From lago in Shakespeare’s Othello to Darth Vader in the Star Wars franchise, some of literature and cinema’s most dynamic characters are villains. According to a 2020 research paper published in the journal Psychological Science, people may find fictional villains surprisingly likable because they identify with them. Fiction can act as a cognitive safety net, say researchers, allowing readers and viewers to compare themselves to a villainous character and engage with dark aspects of their personalities without questioning their morals. Who are some of your favorite villains? This week consider your dark side and write a story centered around a sympathetic antihero. Try to create a compelling backstory that connects and attracts readers to your character.
Find details about every creative writing competition—including poetry contests, short story competitions, essay contests, awards for novels, grants for translators, and more—that we’ve published in the Grants & Awards section of Poets & Writers Magazine during the past year. We carefully review the practices and policies of each contest before including it in the Writing Contests database, the most trusted resource for legitimate writing contests available anywhere.