In my last post, I shared a unique way to develop characters using a simple 5-line poem called a cinquain. It’s a focused, concentrated exercise for discovering character traits and motivation. This week, let’s stretch the imagination by creating a resume for your villain. I’m not talking about his or her education or work history. Rather, their ability to be evil. Think devious and calculated. You can be as serious or as wacky as you like. Personally, I have more fun with the wacky. Here’s my spin on horror for a character named Victoria Frankenstein.
VICTORIA ALBERTA FRANKENSTEIN 666 Mary Shelly Lane Prometheus, TX 77666 Home: 666-666-6666 ▪ Cell: 999-999-9999 ▪ email@example.com
Goth Girl Looking to Exercise Skills as Evil Genius
Highlights of Qualifications
As a child in Grandfather Frankenstein’s castle, I knew I was destined to follow in his footsteps. I conducted my first experiment on the neighborhood children by conditioning them to crow like a rooster when the noon bell rang.
PHD in Villainy Major in Atrocities Minored in Fiendishness
Igor's College of Anatomical Mischief Located in Dead Man's Village 5/2010
Top of the class in phlebotomy, amputations, and lobotomy
Proficient at performing humpectomies on lab assistants
Medical Lab Technician
Body Parts R Us, Middle of Nowhere, TX, 1/2003–Present
Responsible for cleaning test tubes and beakers. Feeding lab rats, creatures in dungeon, and people when occasion calls for it. Polish microscopes. Dispose of leftover bodily fluids.
Excel at bloodletting and proper leech placement. Execute an amputation in less than eight minutes.
Licenses / Certifications
Who needs 'em
Honors / Awards
Member of the AMA (American Monsters Association)
This is a bit extreme, silly even. So, if this is too much, tone it down, but keep your goal in mind—learning more about your villain. Perhaps the education, or lack thereof, contributes to motivation. Does she feel inadequate without that college degree? Or does she feel superior because of the doctorate she earned? Even in this, a deeper motivation can be culled out. Yes, she earned her doctorate, but did she work as a stripper to pay for it? Or was she born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, and mummy and daddy bribed the admissions board and paid off her professors and instructors along the way?
There’s a lot a resume can tell you about your villain. If his Objective reads like this: Seeking an entry-level position to begin my career as an international arms dealer, well, you may have a megalomaniac on your hands. Now that would be a villainous resume.