3 Tips To Brainstorming A Captivating Antagonist Or Villain

Photo by Ear Candy

Photo by Ear Candy

There is nothing as suspenseful as a creepy villain or cunning antagonist. Books like Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn and Sail by James Patterson draw their reader in by their intense villains. Regardless of the genre, an author needs to pull in an antagonist or villain to build the tension in their novel.

How can you brainstorm a captivating antagonist or villain?

The key to developing an antagonist or villain that captivates the reader is all in the purposeful brainstorming strategies to create them.

Just as an author brainstorms the backstory and characteristics of the hero and heroine, it is necessary to brainstorm the backstory and characteristics of a villain.

3 Tips To Brainstorm A Captivating Villain or Antagonist:

*Brainstorm what formed the villain/antagonist. A villain/antagonist is created by the combination of environment, intellect, and personal qualities. In determining what formed the villain/antagonist, the author can determine what motivates their actions in the story. This will make the villain/antagonist more believeable and more able to add conflict.

*Brainstorm the elements of their private world. This is the lair where they obsess over their villainous actions. Writing mentor Rachel Hauck taught me the key of setting up this world for the villain or antagonist. The antagonist might enjoy plotting at their desk, scribbling over the faces in a year book. A villain might have a grungy shack in the woods where (s)he keeps their trophies.

*Brainstorm a public persona. Determine what face your antagonist/villain shows the rest of the community. Are they a loner, the next mayor, or a down and outer. Build this piece till it is deeply layered. It will allow you to place the antagonist/villain right next to your hero/heroine, ratcheting up the tension. Then determine the secrets that they might hide with their facade.

What is your favorite villain or antagonist in literature?

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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.

4 thoughts on “3 Tips To Brainstorming A Captivating Antagonist Or Villain

  1. Hanibal Lecter, of course. 🙂 Great points!

  2. I’m not sure if he perfectly fits either category, but probably Rhett Butler.

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