Villains. Whether they're metaphorical or real, every story has an antagonist or an antagonistic element. Otherwise it's like Seinfeld--a story about nothing. Well, okay, there are those stories, but they usually bore me. I like conflict. I like angst. I like villains a lot.
I know I bring up the subject of YA topics a lot, but I think this spreads beyond that while still being pertinent.
How evil can you/will you go with your "villain"? Does it seem like sometimes that you have to "off" someone to prove your villain is truly evil? Is it to justify killing your villain in the end? Okay, let's play murder by numbers here:
Dream a Little Dream: Serial Killer (12+ body count) Comeuppance- Hero smacks him in the head with a rock-booyah-arrested.
A Little Crazy Talk: Mad Deranged Killer (body count of one) Comeuppance- Hit in the head with a maglight-booyah-arrested.
Someone to Watch over Me: Stalker (proof of abuse) Comeuppance- Suicide
Face of the Phantom: Psycho (attempted murder and assault) Comeuppance-broken face by chick-booyah-arrested.
For in that Sleep: Serial Killer (body count of two) Comeuppance- Nailed in the head with a baseball bat-so satisfying-arrested.
Quality of Justice: Hitman (high body count) Comeuppance- Killed in defense of another.
Parallel Lives: Multiple villains (criminal mischief and body count of one)- Comeuppance-beat to unconsciousness with a garbage can and/or arrested.
Stories and Magic: Multiple villains (attempted murder in the case of two, execution by another, a barrel of hitmen with an unknown body count) Comeuppance-life ruined/sent to rot in a small village jail manned by people who hate you (my favorite comeuppance EVER) and arrested.
Share with me a Lullaby: Multiple villains ( 12+ body count for some ) Comeuppance- killed by other villains or suicide.
My Little Runaway: Multiple villains (body count of one and attempted murder) Comeuppance- tasered and arrested.
Re: Straint: Multiple villains (hitmen with unknown body count) Comeuppance- poisoned or killed by other hitmen or dying slowly from disease
Sheri's Tales: Multiple villains (attempted murder) Comeuppance- killed by crushing them.
I won't go through the Honors (serial killers, skinwalkers, etc) because it would actually be spoilers, but you get the point.
So, Scorched: I've got multiple pyro demons including one sire (criminal mischief and considering the possibility of murder) Comeuppance-banishment to hell. (As you can see--this is a new and exciting comeuppance for me. I even like to say it in a deep voice.)
Still, I find it interesting that all my villains receive their comeuppance in a very satisfying way. Is this a psychological thing--that I need them to be caught and punished in some way? I need it to be "fair?"
Actually--I do. So little of our lives outside of fiction are fair--and I like to see the bad punished and the good win. When I was reading "The Ruins" it left me dissatisfied, because that didn't happen. So, I guess that makes my writing unrealistic, but I don't care. There is something cathartic about everything working out--even if it's not perfectly. I like to see resolution. I love a good comeuppance.
How about you? Spill on your villains... or your favorite villains for the non-writers. What's their body count or infraction? What's their comeuppance? Do you need resolution like I do?
Can evil triumph?
Does a YA book get a different level of villain than an adult book?