How to Create the Perfect Villain

Updated: Jan 14

The hero, usually the main protagonist, is often the main focus of a novel, but it's important to give your villains just as much attention to prevent them from having a flat personality, motive and back story. However, it's understandable that creating a villain, or anti-hero, can be tricky when our minds don't work like theirs, so this article will give you four tips on how to create the perfect villain.


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1. Give Them a Convincing Motive


Villains are desperate to control, kill, or destroy for multiple reasons, so make sure you give them a convincing motive for committing terrible acts. A convincing motive makes them more believable and relatable and allows readers to sympathise with them at times.


Think about what has made them evil, or troubled. What horrors have they suffered in the past? What will they gain from the pain they wish to inflict?


2. One Step Ahead, But One Step Behind


Keep your plot exciting by making your villains one step ahead.


Readers are more likely to root for your hero if your villain is one step ahead for the majority of the novel. Ironically, no one wants your hero to have an easy ride. They want to see them struggle like hell at the hands of the villain, so make sure they are one step ahead until your hero defeats them.


3. Make Your Villain Clever


Your villain has had years to plan the death of your hero or the destruction of the world, but doing so takes a certain level of intelligence. Think about the villains in other stories and the criminals in real life; their IQ is generally quite high and they can plan and get away with heinous crimes in their sleep.


4. Give Your Villain a Fatal Flaw


A villain's weakness is not only the key to the hero's victory, but a flaw also makes them more relatable in a strange way. Not that many readers often relate to the evil character, but having a flawed villain can make them seem more human, and it shows that even the toughest challenges can be defeated!


If you would like to download these tips so you can keep them forever, feel free to take this infographic below!

The Villain Checklist


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