One simple rule for writing great villains

msi crestVillains are important in any story, and as a writer I find myself enjoying the bad guys almost as much as the good guys.

The time-tested but oft-forgotten golden rule of creating villains is that each of them should be heroes in their own minds.  Sure, their goals might be horrible, destructive, selfish, or immoral, but the best villains have good reasons to want these things and they’re willing to make sacrifices to get them.

If they aren’t worthy of the good guys, then the good guys aren’t worthy.

In Mad Science Institute, we got to meet a few of my favorite baddies: Brick, the gigantic, ill-educated biker, along with the sarcastically smug Professor. They’re both back in The Non-Zombie Apocalypse, but there’s someone else, too: a creepy woman who’s been stalking Soap around campus.

The creeper’s agenda clearly runs counter to that of the Professor, but her own schemes seem plenty poisonous without his help. What she wants from Soap is a mystery, and when she finally reveals her true motivations, several seemingly bizarre events will suddenly make sense to the students of the Institute.

One of my most common pieces of advice to young writers is that your villains are as important as your heroes. If you don’t take them seriously, who will?



About Sechin Tower

Sechin Tower is a teacher, game developer, and author of MAD SCIENCE INSTITUTE, a novel of creatures, calamities, and college matriculation. He lives in Seattle, Washington.
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