13 Villain Cliches to Avoid

13 Villain Cliches to Avoid
June 27, 2017 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Advice J.K. Allen

Villains can be a powerful force in our stories. After all, there is no story without conflict and villains provide that conflict. But too often, villains turn into clichés. Let’s look at 13 villain clichés to avoid.

  • He wears all black, with maybe flashes of blood red.
  • He has black eyes that bore into you.
  • She wears revealing clothing and tries to seduce everyone who breathes near her.
  • He has ugly and/or dumb minions who foil his plans.
  • He is pure evil. There’s no real reason to his actions other than he wants to be evil for the sake of being evil.
  • His name includes black, dark, or lord in any language.
  • He sets convoluted traps for the hero that they can escape from.

  • He monologues. This often goes along with the convoluted traps. He explain all his evil plans, step by step, solely to inform the hero of exactly what is going on right before they are supposed to die.
  • He laughs maniacally. And maybe twirls his mustache too.
  • He is scarred or disfigured. And maybe it’s the good guy’s fault.
  • He keeps coming back. Even after he’s been killed.
  • He has a mental condition. People with mental conditions are far more likely to be the victim of violence than the perpetrator of it, but this is skewed in this cliché.
  • He is the evil advisor to the king or the evil king himself.
  • The best ways to avoid clichés is to make your character complex. Move beyond the black and white and give him plenty of grey areas. Give him a personality, a flaw that affects his actions, and a goal to work towards. Motivation can be a very powerful thing. Give your villain a reason for doing what he’s doing beyond just for the sake of being bad. Read more about antagonists here and move beyond the cliché.

    [Tweet theme=”tweet-string”]The best ways to avoid clichés is to make your character complex. @hijinkswriter #writingtips #setting[/Tweet]

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    J.K. Allen Julia Allen received her BA in Creative Writing and English from Michigan State University. She did her senior thesis in poetry under the tutelage of Diane Wakoski, but has been focused primarily on fiction as of late. Common writing themes that can be found in her work address identity and the type of strength that can be found in ordinary people. Julia is currently working on a Young Adult fantasy novel and can be found at local cafes in her hometown when writing, and painting, drawing, or reading when not.

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