V is for Villain

29 Dec

Your villain should be a worthy adversary for your protagonist. In most mysteries, the villain is a criminal. Your story can have both a villain and an antagonist. The antagonist is introduced early on in most stories except the mystery. Not knowing is part of the puzzle, unless you’r writing a thriller or suspense, then the reader often knows who the villain is but not how the protagonist will avoid the danger.

I think the best stories have a villain that is t as complex as the protagonist. They should be evil but there should also be something about them that makes them, if not likable, at least understood.

As you are developing the villain, just like the protagonist, the villain should have a goal, motivation, and conflict. From the villain’s viewpoint, this is his/her story.

In a mystery, you can introduce the villain early but he/she may appear to be unimportant at that time. You have to balance your information to prevent revealing your villain too soon. Using clues, hints, anonymous messages, or witness testimony you can reveal characteristics of the villain without immediately pointing out the character.

While developing this character you need to determine the character flaw. That flaw, not the protagonist,  will lead to the villain’s defeat.

Use your imagination and have fun developing this character. Make it someone the reader will love to hate. Use your past experiences. Is there someone in your past who has hurt your feelings and you’ve wanted revenge but you’re too civilized to really do anything about it. Picture that person as your villain and get even. They will never know.

I am still writing my first draft and between that, a couple of classes, and the holidays, I have neglected my blog. I will try to post at least once or twice a week. I am starting another on-line class January 1st on completing the mystery novel. I have almost completed the alphabet with my posts here. Maybe I will start all over again with different topics from A-Z.

I got to participate in Cheryl St. John‘s Christmas Tree Tour this year. You can check out my post for December 28th at Check out all the trees in her tour.

Feels like there were six weeks in December. Look forward to seeing my writer friends at IRN and Sisters-in-Crime in January.

Keep writing,





Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Write a Novel


2 responses to “V is for Villain

  1. Margot Kinberg

    December 29, 2012 at 8:57 am

    Virginia – I couldn’t agree with you more about the importance of creating a villain people can accept. They don’t have to like the ‘bad guy,’ but it is important I think to understand and accept why the villain has killed (or stolen, or…..).



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