The Villain’s Journey

How to Craft a Worthy Adversary to Your Hero

Much is known about the hero’s journey and about the characteristics of an effective hero in storytelling. Villains, however, remain far less understood. The purpose of this seminar is to shed light on effective villainy and to describe the many ways that a properly constructed villain can enhance heroic stories. This seminar will focus on “The Evil Eight” traits of a good villain and will compare them to “The Great Eight” traits of a good hero. The arc of the villain’s journey will be explored, and comparisons to various hero’s journey arcs will be made. Comparisons between heroes and villains will reveal some surprising overlap in their characteristics and in their storytelling arcs. Whereas heroes transform, villains either fail to transform or they transform in a dark manner. The seminar will conclude with a checklist of “do’s” and “don’ts” in the construction of villains in literature.

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Dr. Scott T. Allison

Scott T. Allison has authored numerous books, including ‘Heroes’ and ‘Heroic Leadership’. He is Professor of Psychology at the University of Richmond where he has published extensively on heroism and leadership. His other books include Reel Heroes, Conceptions of Leadership, Frontiers in Spiritual Leadership, Heroic Humility, and the Handbook of Heroism. His work has appeared in USA Today, National Public Radio, the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate Magazine, MSNBC, CBS, Psychology Today, and the Christian Science Monitor. He has received Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award and the Virginia Council of Higher Education’s Outstanding Faculty Award.