Today brings a new prompt type (a character–specifically, your antagonist/villain–development prompt) and this one’s got a little bit of a backstory.
When I wrote the original (and I mean the original original) draft of what became the main line of the Epsilon universe (the stories with Aaron Taylor and Caren Flannery), I had put together a really awful villain. The only thing interesting about him was that he was Aaron Taylor’s father and Aaron hated him with every fiber of his being. He was a cardboard cutout of a mustache-twirling villain you see in parodies and bad B-movies. As I matured as a writer (and an individual), I got to thinking: how the hell did Aaron Taylor’s sweet, loving mother end up having her son with a man that turned out to be some kind of monster by the end of my original story? The more I thought about it, the deeper I had to climb into Daniel Taylor’s head–and the more I learned about my “villain.” As it turns out, everything Daniel does is motivated by love.
I had a similar arc in developing the Drilin Imperium for the same universe. The more I explored their history and development and moved away from the simple “evil empire” concept, the more I began to realize what motivated the people at the very highest levels of power and the deepest levels of conspiracy inside of what used to be the Earth Federation. E-Fed was transformed from a Federation of worlds to a shell of its former self because of simple fear.
These types of thought processes bring me to today’s prompt, which is designed to help you develop your antagonists/villains for your own novels and stories.
Prompt Type: Character Development
Prompt: Think about your antagonist/villain and what motivates them. Boil it down to one vice or virtue–love, greed, envy, fear, hope, etc.–that drives what they do.
Now change it up. How would your villain be different if love motivated them? Write a character sketch or scene detailing how love motivates the actions of your antagonist/villain.
Got a suggestion for a prompt? Contact Erin at emklitzke (at) gmail (dot) com.