their lives. It's like seeing the progress or outcome of an experiment.

Hard to say how people really feel inside or how they were affected by the high school experience -- but it's interesting to see people interact in a way that indicates they've seriously moved on.

One year, I ran into of my biggest adversaries -- and we just laughed before we even said anything.

The other interesting but not surprising thing -- some of the girls who would have gone unnoticed in high school turned out to be really attractive.

And the girls who were hot in high school? No, they didn't get all fat and nasty. They are still hot!


Had I any money and we were the same age, I could have hired you as my bodyguard. Like that movie.

I went from 5'2" tall and a cute kid, to 5'11" and apparently attractive between 10th and 11th grade. The last half of high school was good for me. I'd also been taking guitar lessons since I was seven and could play almost anything in the parking lot on an old acoustic. Good times!

I went to my 30th high school reunion in 2015. I met up with a bunch of friends from the cross country team and we had a blast. Honestly, I didn't really recognize many other people.

I've kept up friends with Facebook over the years so it was easy.

They re-crowned the king and queen of the 1985 prom and I honestly didn't know who they were.
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Old 07-13-2017, 08:54 PM
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Actually, the villain I had in mind had these traits:

-He's the most feared wizard to have ever existed in the realm. He was born the son of a sorceress and a pure-blood human astronomer. His maternal grandfather was a misanthropistic wizard who detested humans, but neveretheless loved his wife and daughter. (hated his son-in-law though and the fact that she had a child with a human)
-When he was an infant, his father was killed by his grandfather despite the fact that he had defended his wife from a mob of witch hunters. To protect him from his grandfather's wrath, his mother placed him in the care of trusted friends before she died of a broken heart.
-He grew up shunned, feared by normal humans because of his ancestry and his potential, and seen as an abomination by his own brethren because of the circumstances of his birth. Nevertheless, he was able to find love and father two sons, yet he remained an outcast.
-Following the death of his wife at the hands of witchhunters, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Wanting to be accepted by humanity because he is a halfblood human, he turns on his own brethren and kills many of them in his homeland, exploiting a loophole in the laws of wizardry which allows him to kill his own kind with magic. Then he sets his sights on his grandfather who has terrorized the people of the land for many years in retribution against humanity whom he blames for the death of his daughter.
-Ultimately, he slays his grandfather, freeing the land from his wrath, but the people of the land only abhor and fear him even more because of what he has become. Seeing all hope of acceptance gone, he creates a race of creatures through a combination of dark magic and his own blood, cursing the land with eternal darkness so they can thrive. His creations exterminate all human life in his homeland before he is defeated, robbed of his powers and memory before being cast into another world by another wizard.
-He spends nearly the next sixteen centuries trying to make a fresh start, having many families, only for people to ultimately come to fear him because of his mysterious slow aging.
-At one point, he lived in the town of Salem, only to flee after his wife and daughters were killed in the witch hunts. This event stirs up a memory of his past and who he once was.
-In the present day, he is befriended by the protagonist who ultimately helps him return to his homeland. He reunites with his elder son and ultimately is aided by the protagonist into regaining his powers and memories. But when the realm once again rejects him even in spite of using his powers for a heroic purpose, it ultimately drives him over the edge.
-He amplifies the curse he cast long ago to engulf the entire realm and allows it to spread onto the Earth, allowing the creatures he created to thrive and unleash themselves upon humanity. Having grown even more disgusted with humanity because of the way he was treated and the way people treated each other, he vows to eradicate all humanity from both his homeworld and Earth. One he is satisfied that a cruel species will no longer continue to exist, he will then destroy himself and end his own miserable existence. Only the protagonist will be spared the wrath of his minions because of his compassion towards him, the wizard himself calls him the only true friend he ever had.
-In the end ultimately, the protagonist is forced to attempt to stop him. During his journey, he is joined by his allies including his lover, the dark wizards elder son, as well as the spirits of his parents and grandparents. Mother and father are both horrified by what their son has become and the depths of his madness. Sorrowfully, they come to the heartbreaking conclusion that for his own sake, he needs to be put down. Grandmother sides with her daughter and son-in-law, agreeing that her grandson needs to be stopped for the sake of humanity, while grandfather is only interested in revenge, yet he doesn't care even if the protagonist fails and humanity dies. The dark wizard bitterly blames his mother and father for bringing him into such a cruel heartless world that made it clear that there was no place in it for someone like him.
-Ultimately, the curse is lifted. In battle with the protagonist, he is granted the death he long sought. As he lays dying, the spirits of his mother and father comfort him and even sing the lullabye they sung for him as a baby. Realizing that his mother and father truly loved him and how different his life would have been if they had lived long enough to raise him, he makes peace with them and dies, joining his family in the afterlife where he finally finds peace and acceptance.
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:28 PM
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DwayneA - are you fucking serious?

Do you really expect anyone to plow through that shit and give you a clue?

For god's sake -- either figure this shit out for yourself or get another hobby.

Last edited by Myers; 07-14-2017 at 07:20 AM..
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DwayneA View Post
Actually, the villain I had in mind had these traits:

-He's the most feared wizard to have ever existed in the realm. He was born the son of a sorceress and a pure-blood human astronomer. His maternal grandfather was a misanthropistic wizard who detested humans, but neveretheless loved his wife and daughter. (hated his son-in-law though and the fact that she had a child with a human)
-When he was an infant, his father was killed by his grandfather despite the fact that he had defended his wife from a mob of witch hunters. To protect him from his grandfather's wrath, his mother placed him in the care of trusted friends before she died of a broken heart.
-He grew up shunned, feared by normal humans because of his ancestry and his potential, and seen as an abomination by his own brethren because of the circumstances of his birth. Nevertheless, he was able to find love and father two sons, yet he remained an outcast.
-Following the death of his wife at the hands of witchhunters, he decides to take matters into his own hands. Wanting to be accepted by humanity because he is a halfblood human, he turns on his own brethren and kills many of them in his homeland, exploiting a loophole in the laws of wizardry which allows him to kill his own kind with magic. Then he sets his sights on his grandfather who has terrorized the people of the land for many years in retribution against humanity whom he blames for the death of his daughter.
-Ultimately, he slays his grandfather, freeing the land from his wrath, but the people of the land only abhor and fear him even more because of what he has become. Seeing all hope of acceptance gone, he creates a race of creatures through a combination of dark magic and his own blood, cursing the land with eternal darkness so they can thrive. His creations exterminate all human life in his homeland before he is defeated, robbed of his powers and memory before being cast into another world by another wizard.
-He spends nearly the next sixteen centuries trying to make a fresh start, having many families, only for people to ultimately come to fear him because of his mysterious slow aging.
-At one point, he lived in the town of Salem, only to flee after his wife and daughters were killed in the witch hunts. This event stirs up a memory of his past and who he once was.
-In the present day, he is befriended by the protagonist who ultimately helps him return to his homeland. He reunites with his elder son and ultimately is aided by the protagonist into regaining his powers and memories. But when the realm once again rejects him even in spite of using his powers for a heroic purpose, it ultimately drives him over the edge.
-He amplifies the curse he cast long ago to engulf the entire realm and allows it to spread onto the Earth, allowing the creatures he created to thrive and unleash themselves upon humanity. Having grown even more disgusted with humanity because of the way he was treated and the way people treated each other, he vows to eradicate all humanity from both his homeworld and Earth. One he is satisfied that a cruel species will no longer continue to exist, he will then destroy himself and end his own miserable existence. Only the protagonist will be spared the wrath of his minions because of his compassion towards him, the wizard himself calls him the only true friend he ever had.
-In the end ultimately, the protagonist is forced to attempt to stop him. During his journey, he is joined by his allies including his lover, the dark wizards elder son, as well as the spirits of his parents and grandparents. Mother and father are both horrified by what their son has become and the depths of his madness. Sorrowfully, they come to the heartbreaking conclusion that for his own sake, he needs to be put down. Grandmother sides with her daughter and son-in-law, agreeing that her grandson needs to be stopped for the sake of humanity, while grandfather is only interested in revenge, yet he doesn't care even if the protagonist fails and humanity dies. The dark wizard bitterly blames his mother and father for bringing him into such a cruel heartless world that made it clear that there was no place in it for someone like him.
-Ultimately, the curse is lifted. In battle with the protagonist, he is granted the death he long sought. As he lays dying, the spirits of his mother and father comfort him and even sing the lullabye they sung for him as a baby. Realizing that his mother and father truly loved him and how different his life would have been if they had lived long enough to raise him, he makes peace with them and dies, joining his family in the afterlife where he finally finds peace and acceptance.


Or yeah, you could just go with that...
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:46 PM
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I'm just sharing some of my ideas and was looking for some feedback on if they sound good and fit the character I want to create.
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Old 07-14-2017, 02:28 AM
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I don't think Myers and Brian are treating this subject with the gravity it so clearly deserves.

The best way to make a villain tragic is to introduce a fatal flaw that undermines his villainy. For example, you could have a serial rapist who, by a cruel twist of fate lost his penis in a freak combine harvester accident while picking daisies in his youth. Lacking the necessary equipment for his chosen villainy, he is forced to improvise using everyday objects. The pathetic image of a rapist relying on an unripe banana to violate his victim would surely melt the heart of even the most cynical reader.

Other possibles are:

a pickpocket with no fingers
a blind hitman
an evil genius with ADHD
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Last edited by flyingtart; 07-14-2017 at 05:46 AM..
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Old 07-14-2017, 07:23 AM
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Originally Posted by DwayneA View Post
I'm just sharing some of my ideas and was looking for some feedback on if they sound good and fit the character I want to create.
Just write it man. Ideas are a dime a dozen.
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
It's a pretty simple story, I think. Doesn't everyone have one?

Okay... her name was actually Annie Frankel. And Dirks name was Jeff Shook.

I hit it a few years later but... just not the same.
To paraphrase AC/DC Jeff Shook her all night long.....
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Old 07-14-2017, 11:49 AM
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Originally Posted by flyingtart View Post
I don't think Myers and Brian are treating this subject with the gravity it so clearly deserves.

The best way to make a villain tragic is to introduce a fatal flaw that undermines his villainy. For example, you could have a serial rapist who, by a cruel twist of fate lost his penis in a freak combine harvester accident while picking daisies in his youth. Lacking the necessary equipment for his chosen villainy, he is forced to improvise using everyday objects. The pathetic image of a rapist relying on an unripe banana to violate his victim would surely melt the heart of even the most cynical reader.

Other possibles are:

a pickpocket with no fingers
a blind hitman
an evil genius with ADHD
Originally Posted by DwayneA View Post
Actually, the villain I had in mind had these traits:

-He's the most feared Lizard to have ever existed in the realm. He was born the son of a sorceress and a pure-blood human astronomer but never got his letter via owl.mumble

Flying Tart is correct, he came seeking help but then again .....wizard......

that should have been abbreviated a touch
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:00 AM
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I think the most useful help you can give in these threads is no help.

And 9 times out of ten, if people offer suggestions, the response is, "that won't work because..."

And the explanation usually is about some piece of the bigger story they didn't mention.

How many of these threads end with "Those are great suggestions!. Thanks everyone. I can now move on and finish my story!"

Haven't seen it yet.

Last edited by Myers; 07-16-2017 at 05:13 AM..
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Old 07-16-2017, 02:55 PM
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Looks like the OP has had his fill of all our great advice. And who could blame him?
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:19 PM
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I've actually had dreams of some of the scenes he is in, particularily his death scene.

You know you're a tragic villain when the ghosts of your parents actually join forces with the hero to stop you. Even if they do so for what they believe is for your own good.
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Old 07-16-2017, 09:28 PM
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DwayneA is a powerful ego!

Rock that shit, dude!
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Old 07-16-2017, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by brianpatrick View Post
DwayneA is a powerful ego!

Rock that shit, dude!
Um, what the heck does that mean?
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:17 AM
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It means the force is with you young Jedi.
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Old 07-17-2017, 06:26 AM
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I just had a dream with the ghosts of my parents too!

My dad was telling me about the importance of compound interest -- and my mom said, why don't you ever call me?
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:10 AM
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I've had that dream too. Please ask your parents to stop bothering me.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:50 AM
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Well, okay -- but I hope you paid attention to my dad's lecture on compound interest.

BTW, did he talk to you about whole life vs. term insurance?

Because that's a classic.
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