Thursday, May 19, 2011

Evil & Villains

It turns out that Book 2 may turn out quite a bit darker than Book 1. That might raise an eyebrow or two among those who have been Beta-reading for me, since Eyes of Stone isn’t exactly fit for children in the first place. Well, guess what? It surprised me, too. I’ve finally gotten around to introducing my villain in my new book, and frankly I’m a little shocked at him. He’s a bad, bad man, and it’s only chapter three. Things can only get worse from here.

I love how my own writing can surprise me, how I can start out with one idea of how the story will go, then watch helplessly as it takes on a life of its own and goes marauding off in a completely new direction.

Writing Levi (new bad guy – one of them, anyway) got me thinking about the definition of ‘evil.’ Personally, I have always defined evil as ‘unmitigated selfishness.’ People who are evil, truly evil, have no concern for anyone else. Every bad thing they do is justified and necessary for realizing their own goals. But there’s more to it than that.

In doing some research on the subject of evil, I came across this: Dr. Michael Stone’s Scale of Evil. I mostly just copied this from his website/Wikipedia (links follow). I thought it was pretty interesting, and perhaps it will be useful to others who are working on their villains.

1. Those who have killed in self-defense, and who do not show traces of psychopathy.

2. Jealous lovers who committed murder, but that although egocentric or immature, are not psychopaths.

3. Willing companions of killers: Aberrant personality, impulse-ridden, with some antisocial traits

4. Those who have killed in self-defense, but had been extremely provocative toward the victim for that to happen.

5. Traumatized, desperate persons who killed abusive relatives or other people, but who show remorse for their crime and are not psychopaths.

6. Impetuous, hotheaded murderers, yet without marked psychopathic traits.

7. Highly narcissistic, but not distinctly psychopathic persons—some with a psychotic core—who kill persons next to them, with jealousy as an underlying motive.

8. Non-psychopathic persons with smoldering rage, who kill when the rage is ignited.

9. Jealous lovers with marked psychopathic features.

10. Killers of people who are “in the way,” such as witnesses. Extremely egocentric, but not distinctly psychopathic.

11. Psychopathic killers of people who are "in the way," such as close friends or even family members.

12. Power-hungry psychopaths who kill when they are "cornered.”

13. Psychopathic murderers with inadequate, rageful personalities, rage being the reason of their killings.

14. Ruthlessly self-centered psychopathic schemers who kill to benefit themselves.

15. Psychopathic cold-blooded spree killers or multiple murderers.

16. Psychopaths committing multiple vicious acts, with repeated acts of extreme violence.

17. Sexually perverse serial murderers: Rape is the primary motive and the victim is killed to hide evidence.

18. Psychopathic torture-murderers, where murder is the primary motive, and the victim is killed after a torture that was not prolonged.

19. Psychopaths driven to terrorism, subjugation, intimidation, and rape, but who stop short of murder.

20. Psychopathic torture-murderers, where torture is the primary motive, but in persons with distinct psychoses (such as schizophrenia).

21. Psychopaths who do not kill their victims, but do subject them to extreme torture.

22. Psychopathic torture-murderers, where torture is the primary motive. In most cases, the crime has a sexual motivating factor.

My villain falls somewhere along the 19-21 range. How about yours?


  1. My villain (even being for a MG - for now - novel) is in the scale of 19-22. He's truly selfish and mean.
    That's an interesting scale, thanks!
    - EEV

  2. I LOVE evil dudes. One of the best descriptions I've read of true evil in a character is The Curious Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde. You must read it (it's short) if you like these kind of characters.

    By the way, I really enjoyed your first three pages. Found very little wrong with it. In fact, most of what I "edited" were just suggestions that you might like better than what you had. I can tell you've put a lot of work into it. It's easy to spot those novels. :) Have you been sending out query's for it?

  3. I don't think I've ever really landed on a definition of "evil," but yours certainly resonates with me!

  4. @Rachel: Yes, I sure have been sending out queries! I have a full with Angry Robot Books, and one partial & one full out with agents. In the meantime, I'm working on my second book and trying to get some short stories published. :D


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