Hey guys! Today I will be sharing a few tips on how to write good villains. Let’s get started.
1. Give your villain a reason. They are not puppets that go around causing trouble for the fun of it. Even the most terrible, cruel, hated villain has a reason for doing the things they do. It could be something as simple as they were bullied at school when they were younger and thinks it’s okay to do it someone else. Or it could be something bigger. It doesn’t matter.
2. Your villain is a person, not a cardboard cut out. Give him hopes, dreams, maybe even a person he loves. Make him as intricate and thought out as your protagonist. Don’t make him flat. You have to love him if you want your readers to love him.
3. Give him likeable qualities. I’m not saying he has to go around being a model citizen or anything, but make sure he isn’t all gloom and doom. Show his soft side. Maybe he has a sibling that he cares about? He could be the most oppressing dictator there is and still care about animals. Show the side of him that can’t stand animal cruelty.
4. Give him morals. This ties in with the animal cruelty thing mentioned above. He could be an assassin, highly trained in his arts, but when sent to kidnap a child he won’t do it. Or maybe he won’t fight an unarmed man.
5. No monologue! Oh yes. We all know that speech the villain gives at the climax. As the hero is dragged up to him and chains, he looks down on him and says, “aha! Now I have you! There is no chance of escape! As long as you’re here and I’m going to kill you anyway, let me tell you the details of the plan you failed to foil!” No. Stop there. Delete it all. This is not a good idea. First of all, if the villain is at all smart he would know that there is a chance the hero will escape and then have all the details of the plan. And, it gives more time for the secondary character to get there and rescue them.
6. I just recently learned about this one. Give your villain a backup plan. I hadn’t really thought about it before but your hero always has a backup plan. Why shouldn’t the villain? What was he doing all those years while plotting his revenge? Surely he had time to think up a plan B.
7. The stereotypical dumb henchmen. Why would the villain hire these people in the first place? Instead of hiring minions that the hero can destroy in only a few moments, or guards who fall asleep on the job, he should hire people who give the hero a run for his money.
I hope these tips help and, as always, happy novel writing!