The Villain Part III: The Plot

The Villain Part III: The Plot

Every villain has a plot, some nefarious scheme structured to undermine the hero, law and order, even the world itself. The villain’s plot is vital to the structure of the villain him/herself as it is the physical representation of their inner motives. Being that the villain’s plot is so critical to both the villain and the main plot in general, there are several points one should keep in mind:

Keep the Plot Relative to the Intensity of the Villain

Though rather wordy, this concept is based around the idea that the villain’s scheme should be on par with the level of “villainy” the character is on. For example, if one is writing a YA novel about a high school football team and the villain is the coach of the opposing team, it would probably be considered overboard for “Coach Evil” to construct a nuclear bomb. Conversely, if one is writing a gritty detective novel, a villain whose sole delight is jaywalking and littering is probably a little tame.

The Plot is an Extension of Personality

As mentioned earlier, the villain’s plot is the physical manifestation of his/her own motivations. Thus, the plot itself should contain certain telltale signs or “fingerprints” indicative of the villain. If the villain is known for being calculating and manipulative, one could expect to find an elusive conspiracy as his/her MO. Conversely, if the villain is harsh, loud, and violent, one would expect some explosive, attention drawing crime or plot.

How Does the Plot Affect the Protagonist?

At the end of the day, everything revolves around the protagonist, including the villain’s plot. Keep in mind therefore that it is necessary to effectively communicate how and in what way the villain’s plot affects the hero, both physically and personally. There are many different ways this can be accomplished, but as much as possible, try to make it a point to construct the villain’s plot in such a manner that it “hits home” for the hero in a very real and personal way. This will create a deeply engaging story and will solidify the hero’s resolve to undo/prevent the villain’s scheme.

How Does the Plot Affect the Villain?

Lastly, how is the villain affected by his/her own plot? What do they stand to gain/lose from the success or failure of the plots implementation? What is the motivation behind the plot? As much as possible avoid the “faceless villain with a faceless crime.” A villain who is bad for the sake of being bad is not only hopelessly uninteresting, but also shows weakness on the side of the writer and an inability to properly construct an interesting story. No one does anything solely for the sake of doing it. Give the audience the reasoning and motivation behind the plot.

For many stories, the villain’s plot is the prominent dilemma of the entire story. Care should be taken to construct a detailed plot realistic to the character of the villain. A compelling plot will keep your audience captivated, waiting with bated breath for the resolution, whilst a weak plot will send them searching for a more stimulating story.

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