Posted in Character Development Writing

How To Write a Killer Villain

How To Write a Killer Villain Posted on January 25, 2019Leave a comment

Everybody loves a good villain – sometimes even more than the actual hero. Make sure you're writing killer villains with this simple 'How To' guide.

Everybody loves a good villain – sometimes even more than the actual hero. Why? Because they don’t follow the rules. Plus, being evil can be kinda fun.

In my experience, the villain’s story is often where a story falls short.  Writers think it’s enough to show/tell the reader that the villain is evil. Then, have their hero defeat them in an epic final battle. But it isn’t enough to just give a villain a dastardly plan. You need to give a villain depth. You need to show the reader why they are evil in order for them to understand them.  

What made the villain evil? What is motivating them? Why is their plan so important to them? 

When readers understand characters, they can relate to them. This forms a strong bond between the story and the reader. Your reader feels like they could/do belong to the character’s world.   

Everybody loves a good villain – sometimes even more than the actual hero. Learn how to write a killer villain with this simple 'How To' guide.

The very best villains have good intentions. Take Magneto from the X-Men series. Yes, he hurts and kills a lot of people but he does it to keep other mutants safe in a world that does not want them. What’s wrong with that? 

Tip: When you feel empathy for the hero’s nemesis, you know you are reading a good villain.  

So, how do you write a killer Villain?  

Easy.  

You write them like the hero.  

In last week’s blog, we talked about how to write a kick a** hero. Well, to write a good villain, we are going to use a similar process. So, if you missed that post, I highly recommend you go check that out first. Don’t worry. I’ll be here waiting for you.  

Done?  

Great. Let’s jump in.  

Everybody loves a good villain – sometimes even more than the actual hero. Learn how to write a killer villain with this simple 'How To' guide.

The villain’s flaws/wants/needs need to be as strong – if not, stronger – than your hero’s. Why? Because your villain’s actions will determine your hero’s decisions.  

First of all, I think about the role the villain plays in the story. What do I need them to attempt to in order to craft an interesting plot? Get revenge? Take over the world? Enslave a civilisation? This would be the villain’s want.  

Now that we know what the villain wants, we can figure out their flaws. What is it that has made them want this? Are they over analytical and believe that killing a few to save the many is acceptable?  Have they been shunned and persecuted their whole lives, making them desperate for control or power?  

Lastly, you need to think about what the villain needs. In some stories, they refuse to see the light and will fall at the hands of the hero (or themselves). In others, the villain becomes a sort of antihero. They are somewhat transformed by the hero and live to cause later trouble. Your villain’s fate is entirly up to you.  

Do you have a favourite villain? Mine is Magneto (if that wasn’t already obvious). If so, share them with me in the comments.

Happy Scribbling!

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