So, the blog prompts are going to be coming every so often, and I figured I’d give my first whack at this one, even though, as I’ll explain, I can’t really answer this just yet:
In Day of the Dove, Kang isn’t just out to fight the bad old humans. Instead, he listens to reason.
And so our newest prompt asks – how do you write evil characters who are not mere caricatures? Do you find ways to garner sympathy, even for the wicked (or the devil, perhaps?)? Do you surprise your readers by turning a character from good to evil, or evil to good? How grey is the shading?
Bonus questions! 1) Which evil characters have you enjoyed writing the most? 2) Which evil character, created by another author, have you enjoyed reading the most? 3) Which canon evil character do you enjoy watching or reading the most?
So! Evil characters! Because every hero needs a good foil or, even better, a villain.
As of now, my evil characters come down to…zero. I have no actually evil characters. The closest were both featured in “Ghost Ship;” the Devidians (and their leader, the Phantom), and the Hirogen (led by the Beta Gan and Gamma Tunarj).
The Devidians I drew heavily from both their actions in the TNG episode “Time’s Arrow” as well as the enemy group from Star Trek Online (the setting for Rafale – Star Trek Online). Writing them was very easy; they were hunters, but in a different sense from the Hirogen that were also showcased. While the Hirogen had rituals and codes about the glory of The Hunt, the Devidians were interested only in feeding their brood.
The Hirogen found themselves not only with a power vacuum (necessitating the Beta’s rise to the Alpha position on the battleship), but also with a pesky Federation Akira-class that was living up to her sister-ships’ reputation. This made writing the Hirogen fun; they had been featured heavily in VOY, and play a large role in the game once the player begins taking missions in the old Romulan Neutral Zone (now home to the Romulan Republic, a new faction and ally to both the Klingons and the Federation, despite the war between the two). Without going into too many spoilers, the empress opened up much of Romulan space to the Hirogen to hunt in in exchange for their loyalty; thus, why the Hirogen are in the game and in Romulan space. In VOY, we saw a few underlings rise to take their Alpha’s positions: once was because he died fighting an Undine (Species 8472) during a hunt, similar to the situation I created in my story; another, because the Alpha was killed in a coup attempt, again somewhat similar to the situation (the Beta deciding to simply take charge, regardless of his Alpha’s status). They were always, however, portrayed as simply enjoying the sport of hunting, no matter the obstacles their prey made for them. I decided to make this particular Beta, one who had never failed his Alpha, desperate to continue succeeding (thus his repeated attempts to destroy the Rafale). I thought it turned out rather well, and I hope other people enjoyed.
But, still, I don’t have just some Evil Villain to thwart Jessica and the Rafale…
Borderline “villains” in my series currently could be Seymour Sonia and Elaina Seurer. Seurer, the Chief Engineer, was senior to Jessica prior to and during the Battle of Vega; Jessica overstepped Seurer to take command and save her friends, prompting Starfleet to reward her with command of the Rafale. While Seurer was more than happy to continue on as the Chief Engineer, she makes sure Jessica knows who outranks whom, and that her loyalty is to the ship and crew – not Jessica.
Sonia, on the flip side, has no loyalty to the ship or crew. He also outranked Jessica prior to the battle. Unlike Seurer, who did make an attempt to take charge and do something about the state of affairs on the ship, Sonia hid in a Jeffries tube in shock for two weeks after the battle. His act of cowardice – an act which prevented him from being in Engineering and stepping up similarly to Jessica – along with her innocent request to keep him as her Operations officer, has Sonia at odds with her constantly. He is always looking for some way to embarrass Jessica, to prove that she should not be in command. He isn’t make attempts to take command from her and Obruz; he only wants to discredit them so that more “qualified” people (like Seurer) can take the center chair instead.
Are these people evil? Not really (though Sonia is a douchebag). Still, they are fun to write, especially since just like the Devidians and Hirogen offered countering displays of predatory nature, both Sonia and Seurer are displaying different instances of insubordination. One, while willing to be disruptive to Jessica behind closed doors, still does her job as an officer; the other doesn’t care who hears him, he wants the world to know what he really feels about his captain.
As for other people’s villains, I’m afraid my knowledge is limited since I’ve been trying to finish muddling through the Gibraltar series. Right now, my favorite is (and I’m sure this is pretty easy to guess) The Baron. I would kill to be able to think of a villain like that and write him, and he is definitely the favorite villain so far in the series (though *HIDDEN FOR SPOILERS* in “Scorched Earths” is starting to take his place…which pisses me off because I LOVED her character. *sigh*)
Canon evil characters…I dunno. I love Khan obviously (Montalban, original series and movie Khan, not the hack job from STID, though Cumberbatch did a good job with what he was given), and Chang from Undiscovered Country was fun too. I really like Dukat and Weyoun, though I don’t know that Weyoun was ever truly “evil.” Dukat, though, was definitely off his rocker, bat shit, freaking crazy.
I think, once I get some actually evil characters into my fic, I might revisit this. We’ll see. Leave your comments down below, and if you’ve got a question you want me to address, just let me know!