Blog Fictional villains - The best through history
Who first comes to mind when you think 'villain'? Maybe it's someone you know, a character from a Marvel movie or someone more iconic, timeless, someone from history. We often think of the Spidermans of the world, saving people and making a difference, but for every superhero comes a villain just as well-known. Come with us as we take a look at the very best historical fictional villains in literature.
What is a villain?
The answer to this can be quite subjective depending on the story, scenario or situation, but generally speaking the villain is the antagonist of any storyline. They create the 'challenge' for your lead character and are the main focus or threat posed to a story's protagonist. This can come in the form of getting in the way of what your main character is setting out to achieve, or creating the problem the main character needs to solve.
Why do we need villains?
This stems from the idea of how stories are created and how they develop and form. To write a book you need a goal, objective or something your main character tries to achieve, this is where the villain comes in. Villains often create problems that need to be solved, and voila, your storyline unfolds.
So... What makes a good villain?
Well, this can depend on a lot of things, but ultimately it's similar to what makes a great character in general. Can we understand them? Relate to them? See their motives? A villain always has a backstory, a reason they do what they do and it's important a reader sees these. Anti-villains are a fantastic way of building a connection between a reader and a villain, you can read more about them here. Villains need character and personality, making them unique is a bonus, having a niche and giving them something special can make them stand out from the crowd.
The best fictional villains through history
Personally, I love a good ol' Victorian villain. They've withstood the test of time and remain prominent in literature, feared throughout society and have become the stuff of legend. This era of literature has stood out as a key one in horror writing and is the perfect time to set ye olde' stories in. So without further ado, here are some of my favourite historical villains:
Writing villains can be a really hard task. As humans we don't often relate to them or root for them, so giving them character and personality can be difficult. Twisted Tales is the perfect opportunity to develop this skill by flipping the narrative and practising telling a story from the perspective of a villain. Can you make a reader sympathise with evil? Could you make a reader root for bad?
You can download free teaching resources to help students develop their writing skills on this challenging topic. If you're a young writer looking to develop your own skills, head here to find writing resources and more!
There are prizes up for grabs and work could be published into an anthology full of incredible villainous writing in the Twisted Tales book. Find out more here and how to enter today.Published: Mon 7th Mar 2022