Updated: Oct 10

This story popped up in my Google News today. 😵 #whatjusthappened I don't care who you are or what your political beliefs are. That's just wrong. I also fail to understand the conspirators' reasoning. Obviously, the Washington Post didn't print all the details, but it seems like quite a leap in logic to go from "the governor is 'controlling the opening of gyms'" to "she's violating the Constitution and we have to violently remove her." It sounds like a bad thriller. And that's an important reminder for writing villains, especially the kind who have grand plans to wreak havoc. It's not good enough to have a villain's motivation be "for the evulz" or (ugh!) "they're crazy." As one of my writing professors drilled into me, you can't hold a crazy person accountable. Think about it: is it really fair to criticize or punish someone who's not in control of their actions? It'd be like charging a person with battery because they smacked someone while having a seizure. In other words, most people have logical explanations for what they do. Villains are no different. We might not personally agree with those explanations (these guys are doing Bad Things, after all). But if from no other perspective than the villain's, their motivation and reasoning have to make sense. As another example, a few years ago I took these notes during a presentation at a film festival:

  • Law of cause and effect: every effect must have an equal or greater cause. If you see a building that's been destroyed, you don't say, "Wow, what a strong ant." 😁

  • Bad: my bad guy is going to blow up a high-rise building because he wants to get rid of the evidence that was in a little wooden box on the fourteenth floor. Huh?

  • Good: my bad guy is going to blow up a high-rise building because almost every filing cabinet in the place is crammed full of paper documentation that could lead to a lifelong prison sentence or even the death penalty.

Remember, even if your villain's reasoning doesn't make sense to a healthy person, it makes sense to the villain. Write your baddies accordingly. Write on, Candice P.S. I've recently been updating my website, including some new services and lots of blog posts from emails you might have missed. Check it out here!

(Thanks to Lukas Denier for sharing their work on Unsplash.)