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  • Writer's pictureS.E. Reed

Creating a Villain

Not all of you are cut out to write evil characters. It takes practice. Dedication. A blackened soul. Look, I’m not trying to be a bitch, but you’re just too sweet and your moral compass too, you know– moral. These reasons make you unable to draft believable villains who perform dastardly deeds. You don’t need to fret and you can stop wringing your hands (lamenting is so last year). You will do perfectly fine writing warm holiday romances and kind hearted tales with animals; you know the PG stuff.

But, for those of you with ice in your veins and coal in your stocking, well I think you’ll do just fine creating a villainous character capable of many heinous crimes.

Let’s begin by answering a few simple questions.

Backstory: What tragedy led to your villian’s evil ways?

State of Mind: Do they seek power or is it all about revenge?

Defeat: Can they be defeated or worse, saved?

Once you have determined your answers, you can start writing a story, super villain included. There are two distinctive ways to include your villain. They can be the antagonist– you know, the thorn in the side to your hero. Or they can be the main character and you can delve deep into the psyche of your big bad wolf.

Whichever direction you choose, you’ll find fans for your villain if you make their motives believable and their passion for spite, uh, relatable. Hey, we’ve all wanted to exact revenge upon our enemies and you're a liar if you say otherwise.

Recently, I wrote several stories that were featured in an anthology, I’m Not the Villain, I’m Misunderstood. It’s a delightfully dangerous book filled with evil origin stories and tales of the anti-hero.

In my feature, the main character Ríona is a witch who has been avoiding her trashy coven for ages. She is morally gray, self-indulgent, arrogant and down right blood thirsty. Yeah sure, she is quick witted and charming at times, and maybe kind of awesome– but still, she’s the villain. Throughout the story I explore themes of chaos, power, temptation and revenge.

Well, I hope you have a horrible time creating your own evil characters and can stomach looking at yourself in the mirror after writing about their many sinister exploits.

Make sure to let me know how your writing journey is going over on Twitter or in the comments below. And the next time you consider writing another boring hero story, remember, there’s a criminal mastermind lurking in the dark just waiting for you to spread the word of their terrible childhood.


S.E. Reed

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