Two Lovely Tips to Help You Write Cooler, Impressive and Creative Villains- Writing Fantastic Characters That Your Characters Can Relate To

Source- Getty Images

Villains are the spice in every story. They make us laugh, cry and sneer. Without a villain, there is no hero.

People tend to make stereotypical villains while writing. They have evil names, moustaches, a scar running down their face and a black pointy hat. Attractive women who are murderous, childhood trauma that causes them to do horrible things to -insert the name or place here- and have no parents, probably.

We’ve all heard this before. So, what can we do to keep our stories interesting by creating a likeable or attention-grabbing villain?

Keep in mind, every story is just a copy of another. Like it or not, every story resembles another one in this world. Tactics, distractions, arguments and even action scenes- they will appear in some other book that you’ve read before.

It’s the same for villains. Many villains you create can resemble others, so don’t be surprised. My villain(for a short story) was a teen named Pedro, who was quite similar to Draco Malfoy and Oda Kazuki(arry Potter and Young Samurai, respectively).

In this article, I will share two great tips on how to write striking villains. Are you ready? Let’s go.

Don’t make him/her an idiot or give too many weaknesses

People love their heroes too much- so much that they make the villain pathetic and stupid.

Remember, if a villain was stupid, he/she would stand no match for the protagonist. Then what’s the point in the story? Where are the chilly moments? Where’s the thrill or peak of tension? You can’t have any of that if you write a flat-out, silly villain.

There’s no fault if you give the bad guy a weakness, but if that’s all that he is, there is no use. We have nothing to overcome, nobody to win over and no challenge.

You’ve got to let go of the respect you have for your hero, and make someone who will pose a genuine threat or challenge them. They need a challenge. Without it, your book is as well as dead.

Try to give the villain a weakness. Maybe it’s his arrogance. His pride. Family. Overthinking. Fear. Whatever it is, don’t give him too many, but not little either. Strike a neat balance between unbeatable and weakling.

Other than characteristics, you can set other details like his/her weakness. It can be feats, words or connections. In short, their Kryptonite.

A notable example is in Rick Riordan’s series, where we meet Kronos, the Titan of time. He is trapped/inhabiting the body of one of Percy’s former friends, and wants revenge on Olympus and the gods for killing him.

He is incredibly strong, and almost unbeatable- except there is one part in his entire body that if hurt, can kill him. Like Achilles heel. And this is a big weakness- except that part is covered in armour.

This is not a characteristic, but physical weakness. You can give your villains these kinds of limitations, but make sure those aren’t too obvious and cannot be defeated too easily.

Terrible villains exist- but ones that are overly stupid and have no sense are considered cliche and do nothing to drive the plot forward or make the reader feel nothing but disgust.

All antagonists don’t have to be masterminded. But they need to be clever enough to stand a chance against a hero.

Identify and Clarify His/Her Intentions, Motives and Goals

Imagine you read a story where a villain kills people for no reason. I’m sure that all of you will go, “What?” You would ask why he’s doing it, because he needs to have some reason. Was he hired to kill? Does he enjoy it? Is he reluctant? What’s the point in doing something without a reason?

Set clear intentions and goals for the opposing character. In fact, I think you need to do it for every character!

Establishing intentions/goals earlier in the plotline will really help move the story forward. When we know what the villain wants, we follow him along his journey to get it.

In Anthony Horowitz’s we are introduced to Herod Sayle, the main antagonist of the book. He has a compelling backstory, but the biggest part is this- he hates British school children. Due to his difficult schooling in Britain, he despised any school child. As he says himself,

I don’t think I need to explain why he hated school kids. It seems a little too obvious. And even more shocking, the worst bully of them all became prime minister.

From this we know already, even though he hasn’t explained his plan yet, that he is going to take revenge on the prime minister- and all the British school children. We can see his intentions and goals shining through his disgust.

Make sure you give at least a glimpse of the antagonist’s real motive. Why? Because without purpose, characters couldn’t be blander.

Writing great, compelling villains can be difficult, but these two tips can help you there. A quick recap of this article-

Now, get back to writing, my friends.

--

--

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Angel Sam

Teen. Learner, Thinker, Poet and Writer. INFJ. Believer in a miracle working God. I enjoy reading, writing and meeting new people.