What Makes the Bad Guy Bad

I’m starting my rewrites in my new book, and I’m faced with the major problem that I don’t know a thing about my bad guy. I’ve finally figured out who he is, but I don’t know WHO he IS, if you get my meaning. I don’t really know how to make him real.

And face it, if you don’t have a believable bad guy, you don’t have much of a story. Because the bad guy is just as important as your main character. If he doesn’t have any motivation, if he doesn’t seem real, then the reader won’t care what he does and the main character’s struggle won’t be engaging.

That brings me to my question – who is the scariest villain you can think of? What makes  him or her scary? Give me a hand and tell me what you think.

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2 thoughts on “What Makes the Bad Guy Bad

  1. This is such an interesting question. I agree that villains should have a motive. I’ve read a number of books where the villain just seems to delight in being cruel…but that’s not believable to me. If you don’t get something out of the effort of being evil, what’s the point? I don’t think people are just born evil, so there’s no way some people just think it’s fun. I think villains need both a backstory (how did they start to become this way?) and an immediate goal (what are they getting out of their actions now?)

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    1. Yeah, I agree that motive is really important. I think most villains honestly believe they’re in the right. That’s what makes them able to ignore what other people think. Even a “crazy” person has a reason to act the way they do. “Just because” is not a believable reason.

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