Category: Character Development.
Technique: Creating a villain.
Every story needs some kind of villain. Something or someone who complicates life for the main character. In order for the hero/heroine to be strong, honorable and passionate, the writer must create a villain who is just as strong, evil and passionate. Even the most diabolical villain can usually be placed in one of three categories. The best villains are ruthless, terrifying, conflicted, and compelling. Of course the villain in your novel, may be the environment, protagonist’s conscience, or fate but that is another technique.
Tip #1: Power Broker Villain
This type of villain has a dynamic personality, plus at least one means of power. The power might be money, fame, authority, position or possession of ‘The Weapon’. They dominate and control others. They use their power to get what they want. The power broker is usually oblivious of those around him.
If the villain, in your story, is an oppressive government or corporation, create a character, in authority in that organization to demonstrate the worst characteristics of that organization.
The power broker is essentially a bully. He/she must be the one in charge.
Example: Lady Wirthland knew the power her heritage gave her. She entered the parlor with the carriage and dignity of an iceberg. Her thin, sharp features never showing the slightest emotion.
“Lady Wirthland, it distresses me to call on you this way,” the Constable fidgeted, but I must know the whereabouts of your son, George.”
Lady Wirthland looked down her nose at the little man.
“What reason do you need to know the doings of Lord George?” she coldly spoke, not offering him a seat.
The Constable flinched, then his back stiffened, and his eyes narrowed.
Example: The colonel’s head thrust forward like a weapon. He knew he was right. He was furious that anyone would challenge his authority. He would do battle with any man or woman who stood in his way.
Example: In the book “Encyclopedia Brown” by Donald J. Sobol, Bugs Meany is a ten year old Power Broker.
Tip #2: The Schemer Villain
This type of villain is often good looking. They calculate how people will react with a great deal of accuracy. They are good chess players, consistently predicting the next move of those around them. They are often patient in their evil, waiting for the right moment or circumstance. They are con-men.
They design traps and obstacles for the protagonist. The Schemer may be presented early in the story, as a good person. Then, as the story progresses, you can reveal their true motives.
This can be the most dangerous and most interesting type of villain, especially if you don’t unveil his scheming personality too early in your novel.
Example: Jeff was tall, classically handsome, an impeccable dresser. People clustered around him as if for actual warmth. When Patricia met Jeff she recognized a high seasoning of deviltry. Her instincts screamed, “Don’t trust him.” Later, Patricia was glad she trusted her intuition.
Example: Delilah had the lazy grace of a cat. Her sensuous swaying hips made married men consider infidelity. A mystic softness filled her eyes. Delilah was good at getting what she wanted and there was no doubt she wanted Mark along with all his money.
Example: Lago from Shakespeare’s “Othello” is a deliciously evil schemer who exploits the weaknesses of others.
Tip #3: The Manipulator Villain
They are often self-centered and greedy. This villain lacks power and the ability to read people. They use their personality to get what they want. They are conniving and regularly use other people without apology. They are charming when they need to be.
The manipulator intimidates others with temper and tantrums. When he does not succeed in getting what he wants, he always finds someone else to blame for his failures. This villain does not hesitate to make others feel guilty, nor does he care about the pain he causes other people.
They are strongly focused on their own wants. They get nasty if someone gets in their way.
Example: Beth hissed through gritted teeth. “How can he do this to me?” Her fury exploding as she flung the door against the wall.
Candice cowered. “You said you didn’t want him.”
“I don’t! But I don’t want Mary to have him.”
Example: Lennie stood anxiously waiting for the explosion. It was his sister’s party and Lennie was determined to spoil it. He hated his sister Jane, and the natural ease she had when socializing. The firecrackers had a long fuse. He hid behind the curtain to enjoy the explosion.
Lennie took pride in his ability to disrupt his sister’s happiness and he felt he had concocted the perfect scheme.
Example: Amy Dunne in Gillian Flynn’s, “Gone Girl” is beautiful, clever, and completely twisted.
Or Abigail Williams from Author Miller’s “Crucible”. Both are intriguing antagonists.
Which kind of villain do you think is the most dangerous? Which do you believe is the easiest to write?
I think the schemer is the one I think is most dangerous, but the hardest to write. The other two are more obvious. What do you think? Go to our forum and tell me what you think.
Subscribe to our website and receive a free guide to writing a great book.
John & Patty
See you next week!
copyright firstname.lastname@example.org 8/17/15 all rights reserved
If you enjoyed this week’s Creative Writing tips, share it with your friends or writers group. Also, we would appreciate you telling your Twitter, Facebook and other media friends about this site. Writer’s groups are welcome to join in our challenges and Forum.