Ah the Villain

Now we get to discuss another one of my favorite topics. The villain! Writing this character in a story is always a challenge, especially a fantasy story; somehow, the villain always ends up to be identical to the stereotypical bad guy. But the entire point of writing fantasy is to make your story unique and original, so let’s discuss some ways we can make the “bad guy” one of a kind.

First of all, the stereotypical villain is completely evil through and through with absolutely no reason to be. Don’t do this to your villain! Give him a reason to want what he wants. The villain is a character too, and he must be relatable to the audience in some aspect, so give him a reason to be evil. Don’t begin creating your villain as who he is in the story; begin years before the story takes place. What happened? What caused the villain to have this flaw? Though it is not always necessary to include the entire backstory of the villain in your story, be sure you are familiar with the back story of  your villain so you can explain his character more fully when you describe him in the story.

Secondly, make the villain unique appearance-wise. If your villain is shrouded in black and red all the time, he is screaming “Look at how evil I am!” because he is not capable of proving to the reader how evil he is through his character, so he has to prove it through his dress. Make your villain different than the others. Don’t reveal to your readers who the foe is right off the bat; your readers can figure that out on their own. That’s the fun of reading stories; the reader gets to be the detective and independently figure out who everyone is on his/her own.

Third, don’t let your villain talk like a typical bad guy. Phrases like “You think you can defeat me,” and “You’ll never win,” cause the readers to be disgusted by cliches! Next to the typical phrases repeated by every villain since the first villain came about, the typical “bad guy” also has a problem with spilling his secret plans to the hero just before he (the villain) is about to do something terrible. In which case, the hero knows the plans, manages to escape, and saves the day because the villain foolishly spilled all of his plans. Who in their right mind would spill earth shattering plans to the only one who can stop them; especially if he is supposed to be a dangerous threatening villain? Make your villain logical and smart, and your readers will learn to be terrified of him all on their own.

Fourth, make your villain clever with his attempts to rid himself of the hero. As clever as a villain should be, the stereotypical villain always finds the most impractical and unusual ways to kill the hero off. These unusual attempts, however, are always thwarted by by the hero, and that’s how he escapes. Really, though? Why should these incredible tactics even enter into a villain’s mind?! All he has to do is shoot the hero, or stab him, or something far more simple and way more effective. Don’t let your villain be stereotypical! The readers will laugh at this kind of villain.

Finally, make your villain terrifying. He doesn’t have to be 100% evil to get the message across that he isn’t to be messed with, but let him subtly grow in power until he is dangerous enough to get attention by the hero. Surround him by minions who are equally as smart and tactful as he is. The stereotypical villain surrounds himself with the least clever of henchmen that he can. Don’t do that to your villain! Make him different and unique. Give him the brains and the wit that causes him to be dangerous and threatening.

I hope these points were helpful. Now get out there and write a villain for the world of readers to remember! Make him one-of-a-kind. Give him reasons, brains, wit, and the ability to be a worthy opponent to your hero.

7 thoughts on “Ah the Villain

  1. I love reading about your desire and ability to write. This has been your passion for a long while and we are happy that now you include us!

    1. Thank you! Writing is something I plan on continuing to do. I hope I will have more time to work on it once school slows down.

  2. This is another great post!! Villains can be as much fun as your heroes. I find that I often fall in love with my villains as much as my heroes and bringing them to their timely demises can be so painful. I want to redeem them and that can’t always be done. I love writing stories where the villain is actually someone as normal as the hero who makes different choices that lead him down a darker path. Oftentimes the “villain” can also be a character flaw within the hero. Our own worst enemy is often the darkness within our own hearts. I am working on a story currently that involves this idea. The battle with himself is almost more powerful than the battle with the enemy. I look forward to more of your posts.

    I would love to see a post on dragons…because… well…dragons are amazing. Do you think dragons make better villains or protagonists?

    1. Good points! Yes, I have actually been doing a lot of research on villains for a few months now. They are surprisingly difficult to write! However, many times they reveal more lessons and realities than the hero can, which is why the villain is so essential in a story. The villain being an actual flaw within the hero is also something I’ve thought about, and I’m glad you mentioned it! Not only would it make the hero more relatable to us, because no one is perfect, but it would give the hero far more depth. An excellent thought, one I will have to think about next time I am working on a story. As for dragons, in the first book I wrote (a terrible draft though it was!) I included a dragon. Ironically, he was on the protagonist side, though the heroes did not know that immediately. I think dragons can either make a very fun protagonist, or an incredible villain. Both ideas have huge potential. Thank you for your thoughts!

  3. Love this. Completely agree. The only thing I would possibly add is to never forget that the villain can also be a means of painting the beautiful picture of redemption. After all, what are we, if not the villains of our own stories and Jesus the hero?

    1. I totally agree with your point. I think that would be one story twist that could make a story one of a kind. It would also tell a great truth! That’s one of my favorite things to do in a story: tell a different story, a bigger story, through what I write. Thank you for your comment!

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