How to avoid writing a Smug Snake?:

Total posts: [10]
1 Lunacorva5th Apr 2012 04:45:52 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
Okay, I've got a villain in mind that I want to try and make into a Magnificent Bastard while avoiding Smug Snake.

The villain Reyn, can best be described as "dolphinlike" in terms of personality: he is playful, inquisitive, friendly, extremely intelligent and perfectly willing to brutally murder someone just for the fun of it. Reyn's motivation is merely to have fun, but because he's a Sociopath, he does horrible, HORRIBLE things to people for his entertainment. However looking deeper, his ultimate goal, is to find someone who can BEAT him. Reyn always targets powerful people, both because it's more challenging to break them and because he wants to see if they are TRULY strong. Reyn will take the strongest man in the country and psychologically torture him until the man is broken on the floor. But what Reyn really want's is for the broken man to GET BACK UP. To overcome the odds and rise greater than ever before. Reyn finds every victory hollow, because he always has to kill the opponent when their beaten. And Reyn considers that akin to snapping your favourite game disc in half because it had a glitch ( a useless waste). So he hopes to find the one person strong enough to beat him.

Other than that, Reyn tends to be very laidback and cheerful. He has no enemies, only opponents and he sees everyone as a Worthy Opponent (even if some of them must be sacrificed in order to screw with the current opponent). Reyn is also very mischievous and enjoys getting under peoples skin just to laugh at their reaction. Meaning he's also quite the Deadpan Snarker. Reyn values good sportsmanship in everything and maintains a cool head even when he loses

"That. Was. AWESOME. Can't wait for the rematch" he never Rage Quits, although he often uses Xanatosgambits to turn a loss into a win.

Unfortunately, I'm worried that this sounds like a Smug Snake, so any thoughts? Any way to make him less of a Smug Snake.

The point to the Smug Snake is lacking the Magnificent Bastard's charm and grace, as well as being inept in comparison to more competent villains. Based on your description, he doesn't particularly seem like either trope.

Note that Magnificent Bastard is a highly subjective trope in and of itself and is hard to pull off at all- that's why we have a So You Want To Page on the topic. We can't exactly tell from this profile if you've succeeded with this, and in this age where trying to hit a specific trope is frowned upon, I doubt trying to hit such a difficult trope is going to be worth the effort.
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
Welcome, traveller, welcome to Omsk
From the profile, he sounds like a good and interesting villain. I'd suggest writing him the way you want him and not worry too much about avoiding a certain trope. (Besides, he doesn't sound particularly like Smug Snake's description.)
It does not matter who I am. What matters is, who will you become? - motto of Omsk Bird
4 nrjxll5th Apr 2012 03:20:36 PM , Relationship Status: Not war
I don't see what's wrong with a Smug Snake in the first place. I like "hissable" villains.
5 JHM5th Apr 2012 04:32:17 PM from Neither Here Nor There , Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] As do I.

Also, a smug snake is not by necessity incompetent; rather, they are simply very snide, very selfish and very, very... sleazy.
Pronounced YAK-you-luss
You've got several options.

  • Make him funny. This guy sounds like he's ripe for comedy.
  • Give him some Pet the Dog moments. Guy sounds like he's got a rudimentary code of honour, which could prevent the audience from finding him too loathsome.
  • Don't let him get overconfident. The Smug Snake is a villain well known for having their mouth write cheques that the rest of them can't cash. A Graceful Loser with a realistic estimation of his own abilities is unlikely to be a Smug Snake.

Of course, this assumes that you want him to be likeable. He is, after all, a villain, and the audience generally isn't supposed to be siding with those over the heroes.
What's precedent ever done for us?
7 EnemyMayan6th Apr 2012 07:43:35 AM from A van down by the river
I'd take the third part of laculus' advice a bit further and say:

Don't let him be a braggart. One of the main things about a Smug Snake is that, well, he's smug. A condescending or gloating attitude is going to make the audience view him as a Smug Snake regardless of how competent or entertaining he might otherwise be.

Take Tyler from Revenge as an example. He was well-written, had carefully plotted and well-orchestrated schemes, and was even occasionally funny. But he was also a fucking asshole. I'm not necessarily saying that Reyn should be a nice guy — I mean, he's a villain, so some cruelty is to be expected — but make it more a shocking, Complete Monster-type brutality rather than a "Neener neener, I win" kind of attitude.
Jesus saves. Gretzky steals, he scores!
8 Lunacorva7th Apr 2012 05:47:47 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!

edited 7th Sep '12 9:20:23 AM by Lunacorva

9 Lunacorva7th Apr 2012 06:53:29 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!

edited 7th Sep '12 9:19:22 AM by Lunacorva

10 Lunacorva7th Apr 2012 07:31:00 AM , Relationship Status: THIS CONCEPT OF 'WUV' CONFUSES AND INFURIATES US!
deleted for spoilers

edited 7th Sep '12 9:18:42 AM by Lunacorva

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Total posts: 10