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Writing About Villains

(Writer's Craft #5)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  160 ratings  ·  26 reviews
Create the villain your novel deserves: a fiend whom your readers will love to hate and can never forget.

Instead of cardboard evil-doers with evil laughter and stinking breath, you will develop villains with personality, ideals, feelings and conflicts. They will challenge your heroes, chill your readers, and give your novel excitement and depth.

This book is part of the
Kindle Edition, 75 pages
Published March 2013 by Scimitar Press
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Average rating 4.18  · 
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Kelly Hull
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
As I begin a new project, I find myself thinking about my villain. I don't want just a regular bad guy. I want someone truly scary. Scary because he's actually lovable and inside he's dealing with his own issues and I want some part of my reader to be rooting for him in some small way. Ultimately, he will go too far as his flaws deepen, but I want my protagonist to struggle with him in the worst way.

No evil cackling laughs.

No stenchy breath, breathing down her neck.

No evil madman that's evil
Anna Erishkigal
Bought this a while ago and am only now getting around to reviewing it. This is an excellent step-by-step 'how to build your villain' book. It is long on pragmatic advice and writing prompts, short on boring blather, and should help pry the most recalcitrant villain out of your noggin and make him a worthy, three-dimensional adversary for your hero. I dusted it off and used some of the examples recently as a 'how to' guide for my writer's group and the writing exercises were all very helpful in ...more
Linda S.
Nov 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
I loved Rayne Hall's Writing About Villians! This brief book lists villian archetypes, shows many ideas on how to portray an antagonist as a real person, not a cardboard stereotype and includes writing exercises at the end of each section. I will be using this book in the novel writing classes I teach. I recommend this book.
Katrina Garvey
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I have the most difficulty with my villain because I feel like I am always making them the same stereotypical villains. This book helped me realize that just because my villain is an evil overlord doesn't mean he can't be unique. I enjoyed her examples and assignments to really help me build my villain. I also learned a great deal about what can take away from your villain that you never think of such as making him smile too much. I am actually excited to see my villain come to life in my story ...more
Koen Wellens
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, non-fiction
Writing About Villains is a book that helps you improve your villains. Do your villains need a better background story? Ever feel like something’s missing for them? This book helps you with that! There are several questions you can ask that make you think about the character.

Read the full review at my blog.
Zara West
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: writing-tips
Another great how-to-write book from Rayne Hall. Like all her writing manuals, she takes on the topic, in this case villains, and provides clear, straightforward ways to write it better. Good for beginning writers.
Oct 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great source of information! I recommend this for writers, especially those with less experience. After reading this, my villains have become a lot less fickle and much more believable.
Autumn Crum
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Good information. Mostly stuff I already know but still good
Naiá Lusvarghi
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Conciso, com bastante dica, mas baseado em arquétipos. É interessante mesmo assim.
Rachel Svendsen
Sep 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent advice

This book had great advice and tips on writing villains. It was super helpful and gave me lots of ideas for my current and future stories. Each chapter also ended with useful exercises to help improve your writing. Excellent resource!
De Jarous
Mar 09, 2017 rated it really liked it
Comprehensive Psychological look at the villain archetypes.
Rebecca Stevens
Dec 29, 2016 rated it liked it
Not my cup of tea..

The author had some advice I was willing to take, but mainly I fe!t at odds with her opinion. Simply put, although it is not a bad book, I personally didn't enjoy it.
May 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How much can you possibly get out of a book that's approximately 70 pages?

A heck of a lot more than the page count suggests. If you have some time and want to get a better grip on how to make villains work, this book is worth it. I certainly didn't regret spending my lunch breaks reading this. Actually, I probably would regret not reading this book.

This book goes over the difference between villain archetypes and stereotypes. What are the villain archetypes, and what you should consider to make
J.E. Feldman
Sep 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Writing About Villains by Rayne Hall because it helped to fill all of those extra gaps that I needed to fully round out the newest villains in my novel, "Strangers from Enamyre: Book Three of the Arbedenion Trilogy." Rayne helps make sure that you don't miss the little details by listing villain stereotypes, examples of motives, what tools and trophies could be laying around their lairs, and so much more. In the first two books of the Arbedenion Trilogy, "The ...more
Jan 05, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, writing
I found Writing About Villains to be a mixed bag of writing advice.

Techniques for fleshing out a fully-realized antagonist were bogged down in lists of specific examples for how the "archetypes" must behave. To me, this seemed like "Don't use those moldy old cliches, use these slightly fresher ones." I liked most of the more subtle ideas for expressing characterization and motivation without needing infodumps.

WAV, like all of the Writer's Craft series I've read, also ends with many pages from
Edmund de Wight
May 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
I really like the way Rayne presents information. She is very clear in her presentation and doesn't try to pad out a point with unnecessary verbiage just to make her book look bigger. This is exactly the sort of thing you want in a book aimed at helping you understand how to do something.
I've written a lot of villains in my time between role playing games and fiction but there were a couple nice insights to the villainous world that will come in handy.
There are good examples of her points
C. L. Phillips
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Short, concise and full of useful info. I spend a lot of time writing and villains (and all other characters) are hard to make into real, three-dimensional people. This book is a great tool. It's a quick read.It's filled with archetypes and loads of advice on how to write dialogue with villainous tone, how to show the hands and smiles of the villains, a section on definition of villain types, writing assignments at the end of each chapter and much more. This may not be the greatest, most ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
A Good Starting Point.

This book is very short (75 pages), but it can be used as an introduction to the idea of a villain, for anyone who is just starting out. It looks at the archetypes and then the ways in which you can add detail and credibility to your own individual villains. It is not so suitable for people who are more literate, and who would expect a book like this to have quotes from literature. (All quotes are from the author's own work.)
I think I would have liked this book to be a little bit longer, as villains can be more complex than a simple "Evil Overlord" or "Bully" type of one. Some can even be a combination of the whole list of archetypes of this book and not fall under one part of the umbrella. I do like the ways of fleshing out of one's villain that is in this book and hope to use it for whichever way my villains go.
Ashley Scott
Jun 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book on Amazon and it has helped me quite a bit by distinguishing different evil personalities. It helped me in discovering what my villain could be like and how they could enter my story in a way so my readers would shiver at the very mention of the villain.
Noura Noman
May 14, 2015 rated it liked it
I found this book a great tool for focusing my image of my villain. I especially loved the advice on real life villains, and the assignments after each chapter. I recommend this book for all writers who are drowning in two-dimensional villains.
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I flew through this book. It had so many wonderful ideas in it. My villain is kind of complicated so I was able to get some ideas to help me write him better and make him memorable and not cliché. I plan on reading all of her writing tip books very soon.
J. Dorner
Mar 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-on-writing
Quick and easy to read.
Fun exercises that are easy to do wrap up the lessons perfectly. There's no good reason to not have a bad guy after reading this book.
Sydney Katt
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Good stuff on bad guys. A must-read for authors.
Will Hogarth
Mar 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another great writing craft book by Rayne Hall. Definitely one for the reference shelves.
T.L. Brown
Apr 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A fun read and very educational.
Kerry Alexander-Hall
rated it it was amazing
Dec 17, 2014
rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2020
Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez
rated it it was amazing
Oct 26, 2015
rated it really liked it
Apr 22, 2017
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Rayne Hall writes fantasy and horror fiction, some of it quirky, most of it dark. She is the author of over sixty books in different genres and under different pen names, published by twelve publishers in six countries, translated into several languages. Her short stories have been published in magazines, e-zines and anthologies.

After living in Germany, China, Mongolia and Nepal, she has settled

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