Breaking Bad – How to write a villain

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So one of you guys asked me how to write a villain? And that’s an excellent question, So in this video I am going to take on that using the breaking bad series, if there is a step by step guide on how to become a villain, well, It’s breaking bad, from high school teacher to drug lord, from Walter White to Heisenberg.´I am shofar olaguez and this is narratips.


Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey or Hero´s cycle basically establish that there is a comfort zone, something happens, and then the character changes and becomes a better person. The same happens with villains but in an opposite direction. In other words, you write a villain in the same way you write any other character, the difference is that the hero inspires and the villain discourages.


When I am writing a character I often start with his background Walter white is an overqualified high school teacher living in New Mexico. He is a graduate of the California Institute of Technology and a really good chemist. Then he finds out he has lung cancer.


Step number 2 Spine the central idea, motivation, and core of the character Is really important to give a proper spine to your villain because there are a lot of characters that are evil just for the sake of the story, no villain thinks of himself as evil, they think they are doing something good, they believe they are correct, so they tend to justify their actions. So what makes Walter White behaves that way? And a lot of you can say that his motivation is his family or the money but What I think is his real motivation is power. When he found out about his lung cancer and that he was about to die, he realized that there was a lack of power and authority in his life, that’s why at the beginning of the story he didn’t want to treat his cancer, because he wanted to take a decision by himself once in his life. Then he tries cooking meth and discovers that he is pretty good at it, and when you are the best at something you can actually have control over it, so he wants power and selling drugs is providing him that desire. 


But there is a little problem, we have all of this information because he is the protagonist so is the character with more screen time that takes us to number 3 Antagonism  Usually we don´t know that much of an antagonist the public likes to deduce and learn about the characters by their own so keep a little bit of mystery and do not over explain


So what are some of the functions an antagonist has, first of all the antagonist is placed in the story to stop the protagonist from obtaining it´s goal, So every villain should try to stop your protagonist and whether he succeeds or not It’s up to you and the narrative tone of your story, a really important point that I need to mention about antagonism is that not all antagonist are villains, for example, Hank, he isn’t evil but he is an antagonist and a very good one according to Walter´s perspective, what makes him a great antagonist is that as walter evolves as a criminal Hank grows as a DEA agent. This kind of rivalry help the characters arcs, A villain should make your character better. That takes me to Gustavo Fring, in order to make your protagonist smarter, stronger and better you should introduce a Villain that is actually smarter, stronger a someone that is a threat. Gustavo Fring is more professional, Intelligent and has way more power, money and control than Walter White. Walt wants to kill him but at the same time he wants to be like him, Gus produces an active change on the protagonist and the pacing of the story.


Summing Up, Your villain should have a background, a desire, and purpose, and  It should be an obstacle in order of character development.If you enjoyed this video give it a like and share it with your friends, don´t forget to subscribe for more and consider supporting me on patreon. And it’s a cut




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