Complex Evil Characters
On Boldly Reading, it was recently asked, how do you write complex evil characters?
More specifically – 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?
- Which evil characters have you enjoyed writing the most?
- Which evil character, created by another author, have you enjoyed reading the most?
- Which canon evil character do you enjoy watching or reading the most?
Like the creation of any other Star Trek fanfiction original characters, the bad guys spring up as needed. Some get more back story than others as they are created, while others receive detail as needed, possibly stretched out over time. I get to know characters, as they begin to move me, and then I feel more comfortable giving them some specifics. They need motivations, and they usually need brakes of some sort. While a lot of people may be good for the sake of being good, I believe that most people aren’t, truly, evil simply for the sake of being evil (perhaps I’m a little optimistic that way).
Hence I think the way I’ll answer this is by listing some of my favorite own evil creatures – I mean, creations, and will comment thereupon.
In Between Days/Interphases
Leah Benson (Mirror)
The prime universe’s official Starfleet rabbi is an alcoholic in the mirror, and kills her lover, Leonora Digiorno, in an alcoholic fit, one of the more meaningless deaths in any of my stories (Fortune).
Christine Chalmers (mirror)
One of Doug‘s old girlfriends, Christine taunts him until he kills Ehigha Ejoigu, thereby committing his fifth murder (Fortune).
Douglas Jay Hayes (Beckett)
It takes a supreme effort of will for this killer to come clean and turn his life around. But until Doug does, he has personally killed fourteen men, is responsible for the death of one woman and has pulled the trigger for countless phaser bank deaths, including being a part of committing genocide on the Xindi people.
Once he comes to the prime universe, he has to rein in his temper, but he never kills again.
Jeremiah Hayes (mirror)
Committed to getting Doug into a good school and nipping any possibility in the bud of his only child becoming a mama’s boy, Jeremiah may or may not be abusing his wife, Lena, as Doug is thrown to the wolves at a young age (Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions).
Another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists, at least Gary confesses his misdeeds, before his death, thereby cracking that case wide open.
Linda Morgan Hudson
As her husband abused and raped their younger daughter, Pamela, Linda did nothing to stop things and, eventually, lets her daughters know that she, too, was abused by Edward Hudson (Saturn Rise).
While liberating the Dachau concentration camp in 1945, Sergeant McCoy participants in firing squads which execute Nazi guards without the benefit of trial, thereby committing a war crime (Day of the Dead). Later, he bears witness against Holocaust deniers.
Cyril Morgan (mirror)
A kindly grandfather in the prime universe, the mirror Cyril commits medical malpractice regularly and participates in the torture deaths of Phlox and Ian (Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses). Later, he attempts to persuade Travis to allow him to let Hoshi die on an operating table, thereby ending her reign of terror (Coveted Commodity) but also killing the unborn Izo.
Jefferson Davis Paxton
Empress Hoshi’s third-born is a whiz at numbers and collects the taxes in the Terran Empire. Arashi is probably the most feared, and is most likely to become a 1984-style tyrant (fortunately, he never comes to power) (Temper).
Empress Hoshi’s youngest, Izo enforces the collections of both taxes and gambling debts from Game Night, and tries unsuccessfully to force Leah Benson to service him (Bread). In an alternate timeline, he bullies Pamela Hudson, but she turns the tables on him (Temper).
This character is something of a village gossip, spouting off homophobic slurs and generally making everyone uncomfortable (Reflections Down a Corridor, Entanglements). Her tongue is so sharp, and her remarks are so cutting, that Ethan Shapiro becomes distraught, and attempts suicide, in part due to her nastiness.
José Torres (mirror)
José, a sweet and gentle giant in the prime universe, is rewarded for a massacre of innocents by being given three women as playthings – Pamela Hudson, Blair Claymore and Karin Bernstein, who he regularly abuses (Temper).
Times of the HG Wells/Multiverse II
This Section 31 operative and Temporal Integrity Commission employee (Dan is a survivalist specialist) alters time for the counter group known as the Perfectionists (Where the Wind Comes Sweepin’ Down the Plain). This eventually all catches up with him, and he commits suicide (Shake Your Body).
A psychopath, Marisol keeps it together for a while, but eventually throws off her assignment to seduce Boris Yarin and begins to blackmail him, threatening to tell his wife everything (Shake Your Body). She also kills Perfectionists operative Anthony Parker in order to keep him quiet (You Mixed-Up Siciliano), and attempts to kill Richard Daniels and Sheilagh Bernstein.
Only evil in Multiverse II, Otra is a Witannen, with symbiotic chavecoi on her head. When they are possessed by evil Chilo, she is pushed to commit bad acts, but she eventually throws off control, and makes an effort to redeem herself.
Colonel Green’s wife is the power behind the throne and is one of the few constants as the Colonel is replaced over and over again in order to appease the Eastern Coalition and make it appear as if everything is just peachy in North America (Multiverse II).
Mostly a puppet of Liesl Green and the Chilo, Jared has no qualms about ratting out the heroes of Multiverse II.
After her death is faked in a shuttle crash on Berren One, Helen performs various missions for the Perfectionists (although she never sullies her hands with murder, like Marisol does), eventually taking over when her father, Milton, goes into hiding in the mirror universe (The Point is Probably Moot).
A misguided philanthropist, Milton thinks he’s doing good by altering history and, allegedly, improving it. But when Parker is killed under his direction, and Otra is kidnapped by his people (Spring Thaw), the Rubicon is crossed. He begins to realize that he is not much better than a mobster (He Stays a Stranger).
The doctor in the Human Unit is cheating on his wife, Darragh Stratton
(Ohio), with Marisol Castillo. When she begins to blackmail him, he ends up murdering her.
This physician helps to cover up Arnis’s crime, in exchange for research funding. When they are both convicted, he goes to prison. He secures an early release by assisting Dr. Trinning with finding a cure for the killer disease, thylacine paramyxovirus (Flight of the Bluebird).
Other Star Trek Fan Fiction Stories
In a fit of rage, precipitated by bullying, this hybrid human-Xindi Reptilian blinds a classmate (D’Storlin).
Victor is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists, but he does his best to redeem himself, for the sake of his marriage.
Dan is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists, and is the ringleader in the group. He is also particularly nasty, rating the women on their looks and presumed sexual prowess, during both kick backs in time (Reflections Down a Corridor, Everybody Knows This is Nowhere).
This tyrant is responsible for the deaths of some 37 million individuals. In Multiverse II, it’s revealed that there have been fourteen separate versions, all trotted out to fool the masses and the Eastern Coalition.
Brooks aids and abets Patti Socorro’s rapists but does not commit the deed himself.
Neil is another one of Patti Socorro’s rapists. Much like Victor Brown, in order to save his marriage, he works hard to make up for his crime.
Sent to a mental institution because he’s seen lizard people and a chick with a ray gun, Loomis pleads his case for sanity, until he’s reminded that a finding of sanity would result in him being put on trial and likely found guilty of battery and murder (Detroit Rock City).
Travis Mayweather (mirror)
A petty thug raised to dizzying heights by Empress Hoshi, Travis commits his own petty and not so petty cruelties, including killing Brian Delacroix and trying to get Deborah Haddon to service him immediately afterwards (Reversal).
Marlena Moreau (Mirror)
Hoshi Sato (mirror)
Probably my favorite of all canon evil characters, because there is so much potential there, Hoshi is the mouse that roared, turned the slut who took over.
From throwing her favors around in order to liven up the gene pool (First Born, Reversal, Temper, Fortune), to demanding that educated people act as exterminators (Brown), to deliberately erasing and rewriting a lover’s suicide note in order to make herself look better (Escape, The Point is Probably Moot), to systematically killing off any threats (Throwing Rocks at Looking Glass Houses), to pushing people into promotions they’re not ready for, and bullying those who fail to meet her standards (Paving Stones Made From Good Intentions), to controlling all aspects of her crew’s personal lives (Temper, The Play at the Plate, The Pivot Point) to, finally, hectoring and bullying and insulting her children while on her death bed (Who Shall Wear the Robe and Crown?), Hoshi has been a delight to write and tease out her rocky future.
Others’ Evil Characters
Give it up for trekfan’s Maria!
I don’t know her as well as I’d like to. After all, there is a great deal of back story to read. But between Chronicles and Multiverse II, Maria is … scary. She’s manipulative, she’s a temptress and she seems to embody everything that hero Hank Harrison wants, but realizes would rip him asunder.
And who doesn’t like that in a villain?
Looking over this post, it feels, a little, as if all I write are killers, rapists, abusers, blackmailers and tyrants. And then I remember, I’ve created over 300 original characters. This list just nicks the surface.
But I hope that these people, like their benevolent, fair, friendly and kind brethren, have a depth and a meaning to the reader. I hope that they feel real.