Writing From a Villain's Perspective

     If you're anything like me, you probably spend more time creating your villain than your actually protagonist. The villain has a tragic backstory, maybe people they care for or love, motives, and beyond. I tend to get very attached to my villains, both repulsed and intrigued by them at the same time.

     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 walk in their shoes write in their perspective.



     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 heroesVillains 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?

Comments

  1. Omg!! Aeduan from Truthwitch was a villain I really loved. HE IS MY SMOL BEAN AND I PITY HIM SO MUCH. I actually want him to win?? What is this??

    Ellie | On the Other Side of Reality

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    1. I haven't read Truthwitch yet (sadly not in local bookstores right now) but I often find myself rooting for villains too! I think it's because we pity them?? XD Thanks for commenting, Ellie! :D

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  2. I've never written from a villain's perspective, but I do enjoy knowing a lot about them. One villain I always loved, even though he's from a movie, is Loki from Thor. I feel for him.

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    1. I also love Loki for the same reason. Poor thing. I would definitely recommend writing in a villain's perspective just for fun or to include in your writing. Thanks for dropping by Rachel! XD

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  3. I love writing from the villain's perspective! I find that villains tend to be the most complex characters because there has to be some reason for them to act as they do, so it's fun to explore their back stories.

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    1. Exploring their backstories is so fun! Plus it helps me understand my villains and their motivations. Thank you for commenting, Laura! :D

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  4. Ohhh I like your points SO MUCH. And yes, I LOVE writing villains. 😂 Actually, okay confession....I mostly write from the villains' perspectives anyway. haha. I mean, I make them anti-heroes but strictly speaking, they're usually the villainous ones. Right now I'm plotting this epic fantasy set in Russia and it's the villain origin story and IT'S GOING TO BE SO FUN. It's actually interesting to have the "Hero" character be the secondary character really. *nods*
    (Also I love villains with soft sides. <3 It always makes me kind of fall for them a little, hehe. AND definitely makes them more human! I loathe the villains who have no purpose or point, and they're "just evil". Ugh. Weak writing, I think.)

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    1. Thanks Cait! Oh I love anti-heroes! I've written quite a few of them as well, simply because they're so intriguing yet I half hate them at the same time. Your story sounds so fun! Villain origin stories for the win. XD It always makes me feel caught in the middle if villain's have soft sides, because I want them to become good but I also want them to be defeated all at once. Oh yeah, definitely weak writing. Villains should totally have purposes. Thanks so much for reading and commenting! :D

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  5. Aah, this is so great! I completely agree with everything. I've always been more drawn to the villain side of the narrative, because I've always found the great villains more nuanced and psychologically pleasing. :P I have yet to write a book in a villain's perspective (although I have one planned), but in one of my older works, the villain gets to share a large portion of his viewpoint and some points from his history, and it makes it harder for my MC to defeat him. :)

    Great post! :)

    Thanks for visiting Out of Coffee, Out of Mind! :)

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    1. Aw thank you Liz! I've yet to write a book totally in a villain's perspective too, but about a quarter of the scenes in my WIP are from the villain. It's always great to learn more about villains, especially if it makes it harder for the MCs to defeat them. Thank you so much for commenting! XD

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  6. Villains definitely need to believe they're the hero of the story. They have to justify their actions to do them. Right?

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Totally right! If they don't justify their actions, then they wouldn't be doing them. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Victoria! :D

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