Making Bad Guys Bad Pt.2

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 than an elephant in an elevator. Last time, I talked about how to create an antagonist. Now, I want to talk about making them believable.

There are several questions you can ask yourself when creating the antagonist:

What does your antagonist want? What does he/she desire? What does she/he want? Answering these questions can lead to giving your antagonist a goal. Motivation to achieve this goal. And giving him/her motivation will lead to unlocking what drives them to win.

What are her/his strengths? Is he/she strong physically? Or is the antagonist intelligent? Does she/he have superpowers, or a supernatural talent?

What about weaknesses? Does your antagonist fear bugs? Blood? Heights? Flying? Weaknesses are important for antagonists, because after all, they are created to lose. Give them weaknesses, something the protagonist can use against them.

What are his/her motivations? Why does your antagonist want to be evil? Perhaps write up a timeline for your antagonist. Perhaps he tortures people because he was abused as a child.

Is your antagonist intimidating? No one will be scared of a short scrawny midget. How large is she/he? Many antagonists are big and scary. Your antagonist needs to be intimidating to frighten your protagonist.

What is her/his habits? All characters need habits, it makes them believable. Antagonists are no exception. Perhaps she twirls her hair around her finger. Maybe he taps his foot when he’s bored. What about always wiggling fingers?

That’s just a brief overview of making believable antagonists, and in fact, all characters in general.


2 Responses to Making Bad Guys Bad Pt.2

  1. K.M. Weiland says:

    In our determination to create believable, 3-D protagonists, it’s easy to overlook the fact that bad guys have to be just as believable. Great list here. I would add that it’s often a good idea to try to match up your villain’s strengths with your hero’s weaknesses. Instant, built-in drama!

  2. Merrilee says:

    Great roundup! 😀

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