10 Tips on How to Create a Supervillain for Your Novel

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August 4, 2017

Crafting the Most Wicked Villain that Readers Won’t Forget


supervillain infographic

Evil comes in many forms. Besides fictional nemesis that thirsts for chaos, there are other forms of evil that show no face—abuse, drug addiction, fear. You’ve probably fought one or two.

Join our authors who’ve also wrestled with their own demons. Whether the abstract or the real archenemies, you too can share your life battles through self-publishing a book. Retell how you’ve conquered them all.

Here are some of the books that proudly show the world that they are more bad-to-the-bone than their badass enemies in life.

books by LitFire Publishing

Are you now creating your supervillain for your fiction novel? Get helpful tips on how to improve and self-publish your novel fast.

image credit: youtube.com GTA 5 Super Villian Mini-Game
Image Credit: youtube.com GTA 5 Super Villian Mini-Game

As a writer, you will always find yourself drafting exciting new characters and character plots backed by the primary character, supporting players, and of course, the “bad man” or woman.

Writing compelling supervillains has lately become a more challenging feat because majority of these villains have been mimicked over time. Their personalities have become overused, resulting in a poor impact on the character. But that can be changed.

This article will teach you to make your own villain, whether it’s a femme fatale, a psychotic, a power-hungry president, or an evil clown. These tips enable you to create a villain that your readers are guaranteed to add to their “favorite enemies” list.

Know your supervillains

Creating a crafty supervillain would not be absolute success without knowledge of types. What ideas for writing a villain are you keen to work on? You’ve heard of the Dark Lord, Joker, or Scar, for instance; now all you need to do is to work out from the categories. The categories are as follows:

  • Psychopath
  • Power hungry
  • Revenge-seeker
  • Mad scientist
  • Evil empire lord
  • Fighter (villains who were usually born out of misfortune, like poverty, injustice)
  • Femme fatale
  • Dark god
  • Lesser-loved sibling
  • Frenemy (an enemy that acts as a friend then performs an act of treachery)
  • Warped good (protagonists at first but were severely wronged)
  • Nemesis (usually a superintelligent and powerful villain that can only be defeated through a hidden weakness)
  • Demons

By having a broader view of the types of villains, you will then be able to form plots that tackle anything, from injustice, desire, religion, to politics. Don’t be afraid to inject all the raw emotion into your villain. Round up at least five unfortunate events that can happen to your character, be they horror, guilt, anger, and allow your villain to smite.


Image Credit: super-villain.wikia.com
Image Credit: super-villain.wikia.com

Fashion your villain in a manner that appeals to readers

To create your own supervillain character, here are a couple of good guidelines to remember:

  • Readers should both love and hate your supervillain. Villains need to have a quality to their persona despite their evil intentions. Example: Lestat from Interview with a Vampire and Dexter in Dexter.
  • Know fully well your villain’s motivations and desires. Focus on one and allow it to embody your supervillain, for example, greed for gold.
  • Your supervillain should have a weakness that still reveals what it means to be human.
  • Create a villain that is believable; the more believable and terrifying, the easier it is for the reader to imagine the villain. Readers love monstrous, ghastly, and refreshing villains they’ve never seen.
  • Your supervillain should take away something of value from the protagonist. Allow the protagonist to teeter in confusion and loss. Allow your protagonist to tremble in even the slightest fear at the thought or sight of your raging supervillain. It’s evil, but it has to be done.
  • Design your own evil character with an effective backstory that gives your supervillain motivation from start to finish. For example, Loki in The Avengers is bent on becoming ruler and most powerful of all.
  • Create an intriguing and clashing relationship between both the protagonist and the antagonist. They may be complete opposites and differentiating reflections of each other. For example: The evil and darkness of Lord Voldemort and the goodness and light of Harry Potter. The protagonist and antagonist had these in common: they were orphans, and are half-blood wizards whose strength is derived from their emotions of hatred and love. When you design your own character, the protagonist and the antagonist should have just as convincing histories and motives. Stark contrast makes for a lovable, engaging plot.


Follow-up example: the protagonist is down-to-earth and compassionate while your antagonist brash and selfish.

  • Allow your supervillain to compel the hero to save the day. Not all protagonists start out brave and strong. Look at Oliver Twist, for instance. The moment your hero is confronted with a difficult, life-changing experience, he/she will be challenged and fully motivated to eventually grow as a savior.
  • The ending does not necessarily have to be “happy.” If you’ve fashioned your villain well with conflict, don’t allow easy defeat for your villain during the climax and denouement.

Certainly, these tips will prevent you from stumbling on the same horrible clichés. Now you know how not to completely follow a common archetype. It’s okay to take inspiration from the psychotic, evil empire lord, or warped good models, but remember to make your own supervillain capture its own unique, venomous characteristics. Enjoy creating your evil character!


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