One of the hardest things for me was creating the villain. I knew that they had to be evil- but I have trouble creating them. I’m not a particularly evil person, and so to create someone who is can be scary. And then I realized something- they don’t have to be evil. They have to be humans- who breathe and cry just like us. Now, if you’re writing a sci-fi where the villain is some sort of rebel A.I… that’s a little different. Robots don’t have feelings (that’s why its Artificial Intelligence)- but you must make sure that your evil character does.
1. Give them a background
Every evil character in history has some sort of background. Not an evil background- but a background that made them turn into what they are. Did his parents hate him because of his deformed face? Was there a meteor shower that killed his parents? Make him have some sort of past so that the readers will be able to understand them a little bit more.
2. Give them something to ‘feed’ off of
Every good villain has some sort of goal. Whether it’s to dominate the world or have revenge on his brother- it doesn’t matter. Make your villains have some sort of unobtainable goal where they will not be satisfied unless they reach it. Does your evil queen want to be the ‘fairest in the land’? Does your step-mother want to bring her step-daughter into the ashes? Do they want to dominate the world? Wipe out an entire planet in order to stop a disease? Yes, all of these examples are from books and stories- quite popular ones. Your villain must want to obtain something unreachable- and therefore he does all these ‘evil’ things to try to reach it.
3. Make them human
I’ve read books where the villain was the master of all evil, the darkness of all storms, and the worst possible nemesis. It kind of hurt- because the authors didn’t make them human. They made them… fake. As I was reading it, I was like ‘where is the emotion’? Now, I know it’s easy to slip into the ‘oh, he’s a bad guy so he doesn’t have a heart- therefore he doesn’t have any emotions’ thinking. I’ve done it many times. But those are the moments that you need to remember that they are human, and they do have thoughts. You may not show these thoughts, but you must act on them. The villain may not, but you must. If you start thinking of them with pity- everything will come out different. Did President Snow ever lay awake at night thinking of all those lives he killed? Probably not- but he might have. He is, after all, human.