I’m a huge villain lover – which is an odd thing to say but I love nothing more than a good written villain, both in books and on TV, that’s not just there to be mean and give the main characters something to do in between romance scenes. A good villain will make you care if he/she dies (Loki anyone? The Joker?) and you’ll hate him but love
the way he lies him anyway.
Villains need redeeming qualities to make them more believable = hot is not a redeeming quality
Your antagonist can be hot. But that in no way justifies his actions and it doesn’t give him any solid characteristics in which his actions can be justified. Don’t mention his tight T-shirt, his piercing [insert color here] eyes and the way his fair falls on his forehead or her cleavage and hair for that matter.
Villains don’t need a child abuse backstory to gain sympathy = or any abuse story for that matter
I mean, really? Enough with the villains that were abused as kids or neglected so now they go after people that look like the attacker or the parents or someone. People with abuse stories don’t turn into serial killers, they are survivors. Honor them, don’t make them bad.
One villainous act is enough
If you’re going to base an entire series on one villain – history has shown you can’t – then at least save the energy for one major act. If you make your villain kill puppies in every chapter just to make it obvious that this is the villain, then it just looses the suspense and it becomes expected. If the girl/guy is there at every turn to sabotage the love story then you’re just making your main characters look stupid.
The villain is the antagonist = needs a solid story = don’t make him/her stupid at the end
Another classic trope of the villain arc. At the end the villain does something stupid that gets him/her killed or arrested or has a wake up call and everything resolves within a couple of pages because due date is coming and we need to wrap this party. No. Respect your villain! If he/she was able to be there for more than one book – let alone a trilogy or a series – then at least give that person enough credit in the end. Your main characters couldn’t resolve this from chapter one, they shouldn’t be able to just before THE END.
Difference between bad and psycho: which one do you want to write?
Simple as that. Is your villain someone with a plan – slowly building up as the story progresses, or is the villain bad just to drive the story forward. Plan accordingly and don’t switch from psycho to oops I got caught oh well it’s a wrap.
Not all villains are after world domination
Embrace the dark side = don’t make excuses
This goes back to mommy/daddy issues. Did Lord Voldemort ever apologize for being… well, himself? Dolores Umbridge certainly didn’t. Trust your readers and give your character a solid background, don’t loose track of the villain’s personality so then you’ll have to make up a lame line to show that indeed he is redeemable. Some villains are not. It’s okay. Show. Don’t tell.
Villains can love
I don’t even need to explain this, here’s to those few books that the bad guy got the girl and the good guy got @%#!
Villains can be loved by the readers
Technically Severus Snape was a villain but I love him more than Harry himself. Same with Draco Malfoy – yes all my examples are HP, have you read that masterpiece?! Sometimes villains have reasons for being that way, it’s okay to allow your villain to have a good side or never really reveal that side to anyone but do the villain justice. Magneto, the Joker, all these characters mentioned above, we love them because they are supposed to be villains – obviously not Dolores! – and they were, but they had their hero moments too. There’s a hero in every villain, and there’s darkness in every hero.
I’m going to copyright that, damn I’m good.
Make villains in YA/NA better
JUST DO IT! *Shia Labeouf voice*
Do you think villains need to be treated better in books? *Yes, you do, I just didn’t know how to close this post* But honestly, wouldn’t villains that go beyond the classic tropes be better? We need that!