Make Your Villains Interesting
Don’t make your villain one denominational, and instead give them varied likes and dislikes. Give them a place to be a whole person with subtle curiosities that the reader can explore as the book moves forward. Having these can make surprises for the readers that they wouldn’t otherwise have guessed. A varied personality is more compelling.
A quirk is something your villain will do or part of who they are that brings an appeal to them. This doesn’t always have to be the type of appeal a reader likes or wants to emulate, but something that they will remember. Caveat here, don’t over do it. Repeatedly telling your reader something will annoy them more then help them. Don’t hang on this too much, but an interesting quirk can take to a new level with your character.
(Almost) Always Right:
At least in his mind, they should (almost) always be in the right. We often times act on our morals. They move and guide our behavior. Whatever your villain’s morals are are going to be what’s right in their mind, helping them move forward. This doesn’t mean they can’t realize they’re wrong sometimes because they most definitely should. Those times they show their imperfections in their own mind can help them grow into a character readers want to find out what they’re thinking.
Star of the Story:
As much as every character should be the star of their own story, a villain definitely should be the star of their tragedy or victory. This goes for every character really, but it can have a lot of impact on your villains depth and demotion. They can, and should, have character growth like your main character.
Much like being nuanced, the villain should have traits that aren’t all bad. If everything they do is mostly bad but with some redeeming traits, it will lead to a far more dynamic character that your readers will want to learn more about.
A villain should have a reason for doing everything they’re doing. Without a the desire to move forward with their plot, why should the reader care about it? The motivation can be anything from the same as the hero’s to the opposite. For example, if the hero and villain both lose their parents in childhood by a reigning authority, they can react to it in different ways. Those ways they choose to act may be completely different, but the motivation is the same in such a case. Opposite motivations work to. As long as your villain has a reason for acting and thinking the way they do, it will leave the reader wanting to give them more attention.
Take a Twisted Path:
Having your villain take a twist in their journey, one that the reader doesn’t usually expect, keeps the reader on their toes and engaged with your antagonist. As long as you leave clues as to what the surprise is going to be, the reader will usually follow the twist and enjoy the new direction the villain is taking your story in.
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