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Friday, April 1, 2011

The person that creeps you out but you don’t know why.

There is an odd thing that happens when we get around certain types of people. The hair on the back of our neck stands up, our gut tenses or any a number of other things happens. One of my supervisors talks about when he gets around bi polar people his heart speeds up. One of my teacher explains that when she gets around anti-social personalities it makes her feel yucky. It doesn’t always have to be the extremes but when a person starts to act like someone we have had a bad experience with we initially dislike them or when someone acts and looks like someone we have had good experiences with we like them.

So what makes a good villain? It’s the character that creeps us out or makes us feel yucky inside. It’s the character that makes us feel like we have been to a used car dealer and we know we are getting ripped off. These feelings come because of past experiences that we have had with certain types of people and we recognize it because of simple body movements or their words are off just a tiny bit. We feel like something is off with them but can’t quite tell what it is.

The challenge is getting the reader to feel this way even though they can’t see the person. We need to produce characters that are so real that the reader can see, touch, smell, and feel them. We need to make something just a little bit off about the character and be consistent in using it. It needs to be the subconscious that makes the reader uneasy so that it hits her/him at the core.

Tell me about certain times you have been creeped out by a person but don’t know why until later.


  1. I think that some of the scariest villains are the ones you DON'T see coming. It's nice to have subtle cues to warn us off. On the flip side, I love meeting people you just click with, for no understandable reason. ..

  2. In my experiences I've learned that writing a creepy, villainous character is a lot more difficult than say, seeing one in a movie. In a movie the character can do a thousand things, and add music, and in five minutes time we get who the character is. In a book people don't want to read a five page description of what the character is doing. (And we don't have the advantage of sounds.) We also can't just say "Archibald Thatcher was creepy" because that doesn't get the reader creeped out. The trick is doing it with the subtleties and details. Adding information here and there throughout the whole story in their actions and conversations. Now if only I could actually do it. Still working on that.

    So someone from a book I thought is creepy is President Snow in the Hunger Games. The first time Kat meets him I just shivered. (Also there is a character in Elantris. I wish I could remember his name. He has a creepy vibe the whole book and you learn a lot more about him at the end. He's a religious fanatic.)

    From a movie, one of my all time favorite villains is Bison from the recent Street Fighter movie. While I can't really recommend the movie overall, I suggest watching it just for an idea of a really good villain.

    I really didn't mean for the post to end up being this long. Sorry.

  3. I can't describe it. I don't know what it is, but it's like you said, a good author can make your sub conscience tingle a bit and worry about a character. Like Emily said, Pres. Snow gave me the willies...maybe it was the smell of blood...I don't know.

  4. Thanks for the feedback everyone. I agree Emily that as we write about these characters it can't be pages of description, boring, it needs to be given to the reader a little at a time. And you can write as much as you want I enjoy reading the posts and learn from them as well (:

  5. Haha, I know a few good people that make me feel this way although I prob shouldn't mention any names since we both know her and it prob wouldn't be too nice, but that would be a great way to introduce villians, in the sense you think about other people in your own life and how you relate to them being creppy :)


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