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January 23rd, 2012 (1:32 AM).
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: The Brilliant Stars Above
No matter the motive, be it greed or personal quests that take precedence over the well-being of others, depth is key. Just as I'm not for the whole "White Knight" thing for a protagonist (flaws and even some selfish or less virtuous behavior can keep a hero more "real" to me), I don't like to to see an antagonist dehumanized by complete lack of positive attributes. For instance if the evil-doer is a fallen character, or someone with good motives but fairly bad methods of achieving them. In keeping them both more or less people than symbols, they can be identified with, and identify with each other as well, opening more avenues for conflict in the story (character development too, woohoo!).
Back-story's always great too. If it's going to be a fairly good-sized read, little bits and pieces about the antagonist that come to light throughout while leaving some mystery kinda help flesh him/her out and draw me in. Overall, while the baddie is too often just something for the reader to rally against in an effort to get you closer to the good guy, a well designed villain makes a story so much more than a chance for the hero to do something heroic.
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