Loving the broken and repellent.
Why do we care so much for those evil baddies?
Could it be that we recognize the evil in ourselves just under the surface?
Absolution of the worst evil, at least one redeeming quality, something we can identify with. Does it give us hope that we can also be saved?
It’s extremely difficult to write a villain / antagonist that that has nothing within them the populous can identify with.
Even the most horrific characters in fiction have a fan base that adores them.
What is this draw to the unclean?
The urge to redeem - to save - to find something (anything) sympathetic.
Cases in point – pick a legit serial killer and watch his documentary. Cute pictures from childhood, how they volunteered at the ASPCA or a church group. Meanwhile on the weekends they were skinning and eating children.
The human need to redeem ever the highest form of filth is fascinating.
This is why I use my main villain / antagonist to deliver some of the most important meanings within my work. Nothing sticks in the brain better than an excellent bad guy.
I understand the protagonist IS the most important piece of the puzzle. In certain instances you just can’t pile that much dirt on them. Their journey may contain a completely different message or emotion.
ENTER THE ANTI HERO!
My favorite archetype to write, using this beast you can combine the “I don’t give a fuck,” of the bad guy – with the twisted need to do good shit and be loved.
What a journey this guy can take you on.
Don’t be afraid to let the story voice take complete control. Don’t forget to pour that hidden vision into the killer/ monster/ evil alien/ serial killer. They can often be the best catalyst for impact.