How to write evil characters?

“Why is the character evil?”

That’s one of the questions many of us have when we read or see a villain, and the reason for the evil actions of a character has to be known.

People can pity or hate an evil character, decide which one you want for yours, and built it on that.

Now, I’m going to tell you the two reasons you can have.

1. “Reason for the evil”

A character’s background will be the reason he became evil, the motive for his action, and the reason for his overall evil and darkness.

Things you can make a part of your character background:

  • Childhood trauma
  • Adult trauma
  • Losing a loved one
  • Mental illness

These are some of the reasons you could use, emotional ones that will make your reader feel sorry for the villain, pity him, and understand him. An antagonist with a reason to be evil is a character that people will understand, support, and like, a character with an obvious goal -like revenge- the people could follow.

P.S. This is also the type of evil character readers like most!

2. “Evil for the sake of evil”

A character who’s evil for the sake of evil has a chance of being more hatted, his reason won’t be understood by all, because his reason will be “for his pleasure”. This type of character will do evil actions just because he wants to, he likes to. It will be the type of person that we could call, “born evil”.

Even if, this is a valid reason for your character’s evil actions because people to be evil sometimes, without reason, make sure to give your antagonist some depth, a goal at least, maybe something good they want to achieve, but they do it in a bad way.

No matter the reasoning you choose for your antagonist, try building him, his darkness. If you choose the first reason, describe to the reader the antagonist’s feelings that made him become like that. If you choose the second reason, describe to the reader the feeling the antagonist has when doing something bad, a feeling that makes him continue doing bad.

Usually, this type of antagonist also has a reason, but it’s a reason that seems unimportant, or not good enough to support his bad deeds, and “Frustration” can be one of those.

5 tips on writing your evil character:

1. If you want your main character to be evil, give him reasoning, something the reader can understand, something you can build on. A story from the perspective of an “evil for the sake of evil” antagonist might be very hard to write and harder for others to like or understand.

2. Try not to make your character have that cliche attitude, with an “evil laugh” and so on, a “muhaha, i am so evil” will not make your reader believe you.

3. Usually, a real person – doesn’t matter how evil-, has something they love or care about, so give your character weaknesses.

4. Make sure your character is evil, not crazy.

5. Give your character motivation and authenticity.

Also remember that most of the time, an evil person doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation, believing they do something good, so keep that in mind while writing your evil character.

And of course, last but not least, see what antagonists you like, how are they built and what are their purposes in the story.


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