How To Create A Bad Guy

Every good story needs a bad guy. Someone to hate. Someone to fail. They come in various forms and there are many different approaches to drawing up a stock character like this. Hopefully the following will give you some inspiration.

  • Draw his/her silhouette – Nothing says dark and creepy like a shadow. And bad guys should be dark and creepy. It will help with the visualisation of their quirks and appearance. A hook for a hand, for example, would stand out in a silhouette.
  • Practise speaking in their tone – Become the bad guy. Talk how they would. Bark orders at your significant other or pet. Give your stuffed animals a mean dressing down of all their failures. Plot ways to ruin the days of the people closest to you. Getting into the mindset of a bad guy can help develop their ‘voice’ in your novel.
  • Wear villanous clothes – go window shopping and pick out outfits that your character might wear. Try them on and see how they might feel. This will give your story some authenticity when you describe staggering along an uneven footpath in stilettos or the satisfaction of wearing a well-fitted suit. Don’t worry if you’re not the same gender as your character, this is a modern world we live in. No one will notice, and it’s not like you’re going to buy the clothes. If you’re feeling shy, take an understanding friend with you who is good at describing things.
  • Hang around shady places – loiter in the places your character might lurk. Notice the kind of people who look at you and those who avoid eye contact. The smells. Oh, the smells. (This is actually quite a dangerous thing to do. Real-world criminals won’t care you are just researching, they’ll take your stuff all the same. So maybe just look at Google Street View and imagine the rest.)
  • Roleplay – Grab your understanding friend from earlier and ask them to play the role of ‘good guy’. Try out some confrontations and see what conflicts you can get to arise. Bonus points for fisty-cuffs and getting your friend to cry. Buy them a beer or a burger after, to say sorry.

Enjoy creating your bad guys (or gals). Let me know in the comments if you have any fun with the above or any other favourite ways to bring out your inner baddie.

Happy writing x


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