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For the Evulz motivations:

 1 Prime of Perfection, Wed, 6th Feb '13 5:06:18 PM Relationship Status: P.S. I love you
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or felt
In my story, I do wish for the Big Bad's motivations essentially to come down to For the Evulz of it. However, I long decided I didn't want it to be that alone. I'm curious as to what the response to this explanation for their actions are.

They are a misanthrope who feels humanity is, as a whole, an absurd, monstrous, insane, flawed, and so forth race. However, they feel the same about themselves ultimately and just don't care to fight it. They believe that it's ultimately an unbeatable element because it's human nature. Every standard created, every social structure, every single effort to do others is just a facade meant to tame something that can't be tamed. The flaws of every single structure ever made that he can find some way to exploit is proof enough of that to him.

They even reference over to The Frog and Scorpion when questioned on motivations, with them just holding that it's their nature. Plus they really don't hide fact they are a selfish person. They actually believe that the fact that they admit it is what makes them better and what everybody should do to reach his level. Plus there is the added bonus that they find whole being unrepressed and unfettered person who lives without regrets and will find 'any' way to gets what they want to be fun.

Do you feel this is ultimately a well crafted combination to rationalize his motivations for being an asshole? They do have other elements to them, such as them loving animals and being a fan of storytelling. It's a piece of the whole, not the core focus. Plus it's important to the overall theme of the tale & contrasts The Perfectionist heroine.

edited 6th Feb '13 5:09:50 PM by Prime_of_Perfection

"TIS I! NEVER FEAR, SIMON BELMOUNT IS HERE!! THE POWER OF CHRIST IS INFUSED IN MY SPEAR!"
 2 JHM, Thu, 7th Feb '13 11:35:24 AM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
It's a hollow motivation, psychologically speaking. People have reasons to come to such conclusions, and even stronger reasons to come to act on them. While this is a great self-justification for an antagonist to pull out, the kind of people that use that sort of excuse and believe it are almost invariably driven by something deeper than that. Bad philosophies don't make awful people; awful people make bad philosophies. He isn't a bastard because he believes that everyone else is, but it wouldn't be much of a stretch to assume the reverse.

Now, why would someone come to use that kind of philosophical excuse? Misguided retribution for mistreatment, perhaps—the kind of abuse that could make even a normal person an intractable sociopath. Or something less sympathetic: Malignant narcissism, maybe, or pathological sadism. A gratification in the misery of others, in using and discarding them.

In any case, there must be more than that.
Psychology is a subject far too complicated for me to claim to know anything real about it and if I did I wouldn't be able to explain it here.

Just as vague musing though, in my mind there are two main kinds of 'bad guys' in fiction:
  • Twisted, bitter emotional wrecks that on some level seek vengeance on a world that has wronged them. Their empathy has been undermined and overpowered by negative feelings.
  • People who just don't give a fuck. Basically, sociopaths. Their empathy was never undermined because they never had any to begin with.

If you're going for type 1 then I agree with JHM.

Type 2 is different though. You don't need to explain their behaviour in terms of negative feelings, just basically, what's in it for them? There's no real reason for most sociopaths to do things For the Evulz, in fact, it makes most sense to simply blend into society and be nice to people most of the time, because that's how you get what you want in this world. Messing with creatures you have no emotional connection to just isn't that interesting, generally. So you'd need to explain that.

edited 7th Feb '13 1:50:44 PM by Kesteven

 4 JHM, Thu, 7th Feb '13 2:53:31 PM from Neither Here Nor There Relationship Status: I know
Thunder, Perfect Mind
[up] I was actually referring to Type 2 as well. What I was trying to get across is that people who use the "I am evil because man is evil and everyone else is deceiving themselves" line tend to either be much simpler (psychopaths, etc.) or much more complex (violently abused as children, etc.) than their wan pseudo-Nietzschean justifications would indicate. In both cases, outside of a tiny minority of narcissistic whackadoodles who seek to mould others in their image out of vanity—and who are, again, more complicated in their motivations for that very reason—the "be like me" argument is rarely completely sincere, either because of indifference to others (the psychopath) or spite towards them (the rage-driven sociopath).
Does the story call for a psychologically complex villain? I think that's the important question.

If not, then you could get away with a simplier motivation. Maybe he enjoys having the freedom to do evil, maybe he's a villain because he's trying to gain something (tangible or otherwise) and he goes above and beyond in evilness just for fun. Misanthropy is a fine motivation for a simple but not too simple villain but you should probably explain why he thinks this way. Is he a war vet who has seen the worst of humanity? Was he a victim to some other villain? Was he abused as a child? Etc.

 
 6 Prime of Perfection, Fri, 8th Feb '13 3:04:23 AM Relationship Status: P.S. I love you
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or felt
I honestly can't give a yes or no to that question, but for an important reason. I don't see psychology behind people all that complex honestly. People have depth, but nobody is as "complex" as they really think they are.

In this villain's case, their core is that they're an immature Spoiled Brat who has grown up into a Psychopathic Manchild.

They don't have a tragic backstory. Quite the opposite; it was wonderful. They didn't have abusive parents. They didn't have some great pain in their life. They never had to really suffer. All their negative qualities were just reinforced due to a lack of consequences or punishment. They're rich in a culture which allowed them to get away with all sorts of things. They're pretty much in a life of entitlement.

The layer beyond that is the justification they give themselves. They've built it from studying philosophy, observing human history & the world around them, etc. while questioning things and just being incredibly critical. They hold that being selfish is all that human nature is and so that's justification enough for them to do whatever they want too because they're no worse than others for doing it. It's a pretext that they've fortified over time when challenged.

When it comes to whole doing things for "evil", it's a combination of factors. It really started smaller crimes and antics as a whole. Once they got bored with that (or more when they feel stagnation is in play), they escalate it. They get bored again, escalate or change course to new projects, etc. Story beginnings involves them selecting the story's protagonist to intentionally play the antagonist to since they figured a Battle of Wits with them would be unpredictable fun. Any antagonism they do to them is purely because they're playing the role of the villain.

As to why they enjoy being the villain, they generally just find it a fun role to play. Evil Is Cool is one factor why they feel that way. Plus intentionally hamming it up amuses them. They enjoy living without restrictions and trying out everything in life. If someone frowns upon it, that makes it all the more interesting. They're willing to ultimately sample anything just for the experience. Beyond that, willing to do whatever pragmatic thing needs to do to get what they want. They see no point in not doing so; better to live without regret.

To note, while they possess sociopathic traits, they themselves are NOT one. They don't have the core issues sociopaths have which cause that stuff. For instance, they can legitimately connect with others. There are a couple of people who they do, even though they justify it through other logic. They aren't pure kick the dog 24/7 nor do they actually publicize they're more Big Bad side. The Big Bad side they keep hidden because they legitimately want to protect their real life alongside continue to avoid dealing with consequences. That said, they'd back stab any of them if he felt it protects themselves & justify it as self-preservation. They'd feel bad about it too. They'd rather feel bad than get caught.

They can also become a better person if they just weren't so stubborn and grew from their upbringing. They possess possibility to live a more healthy lifestyle, it just requires certain things special for them. What they are ultimately looking for comes down to fulfillment as a whole. Combination of seeking fulfillment whilst picked up unhealthy combination which makes it difficult to grasp it.

Also, this all is important beyond that in relation to the heroine, but that's not important here right now. That there best sums up basics in the most simplest explanation. Complexity is overrated and things should be easy to understand.

edited 8th Feb '13 5:52:34 AM by Prime_of_Perfection

"TIS I! NEVER FEAR, SIMON BELMOUNT IS HERE!! THE POWER OF CHRIST IS INFUSED IN MY SPEAR!"
What are you asking, exactly? It sounds like you have this villain all figured-out.

If you're asking as to whether or not we think this villain will work, then the answer will probably be "it depends on the story".

edited 8th Feb '13 12:42:58 PM by WSM

 
 8 Prime of Perfection, Fri, 8th Feb '13 3:44:11 PM Relationship Status: P.S. I love you
A noble thief is not seen, heard, or felt
If they're logic and reason for pulling For the Evulz actually makes sense, pretty much. I do know how it's generally a trope that's not one shouldn't mess with, so as a given motivation stated by them and all the wrappings around them, does that one seem understandable as a character to others? Do realize falls on execution too, but I more if others feel I have a sturdy foundation with it.
"TIS I! NEVER FEAR, SIMON BELMOUNT IS HERE!! THE POWER OF CHRIST IS INFUSED IN MY SPEAR!"
 9 tsstevens, Fri, 8th Feb '13 5:52:27 PM from Internet, Tasmania Relationship Status: She's holding a very large knife
Researcher
Here's one angle you might like to look at. For the longest time I have been investigating crime, youth crime, and last year I was part of a discussion on the topic. Now to the best of everyone's knowledge the reason why some Teens Are Monsters are because they come from broken homes and they are either lashing out at the community, don't know right from wrong or they were brought up to get off on hurting others. So there's some Freudian Excuse there. However one social worker brought up dealing with young criminals and one of the justifications given for the crimes is "Mum and dad went to prison, the rest of my family have been to prison, it's my time to go." For lack of a better term rather than their friends and family being in prison being justification it was seen as a tragic family tradition.

You might not like to play around with this idea of course but it is something perhaps to think about.
The mark of a good story means not feeling like The Angry Video Game Nerd hearing it.
There's a simple logic/reason for For The Evulz: They want to gets their jollies off, and said jollies require the suffering of others
 
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