How do you write a completely evil villain that doesn’t look like a villain at all?Here, you can find out.
Step 1: Do you know what it means to be good?
You can’t create a bad person without knowing what is good and bad, so anything else is pointless.
Step 2: There are evil acts that people have done.
To see examples of how real people can do terrible things, look to the news and history books.
Step 3: Do you think your villain is human or non-human?
Things can be different if your villain is not a human.Your non-human creature may be evil in some way, but it is more amoral than actually evil.
Step 4: They should be made evil because of their actions, not their identity.
It is not simply something that someone is, it is something they choose.Give your reader a reason why this character is bad.The villain should personally do evil acts.If the evil acts happen to a person that the reader cares about, it will be more effective.
Step 5: Don’t go for lazy shortcuts.
To write an interesting character, you’ll want to avoid the cliches.This includes writing villains who don’t have a reason.Sadism is not a real motivation.A good reason to do evil acts is what your character needs.It’s not believable to have a villain who does evil acts because it is fun.Don’t try to rip off the Nazis.If you want to use Nazis as an inspiration, do some research about their rationales and how they worked.A person or group should not be seen as bad because they are nuanced in their evil beliefs and actions.People with mental illness and disabilities are not evil.”They’re evil because they have a mental condition, that’s lazy writing that is deeply insulting to the many good people with real emotional and developmental disabilities.”People with disabilities are more likely to be victims of violence.Don’t support discrimination that makes them feel bad.Don’t use academic language.This is too much.
Step 6: Consider how the villain justified their actions.
Don’t write a villain cackle at actions they think are depraved.Even if your villain knows what he is doing is morally indefensible, there should still be some form of justification in his mind.It makes sense for them to be alone because of his experiences and beliefs.A villain might say, “I will do anything to earn the acceptance of _____/become a true _____.”I am one of the few that is truly moral and the world is full of it.I have to correct others’ immoral behavior.Bad things happen to people because they deserve it.The people of group X are a waste of space.Only the strong will survive.Losing is weakness.The weak should lose.People who are X should be put back in their place.I will not stop until I achieve my goal.If other people try to get in my way, I will stop them.It doesn’t matter if I hurt others because it is for the greater good.The members of Minority X are bad.I will do everything I can to protect my home.
Step 7: Give the villain compelling motives and goals.
It’s difficult to write well for the pleasure of evil.It’s chilling to make their evil look like something a human would do given the right circumstances and mindset.
Step 8: Look at the villain’s interactions with his allies.
How does he interact with them?How different?He can kill an underling without a second thought, but is he patient towards his second-in-command?Does he treat his trusted lieutenant the same as he does his generals?Does he see his elite warriors as superior to his lesser footmen, but not as cannon fodder?Why?What do his interactions tell about him?
Step 9: The villain’s parts were not always evil.
All their life, no well written character has been pure evil.The villain should have some neutral or good qualities.Who was your villain’s priority?Which people and animals are special to them?Consider what the villain won’t do.He might be willing to kill people, but not consider torture and rape to be cruel.She won’t kill unless absolutely necessary, but she will steal, threaten, and cheat.There is a lot of licence here with someone who is evil.Give your villain interests.What are the pure evil things they do in their spare time?Do they play chess with live rodents pinned to the pieces, practice shooting, knit itchy sweaters for Fluffy, and write their memoirs?
Step 10: Give the lieutenants and followers reasons to follow the villain.
Is it fear?Do they have the same goals?Do they need the help of the villain?Is it the same thing as the villain, but they will turn against him at the right time?Is it possible that they secretly plan vengeance against the villain while pretending to be their ally?Do they follow the villain out of admiration or worship?Do they want something that the villain has access to?It helps to give both the villain and lesser bad guys more depth.
Step 11: The villain has feelings for the heroes.
Is it because the main hero never gives up that they find him annoying?She is more persistent and less easy to kill than anyone who has resisted them before.
Step 12: Consider how you are going to introduce him.
One way to create suspense is to have other characters talk about your villain and give the audience a sense of him.He might come out of the dark with a frightening entrance.