Recently I started writing from my WIP Golden Revenge's villain's perspective: Queen Ela. It wasn't until I was several scenes in, completely wrapped up in her narrative style, that I realized how little I knew about her.
As they say, you don't understand someone until you
Why do I love writing in villains' perspectives, you ask? Well, here's why:
1) Villain is Treated as the Protagonist
I am a strong believer that every character considers themselves the hero of their own story, which is why I love writing and reading books with multiple POVs. When I'm writing in Queen Ela's POV, she has her own challenges and story arc. She has her own thoughts and life goals apart from crushing whoever threatens her rule.
Villains and antagonists should not be paper cut-outs plugged into a story just to cause conflict or make your protagonists heroines and heroes. Villains are often messed up, yes, but they are people too.
2) Not Seen Through Tainted Lenses
To explain this one, I'll draw from Queen Ela. To the other characters in my WIP, she is wicked, magically obsessed, and power hungry. But Queen Ela doesn't see herself as any of those things; she hurts others because she believes it will protect her family. And magic is her passion and her gift, so of course she thinks she has the right to use it.
When in her POV, readers can understand how she sees herself and justifies her actions.
3) Experience the Villain's Softer Side
Through the POV of the protagonist, often the only time the villain comes out and shows their face is when they want to maim or murder the protagonist. Every character should have several sides to them, and this would only being showing a single face of the villain's.
In Queen Ela's POV, I was able to explore the relationships she had with her loving husband, and two children. She would do anything for them. No character is completely evil (I hope), and showing their soft side makes them realistic.
I'd love to know, have you ever written from a villain's perspective? What do you like/not like about it? Are there any books with a villain's POV that you adored?