Saturday, November 11, 2017

Tips for Creating A Villain

by Elva Cobb Martin

Villains are important in most  genres, and I've studied quite a lot about how to write about these bad guys (or gals). 

A writer friend, Katherine McDermott, wrote:"In creating romantic suspense the "bad guy" is just as important, if not more important, than the hero and heroine. He must be a "real" person with legitimate motives and his own back story; otherwise, you end up writing a melodrama with stock characters like Dudley Do-right and Snidely Whiplash."

I created a powerful villain by the name of Byron Pitt in my novel, In a Pirate's Debt available at . I gave him a terrible scar on his face that occurred in a sword fight with the hero captain. He was also jealous of the captain and wanted revenge for the scar. I gave him motive and opportunity to seek revenge, increasing the conflict in the story.

In my contemporary romantic suspense novel, Summer of Deception, available at I wrote in a mercenary, immoral, cowboy villain, Dakota, who had it in for the hero Luke, but I gave this bad guy a piece of a heart. He dropped his girlfriend when she refused to get an abortion, but he also sent money to her regularly and had an account set up to pay for the hospital and doctor for the baby's birth.

In my study I found a great description for a villain written in the Bible. Check out Proverbs 6:12-14, here in the Amplified Bible version. Do you see the body language described?

A worthless person, a wicked man, is he who goes about with a perverse (contrary, wayward) mouth. He winks with his eyes, he speaks by shuffling or tapping with his feet, he makes signs (to mislead and deceive) and teaches with his fingers. Willful and contrary in his heart, he devises trouble, vexation, and evil continually; he lets loose discord and sows it.

Do you have a tip for creating a good villain? Leave a comment.
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Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both have spent time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, her blog, on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest
Link to my romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: