Getting a Great Villain
When you’re talking about amazing fiction books by African American writers, what is it that separates the great books from the no-so-great books. There may be any number of things that make one novel or African American author better than another, but one thing that often separates the two is the villain. Every fiction story needs to have a villain, and many non-fiction works have one as well. But in order to get a wonderful villain in your story you need to have one that your readers love to hate, but also one that they can connect with in some way.
What are some of the great villains that have stuck out in your mind? Darth Vadar is one that many people immediately think of. What makes this villain so much more memorable than all of the other villains that have been created about throughout the years? One reason is because he’s a bit of a mystery. As the story unfolds, George Lucas slowly but surely helps us to realize who Vadar is and what made him become what he is. Another thing that makes him so memorable is his connection with one of the main characters, Luke Skywalker. Would the tale be as much fun to read or watch if Darth Vadar had absolutely no connection to Skywalker? Not likely. The fact that Vadar is Luke’s father is something that keeps him in your mind.
So what does this mean about the villain that you’re working on? It means that you need to make him much more than just a cruel guy or girl who goes around destroying things. While you’ll find African American writers who create characters like this, you’ll also find that their works are not as popular as they could be. Why? Because their villain isn’t relatable. One of the biggest problems in the movie Avatar, for instance, is the fact that no one understands why the main villain of the story, Colonel Miles Quaritch, is the way he is. He simply wants to destroy the Na’vi and we don’t know why.
When you’re working on your villain, make sure that he or she is relatable. Make sure that the reader is able to understand why the villain does the things that he or she does. Even if the reader doesn’t agree with the why, a reader will always remember the villain written by African American authors who is relatable.