Steps to a Story: Designing the Bad Guy

I am at the point where I need to start dropping hints about the antagonist of the story, which means I need to shape his personality a bit.  I know some things about him already.  He’s got some type of fighting background, along with training in military strategy.  This makes me think that he is a non-inheriting son of a minor noble, who was trained to join the Army but ran away before he could be sent to do his familial duty. 

He’s charismatic enough that he’s collected around him a group of bandits that work together rather than for their individual goals. 

He’s got to have a certain level of cruelty and brutality to him, without any hindering compassion.  He is robbing people, raiding villages, and (in all likelihood) taking women for his own enjoyment; not exactly something that suggests a great ability to empathize with people. 

With that description, he sounds like a classic sociopath with narcissistic tendencies, and I feel no need to paint him any other way.  That suits the needs of the story quite well.  In fact, having this defined about him gives me even more fodder for his character; it makes creating his responses to certain scenarios a bit more straightforward.

It’s amazing how taking a few minutes to outline my general impression led me to a clearer big-picture image of the character.  It’s nice when things work out, isn’t it?

Now for a name.  His name is something he created, part of his persona.  I want to include some type of animal in his name, although my personal aversion to stereotyping animals makes it difficult for me to choose one.  A wolf  seems the best choice, since they run in packs and his bandit crew can be called the “wolf pack,” although I really hate adding to the stigma wolves already have.  Perhaps if I have another character temper it with something about “giving wolves a bad name” I can come to terms with it.  I think I’ll leave it simply Wolf for now and change it down the road if another animal seems more fitting.  I’ll also need to find a good descriptor (for a second word, like the Black Panthers or the Night Fox) at some point.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Steps to a Story: I Could Use Your Help! « Butterflies and Dragons

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