Be Afraid – 5 Tips To Creating A Dangerous Villain

Do you remember watching a scary movie as a kid and having nightmares for a week after? I get shivers just thinking about it.

What impressions stood out in your nightmares? Colors, senses, fear, etc. This is the feeling we need to create on the page to make our villain feel dangerous.

All genres have different kinds of villains. In Suspense/Romantic Suspense/Thrillers you usually have the more creepy and physically threatening villains. In other genres you have a softer villain, but they still need to have power over your characters to have maximum punch.

Even if you write Contemporary Romance, you can still build the dangerous villain by making them feel cruel in a personal way.

5 Tips To Creating A Dangerous Villain in Genres Other Than Suspense:

*Bring out their cruel side, by having them do something particularly mean to the heroine/hero early in the novel.

*Show their ego centrism and how everything is about them. The world revolves around the villain.

*Show their arrogance. They believe they know more than anyone else and are thus invincible.

*Showcase the way they look down on everyone else. A strong superiority complex will add to their Danger factor.

*Show their competence at being dangerous. Give them success early on.

5 Tips To Creating A Dangerous Villain in Suspense/Romantic Suspense:

*Research their criminal personality on an FBI Profiling Website to give you tips for unique personality development.

*Weave the senses into your scenes in the Villains point of view to make your reader’s skin crawl. The sense of smell gives the strongest memory response.

*Show their arrogance. They believe they are better than their victims. The victims deserve what they get.

*Give them competence and show their success early in the novel.

*Show the soul darkness that makes them who they are. Reveal it in slices in your scenes to show how they became who they are today.

How do you make your villains feel more dangerous?

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About Michelle Lim

Author Michelle Lim is the Brainstorming/Huddle Coach with My Book Therapy Press and the Midwest Zone Director for American Christian Fiction Writers. Michelle’s romantic suspense is represented by Karen Solem of Spencillhill Associates and has gained contest recognition in the Frasier, the Genesis, and the Phoenix Rattler, winning the Genesis in 2015 for her genre. Michelle writes devotionals for The Christian Pulse Online Magazine and Putting On The New. Since her nonfiction book release, Idea Sparking: How To Brainstorm Conflict In Your Novel, through public speaking and online chats Michelle helps writers discover the revolutionary power of brainstorming to bring new life to their stories.

12 thoughts on “Be Afraid – 5 Tips To Creating A Dangerous Villain

  1. I try to imagine what the hero/heroine holds most dear (Ex. Taking over mom’s restaurant when mom dies) and villain goes after that.
    I appreciate this post. Right now I’m working on a new story that’s not suspense and you gave me some great ideas. Thanks!

  2. Michelle Lim says:

    That’s a great tip, Jackie! Blessings as you write.

  3. Teresa says:

    Nothing says true evil like cruelty to an animal, child, or elderly person

  4. Melissa Tagg says:

    Okay, this may sound silly, but the only movie I remember giving me nightmares as a kid was The Neverending Story. For some reason I was scared to death of the flying dog-dragon thing. I never really watched other scary movies as a kid…

    Great tips!

  5. Wonderfully laid out. I’m getting ready to create a villain. Thanks for the tips.

  6. How do you do this? How did you know I was going to work on my villain this week? The villain for my new book is the guy that everybody likes. He’s a good ol boy. So I’m trying to figure out some ways to make him creepy.

  7. Michelle Lim says:

    Give him a den where he plans his evil. Show the two sides of him if you use his POV. Make pets dislike him, which means people really dislike him too. He is smooth and all about appearances, but behind closed doors he is different. So maybe his wife or close family is less trusting and others notice that. I can brainstorm more if you need more.

  8. Michelle Lim says:

    Sounds good, Pat!

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