How to Let Your Hero Beat Your Villain – Villain’s Tragic Flaw

We know that our heroes are imperfect and throughout our novel we helped them to grow and change, but what about those pesky villains?

Villains have incredible power, or they would be no challenge for our hero or heroine. But they also must have something that is their undoing. Each villain has a tragic flaw that puts them in a position to lose it all.

Check out the end of some of these Pixar Villains:

There are wide range of things that get in a villain’s way as a tragic flaw. Here are some examples:

*Prince Humperdink in Princess Bride – His Vanity is a tragic flaw. It is the reason he won’t fight at the end because he is afraid to be physically marred for life. He feared that more than death.

*Sid Phillips in Toy Story – In the end it is Sid’s cruelty that is his undoing. If he hadn’t been so outright cruel, the toys might not have banded together to defeat him. They may have been satisfied with being saved.

*King Edward I in Braveheart- His craving for power is his undoing in that he is unable to sway the quest for freedom or destroy the courage of one man who represents his opposition.

*Poison Ivy in Batman- Poison Ivy’s connection with nature and chemistry allow her to subdue her subjects. But she is killed by one of the plants when she has no healthy understanding of her own infallibility. Her pride that she will never be defeated by another woman is cut down and she loses.

Villains are often challenged in a few key ways. They develop unhealthy aspirations in one of the following areas- greed, pride, power, romance or intamacy, and vanity.  Or you might find other things such as jealousy or control.

Building a fatal flaw in a villain helps you create the unraveling of their power and loss to the hero or heroine.

What tragic flaws have you seen in a villain?

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.

6 thoughts on “How to Let Your Hero Beat Your Villain – Villain’s Tragic Flaw

  1. Most of my villains are driven by greed and fear of being found out. This is a keeper for my villain file.

  2. jackielayton says:

    Great post. Thanks for sharing, Michelle!

  3. […] How to Let Your Hero Beat Your Villain – Villain’s Tragic Flaw. […]

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