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

Set boundaries.

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!



  1. I totally agree with you – I think in actuality it might be hard for some authors to write villains well AND write a good story. The villain gets left by wayside when the author is more worried about the main protagonist and the actual story / plot. I could never be an author, having to make it ALL work.

    And I think I’ve read ONE good villain in a YA contemporary novel. Fantasy is easier to fit a villain into but contemporaries usually fall back on the mean girl/bully scenario. And I am SOOOO sick of that…

    Great post!!!
    Kristin @ AddictedtoHEA recently posted…Sunday Post #101: I Did a Lot of StuffMy Profile

  2. “Hot is not a redeeming quality” I’m not sure if I should be laughing or sad that this is actually something that needs to be stated. But that’s the problem, it seems like so many villains are terrible… but they’re also hot, so pretty much everyone loves them. But I agree with you, I need the villain to have *actual* redeeming qualities. I need to sympathize with his emotions and personality and whatnot. But I think there has been a trend toward making more three-dimensional, sympathetic villains.

    I also like what you said about not giving every villain an abuse story since you’re right, that just comes across as disrespectful to actual abuse survivors. And I definitely agree that not all villains are redeemable, and they don’t need to be in order to be likeable as a character! I don’t have to like who someone is in order to like them as a character.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…The Weekly Update: 9/25/16My Profile

    1. Right? It’s sad. I can totally love a villain but not because he’s hot there’s got to be something more there – and not a good side of him either – but something solid to humanize the character instead of it being cartoon-ish. Fantasy and Paranormal genres are easier but YA and NA is suffering.

      I’ve had it with villains being abused as kids, no that’s wrong on so many levels! Can that happen, sure, does it have to happen to every character, absolutely not!
      Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted…The Sunday Post [27]My Profile

  3. hahahah I LOL’d at the “set boundaries” statement. SO TRUE.

    I agree with this. For starters, I am sick of the villain always being some abused “hot” guy who is like “I’m sorry I’m like this, my dad hit me”. I mean, sometimes people are just…bad? The only thing I am confused with is when you say “If you’re going to base an entire series on one villain – history has shown you can’t ” — what do you mean by that?

    Great post, I agree with it so much 🙂
    Molly @ Molly’s Book Nook recently posted…The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics // My First Horror BookMy Profile

    1. Well, books series (or trilogies) usually kill off one villain to replace it with another, and then another or they somehow team up. There’s never one main villain, so it’s boring and predictable – the plot can’t continue unless someone is doing the whole Mean Girls thing, you know? LOL, thank you!
      Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted…The Sunday Post [27]My Profile

  4. Oh, this is something I’m always banging on about in my Creative Writing classes. So many villains are very badly written! For starters, no one wakes up in the morning and announces how bad they are – we are all heroes within our own lives and unless your villain is suffering from some kind of mental illness (and far too many are) then they do NOT go around announcing how they want to rule the world and deflower 10 virgins before they have breakfast. And you’re right – victims of abuse do not invariably go on to become vile haters of humanity and it’s lazy writing to provide such a sloppy backstory.

    1. I don’t believe I’ve read a villain (in YA/NA) I’ve loved so far and it’s sad, they all fall under the same category of the vengeful, hating kind just for plot’s sake. Other genres can get more creative when ti comes to villains but these two need to try harder and give us something new.
      Kei @ The Lovely Pages Reviews recently posted…The Goal by Elle KennedyMy Profile

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