The villain is the most complicated character in any story. Without him, you wouldn’t have any conflict and no conflict = no plot. Your villain is the base of your story. And if he’s no good the plot falls through. I’m sure you’ve read one of those books where the villain was so unrealistic he let the whole plot down.
No writer wants a boring villain! But, how do we make a villain worth remembering? Here are a few things to start with.
Goal and Motivation
Remember your villain is a person too. Like the hero, he needs a strong goal(an aim or desired result) and realistic motivation(a reason for doing something). Goal and motivation are what makes the villain.
“Every villain is a hero in his own mind” I’m not 100% sure who said this but I think it was Loki, you can correct me if I’m wrong.
Your villain needs to believe he’s the hero. He needs to believe his cause is noble. I mean, why would he be doing something he didn’t believe in? Why would he fight against the hero if he knew the hero was right? It has to benefit him in one way or another.
Fear is the path to the dark side
What is he afraid of? Just like the hero, your villain must have fears. He needs to fear something in order to have a goal.
Example: Anakin feared his wife Padmé would die. He learned of a power that could save her, so he turned to the dark side which later became the cause of her death.
Anakin’s goal was to save his wife. He wouldn’t have a goal if it wasn’t for his fear.
Give your villain a personality. Dig down deep. Ask your villain the same personality questions you would ask your hero.
In my opinion, knowing the childhood of each character helps me understand them better. But that’s not the only reason backstory is so important. Like I mentioned in Writing damaged characters backstory is the foundation of your villain. You need to know what hurt him. Without a backstory, your villain will just seem flat and unrealistic.
Let’s go over what we learned:
- Your villain is the base of your story.
- Goal and motivation are what makes the villain.
- Every villain is a hero in his own mind.
- Fear is the path to the dark side.
- Villains are people too!
- The backstory is the foundation of your villain.
- No villain = no conflict.
- No conflict = no plot.