Fear is one thing I understand too well. Maybe that’s why I’m a romantic suspense writer. I can imagine all of the danger in everyday things. From dark parking lots to meatloaf, my imagination can run wild.
Although, my husband wasn’t too excited when I mentioned that I couldn’t use the washing machine. You know, that whole ‘do not use heavy machinery while taking this medicine’ label. A girl can try.
But seriously, the best suspense novels have creepy villains. The ones that make your skin crawl and your heart pound.
How can you make your villain more creepy?
*Give your villain a den of iniquity. This first tip I got from author Rachel Hauck. Give your villain a place to go to showcase their wickedness and plot their evil. A shack in the woods, a basement, an attic. Somewhere you can make the objects surrounding the villain more creepy. Then be sure to mention the creepy setting in developing the mood for your scene.
*Make your villain arrogant. On the psychological level many villains feel they are invincible or better than their prey. By showing this side of them, it adds to their profile. They look down on others as being inferior through their thoughts and actions.
*Make your villain powerful. This tip I learned from Susan May Warren. You need to show the strength and power of your villain to make it feel like the danger is real and difficult to overcome for the hero/heroine.
*Set A Creepy Mood. This can be done by the noticed objects, lighting, sounds, weather and location of the villain.
*Put the villain in close proximity to the hero/heroine. The closer the better. Have the villain leaving threats, watching the hero/heroine or brushing up with them in everyday life. It is especially creepy to have the villain in an everyday setting with the hero/heroine, but they are unaware of the villain’s identity.
*Research the FBI profile of your villain. You can search online to find the FBI profile for different types of offenders. These can be helpful in building a believable and creepy villain.
*Villains do creepy things. In setting up the history or current life of a villain, be sure to include one or two creepy behaviors. Cleaning their teeth with a knife blade. Carving initials in their arm. Or even actual crimes.
*Villain verbs. Use verbs in your villain scenes that have a nuance of danger or evil. Make a verb bank to draw on in your villain scenes to make sure that you utilize power words.
What villain qualities in novels or movies creep you out?