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Guest Post: A Chat About … Writing Villains!

by Kellyn Roth |
September 14, 2016


Okay, guys! Today we’re doing something we’ve never done before! WE ARE HOSTING ANOTHER BLOGGER ON REVERIES!!! That’s right! The amazing Coralie of the fantastic blog Cora & Callie has written a guest post for us. It’s about villains! I hope you’re as excited to read it as I was. 🙂
And, because I’m insane (what? I sometimes have no other excuse …) I added my own comments. In italics. And these little guys: {} 😛 I’m sorry, Coralie!

Hi everyone! I am Coralie, from coraandcalli.wordpress.com! Kellyn, the absolutely amazing SUPER GIRL who owns Reveries, has given me permission to write a guest post for her! *whoops*
{Ah, stop, you! 😀 }
So, today, I’m going to talk about writing VILLAINS.

Villains appear in almost every good story. Without villains, everything’s a big yawn. What’s fun about people just being nice to each other and giving each other free ice creams? Therefore we need the bad guys in a story. A few things to remember before proceeding…
1. They do not necessarily have to be human or a walking-talking-breathing thing. The Flare in The Maze Runner series, for example, is a disease that the characters strain to fight against.
{Or the character him/herself can be his/her worst enemy … okay, that doesn’t make sense, but I’m sure it’s a thing! Isn’t it? Okay, I guess it … isn’t. Carry on. XD }
2. Even if villains can be things you’re struggling against (homework, or maybe an illness), stories with real, active villains usually contain more action and rushing about (and we all love rushing about! 🙂 ).
{I know! I haven’t had a real villain in a while … except Adele, kinda-sort. I love villains!}
3. All villains have a vulnerability and/or a particular skill. As with the good characters, villains are not all incredibly bad to the point that they are flawlessly evil. THE NAPOLEON OF CRIME!!! Ignore me.
{Don’t ignore her! WHAT IS SAID UNDER THE LINE I ACTUALLY MEANT TO BE READ!!! Except this. Wait, why are you reading this? IT’S STRIKED OUT FOR A REASON, MAN! Oh, wait. I just contradicted myself …}

And with that in mind, I have five points about writing villains!

1. Give them vulnerabilities and skills. An example is the Big Bad Wolf in Three Little Pigs. Even though he can blow down straw houses in one breath (skill), he’s also idiotic to the point that he jumps down a chimney to catch the pigs (vulnerability).
 Why doesn’t he just go find some other delicious animal?
{Wow, someone else thought of this, too! *highfives*}

2. Give them backgrounds. This is character development! I LOVE this part. No villain becomes a villain without certain provocation or trauma (heh heh, I haven’t done this part with Meredith Ulric in Masqueraded yet. But I thought out the villain thoroughly in my other book, Finding Victorious). Even diseases like The Flare have backgrounds. Such as how it came to be, why it came to be, who found out about it.
{Neither of my parents showed up for my birth …}
3. Please give them a chance at explaining themselves. Throughout your whole book, you make the villain sound like a seven headed half-breed between a gorgon and your gym teacher with one eye (which it might actually be), but they need emotional parts too. A chance at explaining why they did the evil that they did, and who affected them in their past, what part of their scheme or plan they believe must be good. Sort of like extending the background into your writing and letting the villain do the explaining.
{I absolutely love when the villains get explained. Maleficent, for instance. Best. Movie. Ever! I knew she had a better reason for taking out Sleeping Beauty than not being invited to a stupid christening … that’s so petty! Even for someone who’s pure evil!}
4. Think through their appearance. This is particularly important for villains, and more for ones like the Evil Queen. Certain outfits and makeup or expressions just scream EVIL. It’s solely what you want your villain to look like on the outside that matters, though. Calm? Intimidating? Friendly?
{Now I really want to write a kind of sweet, innocent-little-girl villain … but I’m sure it’s been done … ‘There’s nothing new under the sun.’ Hey, that rhymed!}
5. And, lastly, put yourself in their shoes. Think like the bad guy! That’ll help wonders with your writing!
{I. Am. EVIL!!! Wow, that was surprisingly easy … must be the sin nature. And … now I’m making fun of serious matters. Guys, my personality just gets worse and worse, doesn’t it? UNFOLLOW! UNFOLLOW NOW!!!}
Thank you for reading, and thanks again to Kellyn for giving me such an awesome opportunity! Hugs!

Coralie xx

Well, guys, what did you think? We thought it was pretty awesome! In fact, we started going over one of we’s villains, and we were all like, “First, why can I spell villain? I keep needing spellcheck! Second, why are you so lame, Mara? You’re just, like … unfueled. You’re unfueled. You have no gas. There’s no way we’re getting you to start.”
~Kellyn Roth
p.s. Just so you know, Coralie, if you see something I left out or missed, you can blame it on we. Also blame in changes in formatting on we. We added boldness and big text and may have obsessively edited (just punctuation, but still …). So … shoot we, not me! 😉

What do you think of my thoughts?

31 Responses

  1. Heh he, thank you so much! Weird ring is that I loved the things you added.more than the things I wrote myself 🙂 like the part about Maleficent… MALEFICENT YOU ROCK!!!! 😉

  2. Great advice from both of you on the topic of writing villains – villains are always really tricky to characterize, create, and write, so this post is highly appreciated! Thanks so much. And I love the Maleficent references – it’s a great movie. I enjoyed it a lot.

  3. Reblogged this on Cora & Calli and commented:
    Hello everyone! I wrote a guest post for Kellyn some time ago…and here it is! Published! *dances around* It’s my first ever blog post! And you could totally check out Kellyn’s blog along the way, because it’s glorious 🙂

  4. Fantastic post, coralie!!!! (And wonderful add ins, Kell!!) 😉
    I love Darth Vader Kell,,,how could u hate him??? *snaughles* He’s so cool!! I wish I could be scary-music-plays-when-i-walk-into-the-room cool…*sighs* 😉
    And malifacent rocks!! 😉
    So Kell, I’ve got this thing about villians(ha I don’t need spell check for “villains” haha yes!!) (Just kidding autocorrect got it;) so I basically love the villains ALOT(!!) And that’s kinda worrisome because villains are bad…I don’t like villains in real life tho…so maybe it’s not worrisome..I dunno, all I know is the villains just realy make me love them!!!

    1. Yeah … Darth Vader just annoys me. Or rather, Anakin does. XD I guess Darth Vader is kinda cool … until he kinda turns good in the end. I was like, “Whaaaaaat? You’re bad!” I think loving villains in books and movies (especially modern-day ones when the villains are so. dang. awesome!) is okay. But if you start liking Hillary Clinton, girl, I’m gonna have your head examined! 😉

      1. I’d rather cut off my eyeball than have anything to do with Clinton….ugh
        Btw I’m so glad we share the same political views!! We couldn’t be friends any other way ya know. 😉
        Yeah Anakin is,,,he’s a villain that I’m not to big on…but Darth Vader is cool:) Loki is an amazing villain!!! I’ve told u that right??
        One thing I hate is the villains that turn good in the end…I’m like nooo!!! I mean, if the villain is not completely bad, like if he has some misgivings about being bad then he can go to the good side that doesn’t bother me, but when he’s a full fledged villain, he better not go turn to the good side!!! That makes me so angry when that happens!! Lol 😉

        1. What was that one Thor movie the boys were watching? Loki was EPIC in that one! And (spoiler alert) I was all like, “HE CAN’T DIE!!!” and then like, “Oh … wow! HOW DID HE NOT DIE?????”(end of spoilers) Yep …
          I KNOW RIGHT?!?!?! I mean, Dr. Doofenschmirtz (I can’t spell that!) and Megamind can turn good, but not someone’s who’s really good at being bad! XD

  5. This is a crazily awesome post!
    Hehe, I love villians! Wait . . . That sounded weird . . . And evil . . . And I don’t want to be weird and evil . . . *cackles while waving hands maniacally*

  6. I usually make my villains incredibly overpowered.
    Overload, with essentially complete control over energy.
    The Kiran, who has fire powers.
    The Shade King, who can create black shadow matter stuff.
    Someone, who has power over… Chaos… Stuff.

      1. Definitely. I then have some thing where they are outsmarted. Overload is shot with his own mega weapon. The Kiran is defeated by a collapsing watchtower. The Shade King accidentally gives them the thing they need to beat him (Have to work on that bit.) Also, the overall villain in The Watchers is MUCH more powerful than the Kiran.

    1. Thanks, I’ll remember that. It’s been a while since I’ve written a novel (well, finished one) with a real, actual villain. I was plotting out one and realized the bad guy wasn’t so cool. 🙂

  7. Dude, I LOVE good villains!! ( by which I mean well done villains, not good good villains. Like- never mind, ignore me.) Some of my favorite characters are the bad guy!!!! I esspecially love phsyco villains. THEY ARE SO DANG AWESOME!!!
    For example:
    The Joker. My number 1 favorite villain is Joker from The Dark Knight. Oh. My. G. O. S. H. Like he is just SO……… *thinks frantically of a good word and can’t find one* EVIL. And INSANE. And BRILLIANT. Gah! It gives me chills!!
    I also like Rigaud, from Little Dorrit. HE IS SO CREEPY AMAZING TOO IT IS LIKE… AMAZING. Like, what kind of guy poisons a dog and then as he is leaving makes eerie barking noises at the house he just left? It’s just… wrong. Like, no. But at the same time YES! Because he is so insane!!!!!!
    Hmmmm. Let me think…. well, I can’t think of any other AMAZING bad guys, but I know there are more out there.
    I know what you mean! Like, I love Javert, from Les Miserables. He is the villain, but he genuinely thinks he is doing right.
    I haven’t seen Malifacent *hides in corner* but I will someday! I think?
    I like bad guys when you can understand them but I don’t like it when they seem all EVIL at first but then it’s just a sob story of why they really didn’t mean to be bad nd they go off good for the rest of their lives singing jingle bells! (Yes, yes I know this hasn’t happened. Just shush I’m having fun.) Like that is what bothered me about the Box Car Children (no, I don’t read them anymore. The non existent evil villains and all the food made me stop years ago) THEY NEVER HAVE REAL VILLAINS! (Hush, I know it’s for kids. Just roll with it).
    I really super like (what little I’ve seen) of Sherlock (the new series). Like, Sherlock is such a meano! He cares so little about everything else but his own magnificent-ness, and uses people and is manipulative, but just look at Mycroft! He is so terrible it is no wonder Sherlock turned out like he does! (As I said, I haven’t seen much, so correct me if I’m wrong)
    Yeah, just no. (Whiney-ness runs in the Skywalker family. Anakin? Check. Luke?? Check. Kylo Ren??? Check! What is this?) BUT. Anakin in the Clone Wars? *smiles* *laughs* *gasps* *sobs* (my emotions throughout the seasons) and Ahsoka?? *SOBS* I won’t say anymore about that, because SPOILERS! But, I will say, Anakin is so amazing in the Clone Wars!!! And then he turns into Darth Vader who has like zero emotions! He just walks around with his own theme song choking the slackers and sensing Luke. Thats…. ALL????? Yes. It is. Then we have Luke.
    “Oooh, but I wanted to play with my friends!”
    “This great big brown thing chased me up the mountain and then froze!” (Oh wait, that’s Bad Lip Reading 😀 )
    “Ooh, I shouldn’t have coome, I’m endaangering the mission.”
    And others that I cannot think of at the moment.
    And Kylo Ren is the opposite!!!!! He is emotions galore!!! *is about to start ranting about Kylo then notices how long comment already is* *nervous chuckling* weell, that abot wraps it up for today kids! I hope you enjoyed, and tune in next time for ranting about villains with E! 😉 heh. Heh. Heh. *leaves*

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