Good morning, my fellow writers!
This video is all about villains and how best to create them.
That’s a topic I cover in greater depth in my ebook The Really Helpful, Vastly Interesting Guidebook to Creating Compelling Novel Characters (Including Villains), which is
due out the 14th – my Valentine’s Day gift to you.
So romantic, I know.
But for now, here are a few things to consider about villains…
They don’t always have to be hideously ugly or somehow mutilated. While bad people can get scars in the process of doing bad things, there are tons of non-scarred bad people out there too.
Likewise, while obviously ugly people might have more reason to be bitter with the beauty-obsessed world, prompting them to turn to lifes of crime, there are plenty of pretty people out there who are jaw-droppingly dreadful in their behavior too.
So don’t feel boxed in about your villain’s appearance. If you want that character’s looks to reflect his or her intentions, then more power to you. And if you want to be more subtle about it, then that’s fine as well.
The same applies to their behavior. There’s nothing wrong – or right – with portraying them as being perfectly respectable, pleasant people at first, only to show how very backbiting they are later on.
Be sneaky. Throw your readers off. Give your villain some depth!
You might be surprised at how much fun it can be.
Another great way to develop a convincing antagonist is to read the news. While it can be full of amazing people doing beautiful and impressive things – just watch the Olympics if you want proof of that – it’s also really, really easy to find horrible people doing horrible things.
And here’s one final consideration to constructing a truly terrible villain:
Each and every one of us has it in ourselves to be a villain. We all have good qualities we can choose to emphasize or bad qualities we can let out to play, with dozens if not hundreds of opportunities a day to be the hero or the jerk.
So really, what would you look like if you were a villain?
What would I look like?
It might not be a very comfortable thought, but it’s a fascinating rabbit hole to fall through nonetheless. Plus, analyzing ourselves like that might just strengthen our writing, at least where villains are concerned.