Advice on Creating Villainous Characters in Fiction

To create realistic and interesting villainous characters, author, teacher, writing coach, and speaker Mandy Jackson-Beverly recommends turning to psychological research. For her own research, she's read psychology magazines and Dr. M. Scott Peck’s People of the Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil to better understand what makes a person evil, and what different “types” of evil there are. Even if you are writing supernatural characters and not actual people, you can use the human element as a starting point. This research will also help you create comprehensive character descriptions, which are crucial to have before you write, says Jackson-Beverly. Otherwise, you aren’t able to understand how your characters will react in a given situation, because you haven’t fully built them out yet.

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