May 7, 2013

On Villains, Part Two

Why do people enjoy a good thriller or mystery? In large part it’s because we want to see the hero vanquish the villain, and while our focus is on the hero, the more threatening the villain, the greater the catharsis when the hero wins out. In order for the story to connect with the reader, however, the villain needs to be believable. In comic books and science fiction, villains can have super powers because we know the good guys have whatever it will take to defeat them. In mysteries, suspense and psychological thrillers, on the other hand, the villain must represent a real, but not over-the-top threat. Too often villains seem to have extraordinary powers––knowing for example where someone will […]