And you want to take over the world because…?

Not just the villain, but a key part of the whole story
Not just the villain, but a key part of the whole story

So you’ve got your protagonist’s story planned all the way through. Beginning to end. You know what they want and what they need. That character arc is firmly in place.

What about your antagonist?

Have you put as much effort into developing their story? Do you explain why they’re doing this? What do they seek to gain from their actions?

A lot of the time, the bad guy is the more interesting character, so why wouldn’t you make just as much of an effort on fleshing them out?

The character we identify as the villain should see themselves as the hero of their story, with your protagonist the one standing in their way of achieving their goal.

Maybe there’s a previously-existing connection between the two, which can be gradually revealed as the story progresses.

How often has a writer explained the “why” behind the antagonist with a casual “Because they’re bad”?  Readers and audiences want a little more depth than that.

This isn’t saying you need to come up with an extensive backstory about their past and what led them down this path.  A few lines of dialogue can be just the thing to provide the reason why they’re doing this.

You’ve already spent a lot of time developing your hero’s journey. It only makes sense to do the same for the villain.

One thought on “And you want to take over the world because…?

  1. Spot on. I find more often than not that any story problems come from not having developed the bad guy and his scheme well enough. When I pull back to take care of that gap, suddenly the story surges forward. My current effort is the most recent example. A great hero is nothing without a great villain, but too often the villain is only there to shout “Kill Bond now!” and the story suffers for it.

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