A good story needs a good villain. They’re the third important person in your story—after the hero and heroine, of course. But it takes more then a sinister grin and a traumatized past to create the right anti-hero. How do you do this? Make them human. A good villain needs a strong character profile—give them a past, an identity, a motivation!
The worst thing your antagonist can be called is a ―cartoon villain‖, essentially a caricature of pure evilness. You don’t want that. So the next time you’re crafting your villain, remember these fine character qualities that will turn your evildoer into the baddest bad guy your readers will love to hate.
Purpose: What’s their motivation? Give your villain a reason for why they kill, maim, and/or torture. For Freddy Krueger, Hollywood’s most iconic villain, it was killing the children of his persecutors as revenge for burning then killing him and ulti-mately taking him away from his daughter.
Power: What’s their strength? Your villain should be powerful in the sense that they are almost undefeatable. They can’t be easy to beat. If any secondary character can defeat them, we wouldn’t need the hero(ine) to fight them. Krueger’s power is his ability to kill people in their dreams. Can’t get any more powerful then that!
Identity: What’s their trademark? Almost every villain has a weapon of choice or some-thing about them that not only make our skin crawl but also makes us remember them. That identifiable mark or object is symbiotic to who that villain is and part of what makes them unique. Imagine a brown fedora, a red and green striped sweater, and sharp blades for hands… it’s hard not to think of whose disfigured face that conjures up.
Flaw: What’s their weakness? Yes, they must have power but not too much. No one can be too strong and powerful, not your hero(ine) and especially not your villain. Your antagonist needs to have a defect, something that the protagonist can use to ultimately save the day. Krueger’s Achilles’ heel? He is ―mortal‖ in the real-world. Once he leaves the dream-world, he is rendered powerless.
Include these core elements and you’re on your way to writing ―bad good.♥
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lena Hart is author of two novellas with Secret Cravings Publishing, including BECAUSE YOU LOVE ME. To learn more about Lena and her work, visit www.LenaHartSite.com.