My wife convinced me to read the YA trilogy, The Hunger Games and I must say I'm pretty impressed. Being YA books they are a very fast read but the author does a great job of creating a complete world even though the books are unraveling at a breakneck speed.
The villain in the story is both the system and a character named President Snow (who I invariably picture as Newt Gingrich), but it raised interesting questions in my mind as to how books develop.
It is generally accepted that novels have to have a protagonist (hero) and an antagonist (villain) although sometimes the real villain is a system or way of life although that can also be embodied in a specific person.
This was done wonderfully in the Hunger Games books just as J.K. Rowling managed to do in the Harry Potter series. Both President Snow and Voldemort are absolutely evil with no redeeming features, as opposed to a more sophisticated embodiment of evil such as Hannibal Lecter.
In my own books, I have one character in No' Chance, Silas, who is evil and I made no attempts to develop a reason for his evil or gave the reader any sympathy toward him. In Junebug and the Body, there is a villain (I won't give away who it is) that, while they're not evil, they are definitely the bad guy.
In The Bottle Tree, my personal favorite to write, I used a character to embody the racial atmosphere that existed in the Deep South as a way of life at that time.
One of the new books I am working on, in addition to the second book in the Junebug and the second book in the Noah Chance series, is about methamphetamine use and the villain in that book is really the drug and poor choices in life.
What are your thoughts? Is one kind of villain preferable over the others?
I know many of my readers are also writers. If that is you, which type of villain do you prefer reading about and which do you prefer to write about?