How do you write a good Villain?

I’ve been wondering for a while about how people write good villains in their stories.

I recently started writing a fantasy/science fiction story where magic is an important aspect of the universe. I created the antagonist to be someone who can use magic throughout the story.

The main problem is that I really don’t want the villain to seem that cliché. I’ve read a lot of stories where you have individuals that are trying to take over the world and stuff, so I want my character to be different.

  • Is there a way that I can create a villain that is still relatable yet irredeemable in his actions?
  • How do you describe the thoughts of an antagonist that make it seem like whatever they are doing is correct even though, to the reader, it obviously isn’t?

Any tips will be greatly appreciated ~


I think one of the most important things is to ensure that a villain has a good motivation. A villain who is just doing evil for the sake of doing evil can lead to a good character study, but it’s hard to make a character like that relatable because the general public isn’t like that… evil for the sake of evil.


Make them a reflection of the protag. That’s what marvel always does and hey, it works.


Hey there!
One thing to keep in mind when writing about antagonists, is they should have a motive. Ask yourself, why do they do what they do? If the answer is “because they’re evil”, that means your villain is completely flat and it’s time to change that. What is their motive? What are they trying to achieve or change? Is it money? Revenge? Power?
Just some thing that I keep in mind when writing my novel ^-^ For more I suggest checking out the wonderful YouTube channel Writing With Jenna Moreci, she’s got some amazing tips and a whole video about writing antagonists and villains. Good luck!!


Start by filling in the motivations and goals for the character.

Goal : being the most powerful creature
Motivation : Thier was a situation where they felt powerless and lost something they valued more than their life. So they vowed to become powerful.
How their actions made them evil: They ruined others simply to gain power and put others in the same situation that they were in.
Realization: They put others in the situation, that they are trying to run from.
Only include the realization if you want your character to be good or redeem themselves in the end


Consider not letting them be cheesy, too. If a villain in an episode story wears a skull mask all the time and is like “soon, nothing shall stop me!” ima laugh.


Thanks all for your contributions ~

What constitutes as good motivation? There are many plot ideas out there that seem fake, so that’s why I’m asking.

So far, my character is trying to destroy magic in all the realms because that is what he thinks will help. People who are powerful magic users can take advantage of people who aren’t as powerful and he wants to prevent that. To make everyone even, he is planning to get rid of magic once and for all.

The protagonist, on the other hand, is trying to save magic because of how everyone’s lives mostly depend on it.

I hope it’s a good enough plot.

I will definitely keep that in mind. I love marvel movies ~

Thanks, I will check that out.

I love the chart you included there. I will definitely reference that later.

I like how you included a realization part. Redemptions arcs are really heckn’ hard to write but are sometimes worth it.


Actually, now that you mention costumes, what would be a good outfit? Do villains ever wear casual outfits, and if so, how do people recognize them as evil?

Depends on setting, right? And maybe what kind of magic they do.

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They just have generic elemental magic and most of the story takes place in a futuristic city.


When writing villains make sure they have a proper motivation. You want them to have a reason for doing what they do, and I believe that the best villains the audience can vouch for or make a proper argument for. A great way to do that is to check if you villain could possibly turn your hero to the “darkside”. A great way to make a villain is to have them mysterious/hiding in plain sight. I recommend your villain have henchman and those henchman have a boss that’s not the main villain. Sort of like thanos he had loki do the work for him. Making the hero’s believe loki was the big baddie because loki had henchmen and all even though it was thanos the whole time. Those are just my tips!

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Ah yes, villain hierarchy. It would definitely make it harder for the protagonist. This somehow makes me think of a video game where you fight a series of bosses before reaching the endgame boss.


Oh man I love urban fantasy.
Black & red are go-tos ofc, unless the villain is an authority figure. If they’re a corrupt mayor or a power-hungry tech billionaire, someone people would trust, that’s different.

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Ahhhhhh - love the outfits.

Nah, my guy is just the equivalent of a noble in a kingdom. I feel like the classy outfits would definitely be his thing. Killing people with style ~

Black and red is a great combo.

Yep! That’s exactly it!

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Just gonna leave this here for ya:

I’m terrible at writing villains tbh, none of my villains exceed mid tier. :frowning_face:


Goal : Destroy all magic

Motivation: His parents never used magic calling it a shortcut. They worked all their lives to get a steady lifestyle. They were treated poorly by magicians because of the disproavil of magic. They thaught him to not rely on magic and so he tries to show everyone that.
Realization: He can’t treat those who love magic like how the magicians treated his parents

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Personally, I think your villain’s goal/motivation is better than the protag’s, making it that Elder God tier that @Scarlet_Sapphire mentioned, so I think you’re definitely in the green villain-wise.

Regarding your question, I would say a good motivation follows through on a few important points:

  1. The motivation makes sense with the character and their personality. Ex: A serial perfectionist with the goal to create universal chaos doesn’t make a lot of sense, unless it is well explained by the author with a twist or something. (Not the greatest example, but you get my point)
  2. The motivation isn’t petty, such as “you took my xxx, prepare to die” (but if it is, the villain’s personality should make sense for it to be so)
  3. The motivation creates an obvious path to the goal and subsequently endgame. If the motive is “you killed my father” the goal/endgame shouldn’t be “I’m going to destroy the whole universe”

Keep in mind, however, that this is based entirely on my opinion and preferences, so if anyone has a different perspective, please let me know because I would love to hear it!


this helped me a lot.

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Haha, thanks. I originally thought that the motivation was more or less cringy, but at least it doesn’t seem to be that common.

According to the pic that @Scarlet_Sapphire mentioned, the Elder God tier does appeal to me the most. I do like the idea of complicated villains and heroes. Either way, the whole good/bad thing is all based on perspective. When the lines are more blurred, then it’s closer to real life and will feel more believable.