Tag Archives: The Firm

What Makes a Good Bad Guy? Part 2: Turning the “Shadow” into flesh and blood

What’s news for horror writer Paul D. Dail?

Not much since last week (maybe this is why I don’t post more frequently 🙂 )

I submitted a short story to another market I’m excited about. Deadline is end of March. Send out those good thoughts for me.

And finally got started on edits for my next novel.  It’s slow going, but I’m optimistic.

But now, without further ado…

What Makes a Good Bad Guy? Part 2: Turning the “Shadow” into flesh and blood

Image from Flickr Creative Commons

Image from Flickr Creative Commons

In Part One of this article, I discussed the theory that one possible reason so many writers (and readers/viewers, for that matter) enjoy the character of the “bad guy” is because he/she/it represents what Swiss psychologist Carl Jung called the Shadow archetype, our opposite side of the Self we project to others.

However, while the Shadow may be the opposite of the Self, it is not completely alien. A well-crafted villain has to have something to which we can relate. They can’t be the nefarious, mustache-twisting man in black who does evil (read: eee-vul) just for the sake of evil. Well, they can be that villain, but then there’s less internal conflict in the minds of your readers. If you can create a “bad guy” that people actually like, they’re going to have a harder time doing the easy thing: cheering for the hero. Continue reading

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