Writing Unsympathetic Villains: Crafting Scarier Antagonists
Pop culture is full of villains with redemption stories: everyone from Disney villains to the darkest Young Adult antagonists seem to get a prequel or flashback explaining what made them “bad.” But what about when villains have no redemptive excuses, how do you write believable, scary villains for your heroes without making them one dimensional? In this session, we’ll talk about motivations for irredeemable villains, the choice to use this type of antagonist and what kinds of stories they work well in, and how to make them believable without going over the top.
Based in Salem, Massachusetts, Matt Phillion is the author of The Indestructibles YA superhero novel series, its spinoff Echo and the Sea, and the Dungeon Crawlers fantasy novellas. A former filmmaker, Phillion wrote and directed the award-winning independent film Certainly Never and served as lead writer for the opioid awareness stage play Stories of Substance, produced in collaboration between the Salem Athenaeum and the YMCA of the North Shore.