The one thing I hate about early Disney or most stories, is the fact they never give you a story as to why the bad guy is the bad guy. That’s probably I loved the movie Maleficent so much, because it told you the side of the evil ‘witch’ who cursed Sleeping Beauty. You learnt why she did what she did, and in the end the bad guy was no longer as bad as you thought her to be.
Everyone has the potential to be evil. We’ve all had evil thoughts or done something we aren’t proud of… so in a way, we have all been bad people to someone or something at least once. If you haven’t… well good for you for not being human.
With that being said, when I write my villains I try my darnedest to make them relatable.
Not in the fact, you want to root for them… but in the fact that you can understand why they are doing what they are doing. That, at one time, they were regular people like you and me… who decided on the undesirable path. I try to tell their story within the story I’m writing, and not put the generic he/ she’s the villain because of blank. My villain is a villain because they believed their choices were right, or they believed this was the only way, or that doing what they were doing was going to bring around good results.
Anyone in the book could be a victim, hero, or villain. If each story was writing in the view of the villain we would see the hero in a completely different light. We would see the villain as the good guy and the good guy as the villain. Their stories would be switched, and our understanding broadened.
Going back to Maleficent; that movie was fantastic. It showed you her story, and showed you how she did what she had done because that was what she believed was right. She was seeking revenge, and in all means she believed that was right. By the end of the movie, you wanted her to get her revenge, you understood what she had done and no longer saw her as a villain but as a victim/ rebel.
So, as much as books depict black and white… good and bad… it is all right to portray some grey in hopes of deepening your story and characters.
That’s all I’m saying at least.