First off, I apologize for being a day late in posting. The headache monster visited yesterday, so I got little of my work accomplished.
Villains are tricky. We as writers often see the villain as a tool, two dimensional concept of evil…as a reader though I am here to tell you that is the end of a story. Even worse than plot holes, a two dimensional villain is enough to ruin an otherwise great story.
I have a sure fire way of testing my villains. I give them flaws, make them as realistic as I can. Then I imagine them in town and let the mental movie unfold… I as I am watching ask myself three questions…
1) Is the character sympathetic? A villain who we can sympathize with will make the story more interesting. Also I am one who thinks that the story should leave the reader wondering if they are happy with the villains defeat.
2) Is there a way to defeat the villain? Though I think that the villains defeat should raise questions about how the reader feels about it, defeat is usually in the life of a villain. And a overpowering villain is often no fun for the hero… Unless the story is not supposed to get the happy ending.
3) what are the traits that are showing up most with your villain? Has s he/ she got flaws or traits that you should pay closer attention to? A good villain often has fears, and accomplishments that they are proud of. This makes a far more rounded character. Villains are still characters, and the story is best when you treat them as such!