How To Write an Amazingly Evil Villain

Villains are addicting.

Now, we all love our heroes. They’re strong, passionate, and especially the well-written ones that actually have to struggle to reach their goals, but sometimes, a villain ends up as nothing more than a side character that is just there to hurt the hero.

Villains are people too, or whatever creature your villain is. So, do you find them feeling dull sometimes? Underdeveloped? Well, I have some tips for you.

Give them lives outside of the hero.

If your villain is a side character, it can be quite difficult for some writers to develop any characters outside of their interactions with the protagonist.

You see, in my novel, I build my villain outside of their goals to destroy the hero through the way people talk about them. Your characters might be talking about the new person the villain is dating, or how they’re trying to take down another evil person or hero. If you want your villain to be as powerful as they seem, then one tiny little hero will seem like nothing more than a side issue, even if your hero can destroy them, because villains believe they are the best. Your hero can hold a gun to a villain’s head and the villain will still believe they can decide where the bullet goes.

Aside from being evil, make them have another characteristic.

Stephen King once said that a well written character is a murderer who helps the elderly cross the street, and I couldn’t agree more. Now, I’m not saying you have to make your villain kind, but make them complex. Have a few people that trust/like them. I’m not saying the villain has to feel anything for them, but it will make your character seem more complex.

Villains are all evil, yes, but some are crazy and hyper, completely out of their minds, like the Joker. Other villains are calm and smart, will mind their own business if you don’t bother them, while others are absolutely charming. They’ll hang out with you, be your friend, and then head off to plan their next murder or kidnapping.

Give them a good reason as to why they want to hurt the hero.

If your villain is about to spend 99% of the novel stopping their own lives to be consumed up with what your hero is doing, they better have a good reason.

If your villain is an evil government and your hero is someone who is threatening it, why won’t your villain just kill them and move on if they’re so big and bad? Come up with detailed reasons that can’t easily be solved. Are they family? Does the villain not know?

Your villain can’t become consumed by something so minor just for plot convenience. They need real reasons.

Make them smart.

If your villain is some mega-bad evil wizard who takes over the world and is entirely immortal, and your hero is the son of a god sent to earth to save the world or something, your villain has to be smart or else it really isn’t much of a challenge, is it?

If they’ve been this evil for so long, surely they can do some things that the hero won’t see coming, as I doubt it is the first time someone has rebelled, or, if it is, make your villain smart enough to know what to do.

Make them win for once.

I’m not saying your villain should win overall, but those little encounters that your characters end up having where the hero wins the argument or the little mini battle? Let the villain win some. That way, the seem like they are more of a threat. How are they suppose to be so powerful if they can’t even stand their ground?

With that being said, I wish you good writing!

Your villain should be a character first, and then an antagonist second. If you want to write a good villain, then write them as a good character first.

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