A motivation of character

During my day job I tend to talk frequently about motivation. What drives people to do things? How can I improve behaviors? Why do people do what they do?

In my writing time, this is also something front of mind. Instead of applying this to sales, it is in the focus of character.

For the defense of villains and foils, I try to keep in mind the adversary of James Bond. There are some, not fans, who will tell you that the villain is a bad guy. I disagree.

Think of Moonraker’s Hugo Drax. Villian, yes. Bad guy? Well, if you think that the world corporations are destroying the planet, the earth needs to be treated better, and ‘nature’ is in need of help, you have more in common with this villain than you might like to admit. Yes, building an ark from hand chosen humans to repopulate the planet is extreme, I will give you that, but the values of the villain are not ‘bad’.

When Auric Goldfinger, the villain of ‘Goldfinger’ wants to irradiate the US supply of gold with a dirty nuclear bomb, you say, well, that’s bad. But, aside from the greed and thirst for power, consider this - the villain actually has a lot of similar beliefs our good Senator Bernie Sanders proclaims in bringing down the 1%, and evening wealth. Again, Auric goes way too far here, and the ‘even playing field’ is the world outside the US, but is it “bad”?

Even consider the roll of the organized criminal goals of SPECTRE (in the most recent movies). This is an organization that is looking to control and eliminate chaos (not KAOS) from the world. Groups that inspire fear through radicalism, small factions of local war lords, and corrupt governments should be managed by a central faction for the betterment of humanity are at play. We cheer for Bond, for traditional leaders, and a more (small c) conservative government that provide stability and control by the people’s rights. We jeer at the villain who seems to want to take over. Yet the villain is saying, your current system is bad, it’s a misrepresentation, we the elite wise men can do better in looking after you. Is that bad? Being taken care of sounds kind of nice, less to worry about, a clear goal, a common improvement for humanity that removes the capitalist motivations for more (power, money, things)... and we have leadership saying this very thing. 

Keep in mind, we are seeing the story from one view, James Bond. If the story were told from the villain’s point of view, he/she would be the hero. Everyone is the hero of their own story. And you are never the villain. You are never bad.