Making Bad Guys Bad Pt.1

Every books needs a evil character. A bad guy, a villain, an antagonist. An antagonist can make, or break, a story. Create a believable and evil character, and you’re on the way to having a great story. Create a pathetic, two-dimensional wimp, and your work will be put down faster Over the course of this two part series of posts, I want to discuss how to create an antagonist, and how to go the extra mile to make them believable.
But first, lets look at how you create one.

You know how to create a normal character, right? Well, an antagonist is a character too. So use the same steps to create the antagonist as you would with any other character. They should have strengths and weaknesses, and a personality of their own. Don’t make them two-dimensional, stock characters.

The weaknesses are important when creating a villain. The weakness should be used to defeat the villain, or at least threaten to hurt him/her in some way. Think of Twilight. Vampires can only be killed by ripping them apart, and that’s how the villain was killed.

Keep in mind that the antagonist should be parallel to the protagonist. He/she should be opposite to the protagonist, or perhaps an evil, twisted version of your protagonist.
Also consider the type of villain he/she is. Is the antagonist a brutal sadistic killer? Or a evil genius?

What about henchmen? You need to decide if your villain has henchmen or not, and if they do, how did the antagonist acquire them? Are the henchmen silly fools tricked into following the antagonist, or were they hired mercenaries? If your story is a fantasy, maybe the henchmen were forced to follow the bad guys orders, thrown on them?
On the other hand, perhaps your villain is a one-man army, acting alone.

Lastly, you need to create a back-story for your antagonist. Write a short biography on their life. If you can make them realistic to you, then chances are, they will be realistic to the reader.

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2 Responses to Making Bad Guys Bad Pt.1

  1. Feywriter says:

    All good points. Looking forward to part two. One thing that helps me get into the antagonist’s motivations is writing a scene from his/her point of view. Even if I never use the actual scene in the book, it helps to shape the character for the rest of my writing.

  2. […] character. If you specifically want to know about antagonists, check out Making Bad Guys Bad part one and part two. Another post I’ve done is on Outsiders, the character your reader can relate […]

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