This is a collection of 10 character writing prompts about villains. Just as there aren't as many full-fledged heroes written about these days, there are also fewer absolute villains. The line between a villain and an anti-hero has certainly been blurred. A couple of years ago, the animated movie Megamind turned this concept on its head by turning the villain at the beginning of the story to the hero by the end. Comic books and movies in last two decades have made a point to stress that villains are simply heroes who reacted different to their circumstances. We will play with more diluted versions of villains later in the anti-villains category. Here we will stick with the absolutes.
Free Character Writing Prompts #2: Villains
11. He is a powerful wizard who once fought with the side of good. After decades of appearing to love and help the local townsfolk he has gone into hiding and has started to breed an army of evil. He is tall and wiry under his flowing robes and nobody knows his exact age. He was in love once with a woman who was unwilling. Upon turning evil he brainwashed her from afar and she now helps him in his schemes. What are the wizard's dastardly plans and why has he changed his ways?
12. You open up the newspaper one day to find out that one of the largest charity magnates in the world is a complete fraud. The founder of several charities for children has apparently been bilking his own charities for millions of dollars over the past few decades. The man was a frequent guest on television and had an almost Kennedy-like appearance of perfection. He spoke in such a way that everyone would listen to the tune of many charitable donations. Why would a man with so much influence resort to taking money from children and what will he do next?
13. A day after your store refused the protection of the mob, you were thrown into a van and taken to see the kingpin. When your mask is removed, you are surprised to see a housewife, dressed in an apron as if she is about to do some evening baking. She speaks to you just as a mother would and uses this charm in an effort to convince you to pay for said "insurance." When you reach for your pocket, she pulls out a gun and fires it over your shoulder, just to make sure you're playing straight. How did this woman rise to power and why does she keep up the appearance as a housewife?
14. A woman from a small town with big dreams came to the Midwest in search of a calling. After finding a group of nomads in the countryside, she decides to con them by faking a vision of a message from God. The group becomes so infatuated with her ideas that they begin to recruit more to their ranks. Before long, the woman is running a cult of over 50 people. She determines to use her power for personal gain by having them commit petty thievery in the nearby area. Her wide eyes and curly, black hair would make her adorable to most, but she can be vicious if pushed. What started her on this path to cult leadership and what will she do to take the cult to the next level?
15. After a great deal of pestering from your spouse, you decide to visit your neighbor. You ring the doorbell and see what appears to be a sitcom dad from the 1950s looking back at you. He welcomes you in with open arms and a hearty handshake. You tell him you just moved in next store and the man seems to really connect with you, getting you to open up in record time. Just as he's telling you he thinks you'll love it here, you hear a scream from downstairs. The man smiles. What makes the noise downstairs and why has the man decided to keep it downstairs?
16. Before the age of 16, this candidate for the United States presidency had resolved to listen to whatever his mother told him for the rest of his life. He knew that she had influenced him to do some horrible deeds but he kind of liked them. His athletic build and catalogue model looks let him bed whatever women he wanted and his wife was none the wiser. The adultery aside, he had a secret that would completely ruin his political chances. What is the secret and what is his political platform?
17. She was the girl that everyone else adored at Sandy Ridge High School. She was the cheerleading captain, the class president and she had been accepted to Stanford the following year due to her high academic marks. She worried slightly that the web of manipulation she'd created in her school including sleeping with teachers for grades and blackmailing the principal would be difficult to create halfway across the country, but she knew it always just took a little acting and a little planning. When did she start acting deviously and will it continue throughout her life?
18. Her entire life she'd only wanted two things. Power and money and she was willing to do whatever she could for them. Her position of a judge in a corrupt city made her life that much easier. Her salary was already quite high, the hard work at the best law school in the country made that a certainty, but it was the payouts that were the most satisfying to her. It was difficult letting some obvious offenders free, because they made her skin crawl, but most of them were hard workers just like her. Does her family know about her illicit legal dealings?
19. As your blindfold is taken off, you realize that you recognize your captor. While you can't place the name at first, you know that he is some kind of brilliant computer scientist who has been featured on television. He asks you what you know about his weapon and you feign ignorance. He pushes a button on a keypad and pain goes shooting down your spine. He says that he doesn't like to lose and that you wouldn't like to see him lose his cool. What is this man's project and how does he hide his organization from the public?
20. She looked through the crosshairs of the sniper rifle and everything was set up perfectly. She had a pang of loneliness for a second. It was difficult sometimes, traveling around the world alone. Killing and then disappearing without a trace. Her parents never asked her where she'd gotten the money for their swanky retirement home, then again, she didn't stick around long enough to hear the answer. She could have told them she kills bad people for a living, but of course, that would be a lie. What does the future look like for this master assassin?
Bryan Cohen is the author of more than 30 books, many of which focus on creative writing and blasting through that pesky writer's block. His books have sold more than 20,000 copies. You can find him on Google+ and Facebook.