Chatterbox: Crowd Sorcery



Note: You have until Monday, July 7, to create a villain in time for voting. Go here to see the schedule.


One of the most effective ways to be sure a story will have conflict that keeps readers breathlessly turning pages is to introduce a villain—someone whose goals collide head-on with the main character’s goals. We fantasy readers can all think of unforgettable villains from our favorite stories, those scary or relentless opponents that make life so difficult for the hero or heroine.

Villains need more than special magical powers to become so memorable that they haunt our imaginations; they also need as much personality and feeling as the hero. In actual life, almost no one ever sets out to become a villain. Perhaps your villain is desperate to protect her homeland, or family, or dragon. Perhaps the villain’s very life is at stake. There must always be a why, a solid reason behind the evil the villain does so that it makes sense—at least to him or her. 

Usually the plot will unfold if you can figure out the relationship of the villain to the main character and what the villain wants. For instance, in thinking about Quill, my heroine who comes out only in moonlight, I might wonder who cast the original spell on her grandmother and why. I’ll imagine it was a monstrous spirit-witch, Gershardt, who lives in a cavern beneath a pool in the forest. Gershardt’s spells can steal someone’s daytime essence, enabling her to take on a human form, leave the pool, and walk about in the world of mortals. But her spell fades over time so she is trying to steal Quill’s nighttime essence, too—although that would make Quill vanish forever.

In my example the stakes are high: the villain wants to continue living in the physical world, and so does the main character—whichever of them loses will disappear!

I might write for my Crowd Sorcery Sentences: “Gnarled hands rose from the water and gripped a tree root, followed by bony arms and a streaming tangle of white hair. Old Gershardt crept from the pool and stood dripping and frosty in the moonlight, blinking into the shadows with her pale blue eyes, chuckling through her toothless mouth.”

When I write, I try to keep in mind that, from the villain’s point of view, he or she is the true main character of the story, and it is the hero or heroine that is in the way. 

  1. 1. Name
  2. 2. Physical appearance
  3. 3. Background
  4. 4. Lair (Hut? Castle? Cave? Ship?)
  5. 5. What is the villain’s goal?
  6. 6. Attitude toward hero
  7. 7. How is the villain stronger than the hero?
  8. 8. How is the villain weak or vulnerable?
  9. 9. Why are the main character and the villain in conflict with each other?
  10. 10. Your Crowd Sorcery Sentence(s)

submitted by Fred Durbin
(April 23, 2014 - 11:54 am)

I think you should call the villain Emrys Sehrli.  It sounds like a good name for a villain to me.

submitted by Hannah D., age 12, U.S.A.
(April 29, 2014 - 4:20 pm)

Don't have much time but...

Cool villian girl name is Grivla. 

submitted by Sweetie, age 10, Can't say
(April 29, 2014 - 6:48 pm)

I think a good name for a villain would be Treksahara.


submitted by Y. M., age 10, Maple Valley, WA
(May 1, 2014 - 12:19 am)

Sounds like Paksahara. Have you read those books?

submitted by Gadzooks
(May 27, 2014 - 7:10 am)

I LOVE the Familiars! When's a FOURTH book coming out?

submitted by Maddie M., age 11, Michigan
(June 29, 2014 - 9:22 am)

You guys have a good taste for books!

submitted by Danielle P., age 10, California
(July 5, 2014 - 11:45 am)

Gadzooks... have you read The Fire Within?

submitted by Quill, age 12, NJ
(May 7, 2017 - 7:19 am)

I've mentioned this character slightly when I was talking about Elspeth and Cerdic on the Hero/Heroine thread, as well as the prompt with the forbidden road.

1. Name


2. Appearance

Blonde hair and thin mustache, in general looks angular.

3. Background

Got sick of plowing field all day and took up alchemy, then left that to be botched by a bunch of incompetent apothecaries and decided to be a knight to the queen.  Then a bit of dragon breath got to him, he assasinated the queen and ran off to hide in a cave that involves lots of torches on the walls.

4. Personality

Crisp and clean.  Thinks everything is either black or white.

5. How is he/she different from others?

Has always wanted to climb a bit higher than he already is.  Never satisfied with himself or anyone else.  This can lead to a lot of executions.

6. What does he/she most desire or hope for?

To rule the world!  And then the galaxy!  And then the universe!  And kill all those incompetent little rats in the process!

7. How is he/she strong?

Doesn't take no for an answer.

8. How is he/she weak or vulnerable?

Thrives on opposition, if someone agrees with him, his brain freezes up and he has no idea what to do with himself.

9. What does he/she fear most?

Fire.  He's trying to cure this with his home, er, cave, decor.  He hasn't touched the wall in five years.

10. Your Crowd Sorcery Sentence(s)

The cauldron cackled and the frogs howled outside.

"Perfect." His Evileness rubbed his hand together, smirking at the man in the moon.

submitted by Gollum
(May 2, 2014 - 3:29 pm)

I was going to make a hero, but before I got a chance to, my bro deleted it. Talk about bad karma. 

Anyways, am I the only boy doing this? 

submitted by Brendan, age 11, Connecticut, USA
(September 17, 2014 - 3:54 pm)

No, Brendan, you're not. I fell the same way as you. Wish there were more boys.

submitted by Eli S, age 12, Philadelphia, PA
(November 6, 2014 - 7:29 pm)

Totally not, Brendan. It's just that the boys mostly name themselves weird things.

submitted by Clay, age 11
(November 8, 2014 - 5:04 pm)

I hope this comes soon :3

submitted by Ashleigh
(May 2, 2014 - 7:23 pm)

The villian should be, like, a little girl who has been betrayed and neglected so much that her magic powers, which are only starting to develop for good, go evil and bersek and swell like a too-large balloon, and she can't control them anymore. At this point they posess her, and she reigns terror on the land without really meaning to. In the end, she IS the villian, but it's not really her fault at all.

submitted by Allison A., age 11, Washington
(May 11, 2014 - 9:54 pm)

That is such a great idea! Sometimes you feel kind of bad for the villain because it really wasn't their fault. Really makes you think. Awesome idea!!!Laughing

submitted by Alice W., California
(July 5, 2014 - 6:42 pm)

I like that idea!

submitted by Redbandit
(July 6, 2014 - 8:03 am)