The Villain – Clichés that immediately destroy your writing

The Villain - The clichés that immediately destroy your writing

When writing a book, one of the most common problems is to fall into the usual clichés. This is especially true when it comes to creating villain characters. Villains are an important part of any story, but it is easy to fall into the trap of creating a character that is little more than a cliché.

Literature contains thousands of years of different stories and ideas so it is virtually impossible to create something that has never been written by anyone. In fact, that is not our goal. We just try to avoid using other people’s ideas and instead give literature our own twist.

Related article: How to write a villain that readers will Love to Hate

Here are…

The most common villain clichés to avoid in your writing

Villain – The clichés that immediately destroy your writing (with ideas for improvement).

The most common villain clichés to avoid in your writing

The villain who loves classical music

The cliché of the villain who loves classical music is a common trait in many movies and books. This cliché can be problematic because it is often used as an easy way to create a sophisticated and intelligent villain character.

This hobby is often accompanied by a love of chess, but even this has been used far too many times and now has no effect on the reader.

How to improve this idea:

Find your villain another hobby, something to which you can give a more personal touch.

Example: Moriarty loves opera and singing. This turns out to be a very interesting touch for the character in fact in one scene he is shown covering Sherlock Holmes’ screams of pain with his singing.

The villain who wants to conquer the world

The cliché of the villain who wants to conquer the world has been done and re-done so many times that it has now lost its effect. T

his type of character is often underdeveloped, has no past to explain what he has become and lacks credible motivations. Try to create a villain with a more specific and credible purpose.

How to improve this idea:

Give him sensible motivations. Why does he want to conquer the world?
To destroy it or to save it? In the case of the second option, why does he think he is the right person to do it?
If he wants to destroy it instead he will need a big motivation. Why would he resent the whole world?
And don’t use the usual ‘two people let him down so all human beings are bad’. Try to create a character with a unique world view.

Example: you could create a villain who believes that the world needs to be conquered to save mankind from itself, or a villain who believes that conquering the world is the only way to achieve peace (if only one is in charge there is no war).

The villain who doesn’t kill the hero when they have the chance

How many times have you found yourself railing against a screen because the villain instead of attacking the hero starts chatting and having tea.

A villain who, when he comes to the point, does nothing with his advantage is a villain who is not scary. The reader feels nothing if he knows he has nothing to lose.

How to improve this idea:

The villain will always try to hurt his enemy, especially if he has finally caught him. Of course you want to leave that character alive but that doesn’t mean he has to remain unharmed. It makes sense that after all that effort in capturing his enemy, the villain wants to torture him either psychologically or physically.

Or he may harm someone dear to the protagonist while he is powerless to watch. The higher the risk, the more the reader will cling to the pages of the book to know how it ends.

Related article: 16 Easy Ways to Improve Your Writing Skills

The villain who only kills unimportant characters

This goes hand in hand with what I said above. Without danger there is no anxiety and fear. It is not enough to say it, the villain must show that he is evil. Many times I see writers say that a character is cruel, a ruthless killer, without ever showing us actions that demonstrate this surprising cruelty.

Remember the usual rule: Show don’t tell.

How to improve this idea:

Simple, let him hurt important characters. Even friends and relatives of the protagonist. Let them see the destruction the villain leaves in his wake.

And there is more than just death. Depending on the powers the villain has at his disposal, he could drive characters mad. Make them unstable, paranoid. Play with your story, if you can do worse, don’t stop.

The villain who is only bad for the sake of being bad

The villain who is just bad for the sake of being bad is another common cliché. This type of character seems to have no motivation or reason for his actions. Of course, there are people who hurt people precisely because they like doing it, but even they have a story to explain it.

Not one that justifies it, but one that tells us why they became this way.

How to improve this idea:

Voldemort from Harry Potter is not justified by his childhood, but it is known that he did what he did because he cannot feel love. So the only thing that gives him joy is power.

The villain, even the most psychopathic, must have a purpose to explain his cruel actions. Something he cannot have by pretending to be good.

The Villain - The clichés that immediately destroy your writing

If you found this article useful, subscribe to the newsletter and Pinterest profile so you don’t miss any new writing tips!

Related articles

If you liked this article, you may also find the following articles helpful:

5 Unique Websites To Improve Your Writing Now

How to make money writing online + Red Flags To Watch For

How To Write More interesting scenes that capture the reader (5 things you are doing wrong)

The best writing tips found on the web – Not to be missed

Potrebbe piacerti...