Reader Friday: Anatomy and Physiology of Villains


Course: Villains 300, Anatomy and Physiology Lab

Over the past couple weeks, we’ve had two excellent discussions that can help us with crafting more interesting and complex villains. Debbie described the villain’s journey. And Sue discussed the three dimensions of creating characters. So, I thought today would be a good day to apply and reinforce what we’ve learned.

In high school and college biology courses, there are two components: the lectures and book work, and the laboratory sessions (labs) for exploratory, hands-on learning. In biology, we have anatomy (the structure of the organisms) and physiology (how they function).

Debbie’s look at the Villain’s Journey is the physiology of the villain, how the villain has functioned. And Sue’s look at the three dimensions of character is the anatomy of the character.

Today is lab day, so let’s study and dissect some villains.

  1. Pick a villain (one). One of your own villains. Or a villain (created by another writer) that you have found complex and interesting. Or create your own new villain. N.B. Any new character you create and publish here is yours. You maintain the copyright. No one else may use your creation.
  2. Study the physiology, the live function, the journey, of the villain.
  3. Study the anatomy, the 3-D layers, of the villain. Yes, you must euthanize your specimen. We will provide chemicals for a painless, humane demise.
  4. Report your findings to your colleagues (that would be the rest of us, here at TKZ) today. Give us a concise report on the journey and 3-D anatomy of your specimen (I mean villain).

10 thoughts on “Reader Friday: Anatomy and Physiology of Villains

  1. Steve, you didn’t warn us there was gonna be a test! I forgot to study…The dog ate my homework…My car broke down on the way to school…

    Seriously, thanks for the kind mention and for a fresh way of looking at villains.

    Most of my villains are physically very attractive people. They use their good looks and charm to get what they want. When they don’t get what they want, their ugly traits come out in actions as well as appearance. Under pressure, one gorgeous ex-wife develops unsightly hives that horrify her b/c they spoil her facade. Hives reveal her guilt feelings for her behavior.

    Doctor, the chemicals you provided weren’t strong enough. When I tried to dissect her, she leapt off the table and attacked me with her long, lacquered fingernails. Now I have to clean the scratches on my face so I can’t complete the rest of today’s assignment 😉

    • That was great, Debbie

      I think I recognize your villain as an ex-wife of your MC’s husband. And a terrific look at the journey. The next time, for the anesthetic to allow us to dissect, maybe we can get some fentanyl. That is used regularly for anesthesia for colonoscopy. We’ll get a really good look at the inside.

      Thanks for participating today. I should have given warning that a test was coming. I think this post has taught me that I need to keep it short and sweat.

      Have a good weekend!

  2. Good morning, Steve.

    I’ll pick my villain, Kai Jones, alias “Mutter,” from Empowered: Agent
    Lanky, six foot, thirty-something. Has dark blond hair with a bang that drops low over his eyes. He has a prominent nose, and a smile like switch blade. He dresses in expensive well-tailored, very fashionable suits.

    Mutter believes it’s all about himself. As one of the Empowered, he possesses a super human, paranormal ability. In his case, the ability to control air currents. He can asphyxiate a victim by keeping the air from entering nose and mouth. He can also project his whisper via manipulated air currents to the ear of someone some distance away. Like all Empowered, his skin tingles when another Empowered is in the vicinity.

    He leads a cell for the Scourge, a rogue Empowered criminal organization bent on changing the world, but Mutter is only interested in gaining power for himself. He is a narcissistic sociopath with strong psychopathic behavior tendencies who will murder at the drop of hat, as well as betray others if it suits him. He leads the cell that my hero, Mathilda Brandt, must infiltrate.

    • Wow, Dale. You get an A+. The anatomy and physiology was well described. You have clinical data worthy of publishing in a professional journal. And this description should be a good marketing tool. Hopefully it will move someone to read your book.

      Great review. Have a good weekend, and good luck with your post tomorrow!

  3. “Oh, goodie,” she said as she rubbed her hands together in glee. “An experiment!”

    Stan the Villain arrived at the appointed time. Tan and fit with shaved head and a dimpled smile. Very attractive.
    “How tall are you?” she asked.
    “Six feet even.”
    “Perfect. Climb up on the examination table and we’ll take a look.”
    “Will this hurt?”
    She cackled. “Not at all. I use only the latest laser technology. No messy scalpels.”

    She strapped him in place and laser-opened his brain. There was a big lump in the hypothalamus. Lust for another man’s wife. “Tsk-tsk,” she whispered. The medial prefrontal cortex area for Self-control looked a little shrunken, like it hadn’t been used much lately.
    There was a bruise in the prefrontal cortex that leaked out Greed. But when she looked closer, she noticed there was a lesion labeled Unfairness behind it. She nodded. He thinks he was unfairly cheated in life, and he’s going to get even by whatever means he can.

    Finally, she checked the cerebella-parietal region for intelligence. Blood flow to that region was blocked by the overabundance of emotion in other parts of the brain. No wonder he killed the wrong man and stole his watch.

    She thought about making some surgical corrections, but decided against it. Spending the rest of his life in prison will probably do the trick.

    • Wonderful, Kay. Excellent dissection. I see you called in your neurosurgeon colleague for a consultation. And I think I might recognize your villain.

      Maybe the next time we can provide better anesthesia for cutting through the skull. The only other suggestion might be to implant a micro quartz time keeper in his temporal lobe so that he would have not need to steal another watch.

      Have a great time this weekend!

  4. This is too much work for a Friday morning and too close to being a busman’s holiday for me. But I can recommend a fun journey watching someone start as an inhuman monster to become an almost human villain to an antihero to a reluctant and selfish hero.

    Harry is an alien sent to Earth to drop a bomb that will wipe out all humans, but his ship crashes, and he loses his bomb. Seeking shelter, he accidentally kills a doctor who lives in Patience, Colorado, takes his form, and the jumble of human emotions and desires he hasn’t a clue about.

    The show is ALIEN RESIDENT on the SyFy Channel, and it’s a comedy about the human condition from the eyes of an alien trying to fit in while trying to find that bomb to end everyone. Also, pizza and LAW & ORDER. Season 2 is almost over.

    • Wonderful, Marilynn. Excellent description of the villain’s journey. I thought you were creating a new creature until your last paragraph. And that was one of the choices for the assignment.

      I agree that this was too difficult an exercise for a Friday. I’ve learned my lesson.

      Thanks for participating, and for the tip on ALIEN RESIDENT.

      I hope the remainder of the weekend is easier.

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