When I first started writing I had an incredibly difficult time writing evil characters. I just didn’t know what they were supposed to be doing. I understood their purpose on paper but in practice they always turned out rather bland and stood no chance at impressing anyone, much less the hero of the story. I needed an example of a good villain and reading other stories didn’t give me the ability to write ones myself. College changed that though and now almost all of my protagonists now would be considered antagonists by most people’s standards. I’ve grown to enjoy these types of characters more. I realized that my passion lies in writing chaotic characters. The Master from Doctor Who and antihero Deadpool being two great examples. I used to play LARP or Live Action Role Playing which is basically like Dungeons and Dragons except you play outside as your character with a bunch of other nerds. Twice a week I would go into the woods with my friends and basically play pretend. This involved role playing as your character, which you would give a backstory. You play in quests in which you act out what you need to do and use either magic or “swords” to fight monsters. Most people would have more than one character they would play, but I only had one and her name was Atro Song and her alignment (Morality) was chaotic neutral/ evil. She was out of control in- game and I loved every second of it. I never had to second guess myself while playing this character. She might have acted as if she didn’t know what she was doing, but her purpose was clear. Acting a certain way without purpose was one way to make LARP boring, so I always made sure Atro had a drive or purpose behind her actions, despite their chaotic nature. Role playing as an evil character helped me write villains better. It helped me write and understand their purpose and actions.
One of my favorite Atro stories was during a weekend long event. She and had just been infected by a plant monster’s poison and was slowly transforming into one herself. Her betrothed was obviously less than pleased about this since most of the other characters simply wanted to kill Atro. He was keeping his distance from her in order to talk everyone else out of destroying her. Feeling abandoned she walked into the woods and decided to take out her energy on insulting the moon. After the end of a long diatribe, Atro finished by challenging the moon to an honor duel. Now, normally screaming at the moon wouldn’t make anything happen other than just looking really dumb. However, I/ Atro had spent the last twenty minutes screaming nonstop at the sky and my reward was the moon sending down one’s of its best knights to fight her one on one. Atro isn’t a fighter because I’m not coordinated at all. Fighting with foam swords isn’t as easy as it looks. Imagine the most uncomfortable pillow fight of your life. However, after fifteen minutes of fighting a lunar knight, during which both my friend and I started to become sweaty and gross, I won. Now, upon Atro’s Victory we were taken to the moon court and given the title “Sailor Phoenix” (yes, just like Sailor Moon but with birds) and given a crown that gives Atro back all of her skills once a quest. Coming back from the woods with a crown and a new title from seemingly nowhere led many people to shake their head and say “classic Atro”.
The point is while you are writing, don’t be afraid to do something unexpected. Chaotic, seemingly insane characters are fun, but you have to make sure they still have a purpose or drive behind their actions. This is also a plug to try something new and different in your life. Before I decided to LARP I was very shy and had an incredibly difficult time speaking to anyone. After spending some time playing a character you grow a bit more confident in yourself. Maybe LARP isn’t for you, but there’s something out there waiting for you and it will not doubt make you a better writer.


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