Creating A Believable Villain – Lessons From Last Week’s Super Sleuth Challenge Answer

Photo by acerin

Photo by acerin

Real life villains are just too easy to defeat sometimes. In our last week’s Super Sleuth Challenge we looked at a criminal who shouldn’t quit their day job. Sleuths were asked to guess which scenario was true. The answer is:

2. A drug dealer accidentally texted a police officer this question, “Do you want to buy some pot?” The police officer set up the meeting and confiscated four bags of marijuana. The dealer now faces drug charges. To read more about this story click here.

As they say, “the truth is stranger than fiction.” Is that ever the truth. In our stories we couldn’t pull off a villain blooper like this and still create the tension and believability we need to make readers turn pages.

Three Tips We Learn From The Text-Foiled Villain:

1. A believable villain’s skills must prove them dangerous to create conflict. If the villain is too easy to defeat, then the story will lose it’s tension, danger, and conflict. A villain that makes these simple types of mistakes are just too unbelievable for a fiction villain. This is one tip that I learned about from Susan May Warren in her book Deep & Wide: Advanced Fiction Techniques.

2. A believable villain will create almost insurmountable troubles for the hero/heroine. A book requires a battle between the villain and hero/heroine. If it is solved too easily than it isn’t book worthy. It will be too simple and not contain the complex content that readers crave.

3. A believable villain will recognize simple mistakes and not steal the hero/ heroine’s big victory by handing themselves over without a fight. The text-foiled villain made it so easy that the Police Officer didn’t really need to do much to win the victory in the end. A believable villain in a novel will do anything to make his crime statement grand or make him/herself difficult to catch.

Who is your favorite Villain of all time?

One thought on “Creating A Believable Villain – Lessons From Last Week’s Super Sleuth Challenge Answer

  1. I love creating villains. And sometimes it’s hard not to make them too evil. My favorite villain? Probably Hannibal Lecter.

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