Alida, Kathryn, and Robert discuss what makes a villain a good one, getting into character development, the pitfalls of typecasting your villain, and lots of examples across genres.







What makes a good villain? How do you avoid cliches? How do you effectively layer your villains? And how do you use villains in different genres? Can you have an ideal as a villain? And what about those villains we don’t vanquish by the end of the book? Don’t forget that your villainy must be tangible to your protagonist and relatable to your reader!

What we talked about:

What do you do in order to create a 3D villain and avoid cliches? (0:46)

What are the different kinds of villains? (2:25)

The importance of layering your villains. (3:45)

The importance of your reader getting to know your villain. (6:00)

How to use an overarching ultimate evil effectively through a long series. (7:29)

Don’t leave a villain unconnected! (8:37)

What about mystery stories? How can you manipulate the reader into having sympathy for your villain? (11:05)

Make sure your villain is relatable to your reader. (13:08)

What about stories where the villain is not clear cut or easily labeled? (15:30)

Are non-personified villains just as satisfying to the reader? (17:58)

Antagonistic forces must have a personification. (20:57)

Not all villains need to be the main antagonist in the plot. (23:53)



Things we mentioned:

Steven King
The Lord of the Rings
Harry Potter
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Atonement (the movie)
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
Star Wars
The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

Want more about these topics? Check out:

SWRT 34: Developing your Supporting Characters
60 Second Writing Tip: Scheming Characters 

Have thoughts, questions, other examples? Join the conversation at the Story Works Writers Facebook group

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