What Makes A Fantastic Antagonist?

To me, a villain can make a book as much it can break it. A horrible villain is one whose motivations are nil, or are just plain horrible. Or if it passes the logic test, simply doesn’t have any reason to why he would pursue it. 

My favourite kind of villain are those who simply use the wrong methods but have a dream that could have been achievable. Or really makes the protagonist doubt himself and his beliefs. 

A villain should simply stand on the other end against the protagonist. He should always have a goal. He should always have a real motivation, and one which can be explained through his back story. 

So, here are some of my tips when it comes to making a villain.

#1 Figure Out His Personality

This is the first and foremost you should do, a villain can be extremely sympathetic should he be characterized well enough. Such as his motivations for it sometimes he could also be seen doing something good. Sometimes he has pity, because the person reminded him of someone who showed him warmth in the past. Their personality can also be what pushes them onto the dark path in the first place. 

#2 Linking His Back story to his actions 

Each one of us sometimes does decisions because of something we have experienced. And most of us have certain traits that we picked up from our past selves. So, this is important. A logical motivation can be supported by his experiences and push him to the brink. And at the same time make it plausible that he could have become a hero instead, or he could have chosen not to do all the horrendous deeds he has done. 

Motives are everything basically to a villain. And they should justify what they have become, and why they became like that. Their personality is one driving force, and their backstory simply justifies the rest. 

#3 Include Some Redeemable Traits 

This is important too, since no one can be completed black or made of nothing but the black abyss. There has to be something good about them, even if it is only a semblance of it. But it is still good. And that is important to making a villain more believable, that they simply made the wrong choices at the wrong time. 

This are all my tips on making a fantastic villain. And really, it all comes down to personality and backstory in my opinion. Even the opposition of beliefs too. But if you have any other opinions, leave it here. I would love to hear from you about what you think makes a fantastic villain. 

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2 thoughts on “What Makes A Fantastic Antagonist?

  1. What an excellent post; I agree with pretty much everything you said. I don’t like antagonists who are just evil for the sake of being evil as it’s not believable. An antagonist is much more interesting if an author makes the effort to depict them as an actual person with feelings and emotions (even if they are negative) because it makes their motivations and actions believable.

    If you haven’t read it, you should read Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay which features an antagonist I think you would like a lot. The character is called Brandin, a sorcerer king who does terrible things to punish the population of a land he has conquered, but it’s hard to hate him for it because his actions are motivated by his love for his dead son.

    Liked by 1 person

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