Making Meaner Monsters

I’ll admit it: I have trouble writing villains, and it starts with motivation.

My favorite characters to play on stage? Always, always villains.

My least favorite characters to flesh out? Always, always villains.

For some reason, I just cannot motivate my villains and this leaves me unmotivated about motivating them. I can (and do) look back on Black Wolf and lament that I didn’t do more with Snelgrove at the time. I could have made him much fuller in his scenes, and I could have given him more purpose (or, at least, a clearer purpose) even if I do intend to grow the conflict between the characters in the UNITY universe at large.

Book Two is off for the third round of beta reading, and one of my goals, while it’s out of my hands, is to clarify and beef up my villains. Who are they? What do they want? How will they get it?

Because I lack the confidence in my abilities to handle this approach on my own, I’ve put together another list of resources, like my Hatching A Plot resource list, to work from.

Image by leandrodecarvalhophoto via Pixabay
  1. How to Create a Powerful Antagonist: The Epic Villain Breakdown via Kristen Kieffer
    • First off: if you’re not sure what type of villain you have (or want to have), take a peek here for a great examination of the different types of villains — both human and nonhuman.
  2. Properly Motivate Your Bad Guy via K.M. Weiland
    • Haven’t figured out what’s motivating your villain? Yeah, as I said, I have a lot of trouble with that part. Here’s some excellent info on why your villain needs motivation, and how to find it.
  3. How To Write A Villain That Readers Will Love To Hate via Darla G.Denton
    • Need some examples of deliciously well-developed villains? This is a great list with some extra tips about what makes us love and root for these baddies.
  4. 10 Traits of a Strong Antagonist via Janice Hardy
    • What makes the meanest monster? Here’s a list to help you strengthen your antagonist.
  5. 6 Tips for Writing an Imposing and Complex Villain via Hannah Heath 
    • If you still need a few extra tidbits to help you flesh out that baddie, go through this list to make sure you’ve hit all the high points.
  6. 6 Key Scenes to Write a Terrifying Villain via Jeff Elkins
    • Want some practice with your newly-rounded villain? Try writing these scenes to see if you’re headed in the right direction.
  7. How to Plot a Book: Start With the Antagonist via K.M. Weiland
    • And finally: this is how I’m planning to approach Book Three. Starting with the villain makes so much sense. It may be more fun to dive right in on developing the hero and heroine, but knowing what they’re up against first is a great idea. I can’t wait to start putting my plot notes on paper soon to see how this works out!
      Also: if you are an author and you do not follow K. M. Weiland, stop what you’re doing right now and go follow her. Everywhere. She shares amazing advice on all topics writing and authorly. She’s got some great books out, too.

Now, go forth and bring those villains to life!

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