Help! What’s my bad-guy’s name?

I need some input.  My Bad-guy’s name is “Darkness”.  It didn’t really start out that way.  Darkness was just something to be afraid of, and then he developed into a person, and the name stuck.  I know “Darkness” has been used before.  Do you think it’s cliché?

I’ve also been playing with the name “Malice”  What do you think?

I’m entering the 50-word synopsis contest in a few days.  These are the two versions I came up with, depending on the name.

Darkness has descended upon the galaxy. Magellan Talbot, a poor miner’s son, has been chosen by their Goddess to defeat it. There’s one problem…. a tragic accident has erased Magellan’s memory. If he doesn’t regain it in time, evil will prevail. His task is simple, if he could only remember.
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or
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Malice threatens the galaxy from within. Magellan Talbot, a poor miner’s son, has been chosen by the Goddess to defeat it. There’s one problem…. a tragic accident has erased Magellan’s memory. If he doesn’t regain it in time, evil will prevail. His task is simple, if he could only remember.
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So, which one do you think sounds better?

12 responses to “Help! What’s my bad-guy’s name?

  1. Here’s an idea if you want to characterize what the character is, but don’t want to be too heavy-handed and obvious with the name. Go to thesaurus.com and plug in…I chose darkness. Pick a more obscure word from the list or “nameify’ it. I picked out a few that sound promising as either the direct name or something you could twist:
    caliginous, cimmerian, melanic, noctivigant, phaeochrous, tenebrious, tenebrous, thestral, unbrageous

    • Hmmm. I never thought of the Thesaurus. I do use obscure dictionary words for names all the time, but I never thought to type in a “feeling” and get a name that way. Neat idea!

      Thanks for hopping on board, by the way! It’s nice to have you!

  2. I don’t know if I like either. My first thought is just that a bad thing has come and I want to know its name. Being told his name IS darkness is distracting. Same for malice. If anything leave him with no name. He is too evil for that. That or establish that is his name right away.

    Darkness, God of all that is evil, has descended upon the galaxy. Magellan Talbot, a poor miner’s son, has been chosen by their Goddess to defeat Him. There’s one problem…. a tragic accident has erased Magellan’s memory. If he doesn’t regain it in time, evil will prevail. His task is simple, if he could only remember.

    Plus if you like Malice more the first word is interchangeable.

  3. I like the second one…it sounds more active. And Malice is a great name!

  4. Darkness in the first version makes me think it’s getting dark. I like Malice better. Only my opinion. I agree with Gloria’s comment about removing ‘has’.

  5. Weighing in late, Jennifer. I like the second 50 word pitch best. Just MHO, but Malice makes the transition from concept to actual character easier to visualize.

    Also, your second version begins strong–active, multi-dimentional–with either Darkness or Malice as the lead in. One suggestion? I recommend you delete the “has” before “erased…” It’s more active without that filler word.

    GREAT 50 word synopsis. What a challenge. I am impressed. Good luck!

  6. I see the word “darkness” in so many books I read that it would be hard to see that as a name. Malice fits a lot better in my opinion. I can imagine it being a name and forming the right image.

  7. Too bad you can’t use Erebus, the son of the primordial God, Chaos, and the personification of Darkness. Then again, why can’t you, or at least use some sort of version of the name. Hmmmmmm…

    • Hmmmmm. I don’t care for “Erebus”, but Chaos isn’t bad.

      “Chaos has descended upon the galaxy”

      Maybe.

      • Chaos is a Greek God. Erebus is his son. I suppose you could use ‘Chaos’ if you didn’t mind that he is a Greek god. Or, you could come up with your own spelling, such as:

        Хаос
        Kaos
        Kaaos
        Haos

        Play with it. Make it your own. Just a suggestion.

  8. I’d go with Darkness. It makes for a stronger pitch as the reader will assume that it’s a concept/faceless evil right up until WHAM the story introduces the fact that Darkness is a villain’s melodramatic name.

    I’d also consider this question–is your villain actively villainous and knows it? Most people don’t think of themselves as malicious and cruel. The most selfish people, for example, often see themselves as selfless, and the world itself as petty and unreasonable. To pick the name “Darkness” or “Malice”, you’d have to know that what you’re doing is bad–and still do it.

    • Good thoughts. Yes, in this case “Darkness” is basically the god-like embodyment of evil. He reaches into the real world, and grabs onto Stephen, who is the Bad Guy who doesn’t actually think of himself as evil. Stephen is the one actually doing the nasty stuff, but “Darkness” is pulling the strings.