It’s time for another Collaborative Cliché!

Villains. Here at FanLit, we love villains, especially when they are well-written, nuanced, smart characters. Often, though, villains still fall into the category of flat, stick-figure characters, or worse, the dreaded Evil Overlords. It’s boring to read, and fun to mock.

In this Collaborative Cliché column, we take on the thinly drawn, evil-overlord villain. Let’s look at every stereotypical thing the Big Bads do. We’ll start you off, but please use the Comments to keep us going! Add your favorite eye-rolling dumb villain move.

One random commenter with a USA mailing address will win a book from our Stacks. 

MordorMort’s dark cloak swirled about his shadowy figure as he trod the cold flagstones down the dark hallway, the torches guttering out just before his shadowy form strode past, as if a cold dark wind swirled out before him, its shadowy fingers snuffing the offending light. The creature beside him was dark and baleful, like a black shadow against a dark night, or a dark tree against a black rock, or a dark tree inside the shadow of a black rock under a really dark and very black night. Its claws scrabbled against the cold stone, as if a dark shadow had, for a moment, solidified and scratched some cold stone. Then did it again. And again. Beside him, MordorMort’s footfalls quickened suddenly like feet falling on cold stone, but somewhat faster.

Before him, his master assassin stood. His cloak would have swirled around him but MordorMort had already done that. He bowed. “Great Scarlet Master,” he said, “There has been a child born in a distant village with the mark of the Chev’tte upon his face. Also in that town is the last surviving Knight of the Gray. You know what is prophesied about the mark of Chev’tte.”

The baleful, black, tree-shadow-rock thing at MordorMort’s side hissed, but the Great Scarlet Master shrugged. “He’ll grow up to be the one to kill me, yada yada yada.”

“I shall send an operative to the village to kill the child.”

“Nah, don’t bother. You know what? Go kill the kid’s parents. That’s the ticket. Then he’ll grow up on the street, and he’ll never amount to anything.”

The assassin pinched the bridge of his nose. “Really? Because—”

“Do you quessssstion me?”

“Um, no, your Scarletness, of course not. What about the knight? Shall we kill him?”

“Nah, nothing to worry about. He’s probably just a sad old drunk.”

“But don’t you think—”


The master assassin made a sweeping bow, wondering why powerful forces of darkness hired people like him if they weren’t even going to listen. He also wondered why MordorMort made people call him The Great Scarlet Master when he only ever wore black……

Now it’s your turn! Add to the story in the Comments. You can come back and add as many passages as you like. One commenter with a USA mailing address will get to choose a book from our Stacks.


  • Bill Capossere

    BILL CAPOSSERE, who's been with us since June 2007, lives in Rochester NY, where he is an English adjunct by day and a writer by night. His essays and stories have appeared in Colorado Review, Rosebud, Alaska Quarterly, and other literary journals, along with a few anthologies, and been recognized in the "Notable Essays" section of Best American Essays. His children's work has appeared in several magazines, while his plays have been given stage readings at GEVA Theatre and Bristol Valley Playhouse. When he's not writing, reading, reviewing, or teaching, he can usually be found with his wife and son on the frisbee golf course or the ultimate frisbee field.

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  • Marion Deeds

    Marion Deeds, with us since March, 2011, is the author of the fantasy novella ALUMINUM LEAVES. Her short fiction has appeared in the anthologies BEYOND THE STARS, THE WAND THAT ROCKS THE CRADLE, STRANGE CALIFORNIA, and in Podcastle, The Noyo River Review, Daily Science Fiction and Flash Fiction Online. She’s retired from 35 years in county government, and spends some of her free time volunteering at a second-hand bookstore in her home town.

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