If you’re just looking for a guide to writing characters in general, you can read mine here ^^
Apologies for the shortness of this and the less-than-quality writing! I may rewrite it better in the future, but for now,
You have your plot. You have your main characters. You have nearly everything, but you’re stuck on that one last point. How do you write it? This character and its supporters are becoming more troublesome to create than your main character was. This problem is the villain. The problem. The thing that helps pull everything together.
Back in July, I did a study on villains. I had one week to review the villains in four movies. I ended up doing six movies, but regardless, I got my research. The following guide will hopefully help you by sharing what information I gathered. (Not just what I gathered though. It has some help from other notes of mine, too :] )
The first steps to creating a villain and their supporters are the same steps to create any character. First, ask yourself a series of very necessary questions.
- What is his motivation?
- Why does he care?
- What does he want?
- How does he view himself?
- How does he view the hero?
- How does he treat his allies?
- Does he even view them as allies, or mindless followers?
- How do his supporters view him? Are they doing of their own will, or is he forcing them?
It would be a good idea to fill out one of the character templates for a villain. Remember that names are extremely important for a villain. While important for any character, the two you want to take extra care for are villains and main characters. If Bane was named Timothy, it wouldn’t have the same impact when you hear about him, would it? While you don’t necessarily need an “evil name”, it sometimes helps. Don’t make it sound over the top, and remember that the best way to make any name sound “evil” is to write the character well. A proper villain can make a simple, normal name like James or the aforementioned Timothy sound threatening.
Types of Villains
When creating a villain, you need to remember that there are several types of villain to choose from, not just one. You just need to find the one that fits your story. Villains rarely view themselves as evil. The majority of villains think they’re doing the right thing, but their view of the right thing is very twisted. While there are a lot more types than these, there are some more common ones. Villains:
- Are insane, know they’re evil, and don’t care
- Think they’re good, doing the right thing, etc.
- Are insane, think they’re good, and enjoy inflicting pain on others
- Are insane, view themselves as neither good nor bad, think everything’s funny, and are overall the most twisted person you’ll meet
- Are misled into their actions by another character (This one is usually for supporting villains, misled by the main one. It can however apply to your main antagonist if they misinterpreted the message of a good character, etc.)
- Intelligent and merely speeding up the inevitable for their own profit
- A mixture of any of the above
Of course, there are more, but, as I said, these seem to be the most common ones that I have seen.
Creating a villain, though like creating any other character in many ways, can sometimes be a bit more difficult. To make them believable, you need to question their actions carefully. If they view themselves as good, then what made them think that their deeds are good? What are their goals?
Give them a believable backstory that helps show why they do what they do, so your readers don’t find them as a weak character. Most of all, though, make sure their actions match up with the mental state you give them. You don’t want a villain who thinks they’re doing the right thing prancing around and proclaiming how truly evil they are, now do you? :]
Good luck to all with your creation of villains, and I hope this helped!
Talk to you soon,
EDIT:Feel free to try my villains exercise! It really helped me out ^^ To do it, just give yourself a time limit and a minimum number of movies to watch in the genre you’re looking for. After each movie, write down notes on the plot and main villain (or villains) You can also write notes on anything else you’re having trouble with in your writing. :] After your time is up, go back and review your notes to see what tips you can find to making good characters (or what to avoid that will make a very bad character =P )