Writing Solid Villains

When bad guys ain’t that bad. Writing Solid Villains.

Though I haven’t seen it, I’ve heard a lot of guff about this Kylo-Ren character from Star Wars, so I figured this was a good subject to post on today.

In truth, weak villains (or antagonistic forces) are something I see often in scripts.
And they ruin a story.

Ultimately, Heroes get their power and impact from the villain they defeat.

This is why as a writer you always hear, make your villains deep, rich and at least as powerful as the hero, if not more so.

From the outset of “most” stories, we expect the hero to defeat the villain, but the reader needs to be shrouded in doubt. The villain needs to present himself powerful enough, capable enough that although we still assume the hero will win, how the hero will stop this formidable foe becomes a mystery.

The satisfaction of the climax (typically from the hero defeating the villain) is directly proportional to the challenge the villain presents.

If the hero isn’t forced to go beyond their limits, beyond their comfort zone to defeat the threat of the villain–if the hero really hasn’t earned the success of the climax, then all the emotional connection is unraveled.

One great approach to writing powerful villains is to take the villain’s power to the extreme and plot the story so that the villain actually wins. Once you see how the villain develops as master of his own story, you can go back and cut him down to size a bit while building the hero up just enough to face the challenge he presents.

Really strong villains are an anchor of good fiction.▪

About the Author —
Nick Macari is a full-time freelance story consultant, developmental editor and writer, working primarily in the independent gaming and comic markets. His first published comic appeared on shelves via Diamond in the late 90’s. Today you can find his comic work on comixology, amazon and in select stores around the U.S.  Visit NickMacari.com for social media contacts and news on his latest releases.

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