Heroes and villains–they’re of course at opposite end of the spectrum, in terms of characters, but they share more than might be obvious at first glance, and if you’re in the business of writing fiction and creating such characters, it can be useful to think about those things.
Of course, the principal element that heroes and villains have in common is their function in terms of the story: it is their interaction which determines the main action of the plot. At its most basic, it is either that the hero is being specifically targeted by the villain, or the villain has general nefarious plots which the hero sets out to foil.
But a common function in the plot isn’t the only thing these two extreme types of characters share. They are leaders, not followers, and they also share high doses of intelligence, imagination and determination, all of which are neutral qualities to be used for either good or bad. (I’m talking here about major, central heroic or villainous figures, not the minor characters, good and bad, who line up behind them). And I also think of heroes and villains as blowing hot or cold. What I mean by that is that I think major heroes and villains can be each basically divided into two broad sub-categories, Type Hot and Type Cold. Of course these are only very broad generalisations; traits will often bleed into each other. But basically: [Read more…]