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I need help creating a Mad Scientist antagonist.:

 1 Connor Bible, Thu, 8th Dec '11 4:37:07 PM from Port Royal, SC
Southern Style Scribe
Well, I wouldn't call him mad... just peculiar and possessing strange morals that make sense only to him. He lives in a shitty urban future straight out of Blade Runner where people alter themselves through genetic engineering, cybernetics, and the like. He's the head of the Prometheus Corporation's Anthro Division, which is quite a feat, considering he's barely out of his twenties. His appearance is Aryan, unusually handsome, a testament to the power of genetic redesigning. He looks a lot like James Spader from Pretty in Pink, but he has a couple of interesting characteristics that distinguish him from Blaine. For one, he wears a high-tech patch over his disfigured right eye, and most disturbingly, a tattoo across his entire back of Pangea. You see, he's got a plan. I don't know the details of it, but a key factor is a subsection of the Division consisting of "runners": unusually perfect teens who run "errands" for him. And a depressed, angsty girl who looks like Molly Ringwald. Disturbingly, of course.

I see his backstory involving a twisted experiment to create the next big genius going horribly wrong and producing, well... him. He's well-read, extremely intelligent, yet also laid back. Whenever there's a complication in his schemes, he always devises a way to do damage control. He loves playing mind games; he finds it to be a form of intellectual exercise, and sometimes, he'd mentally put you in the ringer simply for... inconveniencing him.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is: How do I make him a memorable villain, without him being a Complete Monster? I see him being between Smug Snake and Magnificent Bastard, with shades of Tragic Villain thrown in.

edited 8th Dec '11 4:44:35 PM by ConnorBible

Joining the Team.doc
Have him kidnap Lili from Tekken and turn her into a killer cyborg.

Just an idea.
Teens dress as Batman to catch pedophiles; cops not impressed
 3 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 8:55:50 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
I honestly find the creepiest villains to be soft-spoken philosophical ones ones who display little emotions other than a serene confidence in themselves that is unshakable and commit their crimes intelligently, without remorse, and without consideration of anyone or anything other than themselves and their own amusement.

I guess that would come pretty close to Complete Monster, though. I don't mind them, though. I don't really get this fixation people have on making all their villains an Anti-Villain.

edited 8th Dec '11 9:00:14 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 4 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:01:54 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Well I, at least, consider them much more realistic then the Complete Monster. Not that the latter can't exist - well, strictly speaking they can't as it's a purely fictional trope, but I do believe there are irredeemably evil people out there - but the Anti-Villain type is far more likely. Plus, they're more interesting as characters, whereas (as I've said on the clean-up threads), the ideal Complete Monster is really somewhat flat.

edited 8th Dec '11 9:02:41 PM by nrjxll

 5 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:32:08 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
AntiVillains and Complete Monsters have an equal amount of problems attached to them. Badly done Complete Monsters might be flat if they don't change, have some kind of origin or seem to have any kind of humanity (not sympathy or empathy, but like being flesh and blood and prone to the same kind of fallibility and emotional outbursts and frustrations as all humans) at all, but that isn't something inherent in the character-type that makes them bad characters. A lot of Anti-Villains I find to be incredibly annoying. I get the feeling the author is trying to excuse or manipulate me into seeing the villain as sympathetic when they aren't, they're just whiny, selfish assholes going around doing bad things because they have some kind of horrible back story that excuses it, or makes them justified, they have some kind of convoluted justification that makes sense if you don't think about for more than half a second but which we are supposed to buy and feel conflicted about. Any failure on either character isn't a result of them being one or the other but the authors own faults as writers.

I don't actually see why a Villain has to have character development anyway. The joker didn't have character development in The Dark Knight and he was an amazing villain. The interest there doesn't come from him developing, but from you as a sane person peering into his distorted mind and trying to understand and failing. He's an enigma that you're supposed to try to figure out rather than the type of character that needs to come into his own for some reason. (I also don't see why every story has to be about 'coming into your own', either, I feel like we have way to many Bildungsroman in Fantasy these days. I'd like to see a good "learning to get along with each other" type book, or "recovering from tragedy" type thing.)

edited 8th Dec '11 9:40:09 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 6 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:42:45 PM Relationship Status: Not war
By "Anti-Villain", I basically mean a villain with shades of gray. They don't have to be sympathetic or even likable, just more than flat-out evil. And a Complete Monster in the sense of the trope really would be kind of flat in that every bit of depth added to them beyond "evil" makes it more likely that they'd have some kind of redeeming feature. A Complete Monster can make an excellent scary antagonist, but there's not a lot that can really be well-rounded. A character with lots of personality traits that all paint him as a soulless fiend still doesn't seem that well-rounded to me.

 7 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:48:51 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
I don't think "well-rounded" is synonymous with "effective character". I don't think a character has to be well-rounded to be good, nor are all well-rounded characters good.

edited 8th Dec '11 9:49:17 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 8 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 9:53:03 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I approach fiction as if it was real life, therefore characters should be like real people, even if we don't get to see every (or most) sides of their personality. So I do tend to think of well-rounded characters as good, yes. "Good" characters are not the same thing as "likable" characters, of course.

Rabid Fujoshi
I think the best character is effective for the task. Making them more sympathetic doesn't necessarily increase their effectiveness in a given situation.
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 10 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:35:12 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Again, a character does not have to be sympathetic to be well-rounded. I don't know where you're getting this thing about sympathy from - I never advocated it.

 11 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:41:53 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
Have good qualities then. I feel making them have good qualities inherently makes them more sympathetic.
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 12 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:42:46 PM Relationship Status: Not war
That seems to contrast with this:

A lot of Anti-Villains I find to be incredibly annoying. I get the feeling the author is trying to excuse or manipulate me into seeing the villain as sympathetic when they aren't, they're just whiny, selfish assholes going around doing bad things because they have some kind of horrible back story that excuses it, or makes them justified, they have some kind of convoluted justification that makes sense if you don't think about for more than half a second but which we are supposed to buy and feel conflicted about. Any failure on either character isn't a result of them being one or the other but the authors own faults as writers.

 13 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:49:19 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
Sympathetic in the sense that they are portrayed as more sympathetic, not in that the audience necessarily feels actual sympathy for them to do this. Like I said, I rarely do. If that's what your asking. I don't really see where the conflict is, if that isn't what you mean.

edited 8th Dec '11 10:50:52 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 14 nrjxll, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:50:30 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I'm saying that a character having any sort of good qualities does not automatically mean that they are even supposed to be sympathetic.

 15 Noir Grimoir, Thu, 8th Dec '11 10:52:37 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
For certain good traits I feel they automatically give that impression regardless of the authors intention. Having a dog which they treat as a beloved pet, in contrast to their usual habits regarding people, for instance.
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 16 Te Chameleon, Fri, 9th Dec '11 1:28:37 AM from Alberta, Canada
Irritable Reptilian
To actually attempt to answer the question, I'd say you already have most of the building blocks you need for a memorable villain. The way I'd write it is to play up the Blue and Orange Morality to the hilt. Have him genuinely not understand why someone wouldn't want fruit fly DNA grafted to them and cause horrific mutations (For Science!!, of course), and get sad and upset that ther unwashed masses don't want his 'gifts', and maybe take his intellectual pleasure in the battles of will and wit he engages in one step further, to considering them a wonderful game.

A Well-Intentioned Extremist who is also insane to the point of being completely alien, and a Chessmaster to boot, could make for a fascinating antagonist.

edited 9th Dec '11 1:30:31 AM by TeChameleon

 17 JHM, Fri, 9th Dec '11 9:59:45 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
@Noir & nrjxll: There is a middle ground here...

I honestly find the creepiest villains to be soft-spoken philosophical ones ones who display little emotions other than a serene confidence in themselves that is unshakable and commit their crimes intelligently, without remorse, and without consideration of anyone or anything other than themselves and their own amusement.

Part of the reason such characters are unsettling is that, while plausible, they are rare. They exist, here and there, but meeting such a person is rather unlikely, and thankfully so. Hence, having such a character as an antagonist immediately increases the tension on some level.

On the other hand, having a more understandable antagonist creates an entirely different sort of tension: Where a wholly detached, heartless enemy is one easily dismissed where it comes to intent, one with motives that, under different circumstances, the reader or even the protagonist could find entirely reasonable makes the prospect of defeating such a person... strangely undesirable.
 18 Noir Grimoir, Fri, 9th Dec '11 6:34:29 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
I can see the value in 'well-rounded' villains, as nrjxll put it. I just think they are entirely overrated. People seem to think all villains should be that way, and I don't see why they should be or believe that type always makes a better villain. It really depends on the type of story you're trying to tell which villain is preferable, really.

I think some of the best stories have more than one type of villain. They have a villain that's more of a Shadow Archetype, maybe related to the hero (villains who are family bring a lot of tension to a story), one that's a Well-Intentioned Extremist and one that's more of a Complete Monster.

edited 9th Dec '11 6:39:55 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 19 nrjxll, Fri, 9th Dec '11 6:44:15 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I think all characters should at least be thought of as well-rounded, even if you don't show i, not just villains. I don't like having anything in a work exist solely for out-of-universe reasons, but especially not characters.

I should be clear this is more my attitude towards my personal writings then towards others. To my own works, I am extremely Watsonian, but I'm more balanced for others'.

A mixture of types of villains can be fun, though. Certainly I rarely write stories with just one antagonist.

 20 Noir Grimoir, Fri, 9th Dec '11 6:50:25 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
[up]I'd like to hear what you think of Johann Leibert

edited 9th Dec '11 6:50:47 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 21 nrjxll, Fri, 9th Dec '11 6:51:13 PM Relationship Status: Not war
Can't offer an opinion without familiarity with the work.

 22 Noir Grimoir, Fri, 9th Dec '11 6:56:15 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
You're probably busy but, should you ever have time, you should take a gander at watching Monster. It's on Hulu.

edited 9th Dec '11 6:56:25 PM by NoirGrimoir

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 23 USAF713, Fri, 9th Dec '11 7:01:26 PM from the United States
I changed accounts.
Bleh... it's not that hard to make scientists unsympathetic as villains. Hand them a For Science!! motive and have them disregard silly things like "ethics" and "morality."

Take with grain of salt, as I am biased here...
I am now known as Flyboy.
 24 nrjxll, Fri, 9th Dec '11 7:02:48 PM Relationship Status: Not war
I don't think there are a lot of people out there who object to that kind of thing being portrayed as bad. The problem is more that it's cliche.

Then again, it is a mad scientist.

 25 Noir Grimoir, Fri, 9th Dec '11 7:05:13 PM from San Diego, CA
Rabid Fujoshi
It is very cliche. I agree, it's pretty over done. The character would be the opposite of memorable.

I say give the guy a Right-Hand Cat and make him dote on it. XD (Mostly because I love cats)

edited 9th Dec '11 7:06:01 PM by NoirGrimoir

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Total posts: 26
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