The villain is a character of great importance in any story. For that reason, you must think about him carefully.
Your villain has to be credible to be memorable. As such, you should spend some time developing your villain before start writing the actual story.
Here you have some tips that might help you.
Everyone has a goal, something they want, and that must apply to your villain as well.
Every action they will take has to help them, in some way, to get closer to that goal. At least, that is what the villain believes. It doesn’t need to be immediately evident to your reader, especially if you’re writing a mystery novel. Yet, keep in mind that, at some point, the villain’s choices need to make sense to those reading your story.
2. Justify their actions
Real people don’t think of themselves as villains. Our actions always make sense in our minds, and we have good reasons to act the way we do.
Remember that every time your villain takes a decision or chooses a course of action. Your villain has a purpose with every step he (or she) takes.
A plain character is not exciting or fun to read. With a plain villain, we can kill the story in the first few pages.
Your villain needs a life, people that make part of it, fears and hobbies, things they like and others they hate. Villains must be more than the evil goal they have in mind.
Besides, in real life, no one is entirely evil. A couple of positive qualities will enrich your character. It will make it more credible and interesting to your readers.
4. Avoid clichés
The erratic mad man might be fun to write, even read sometimes, but people are beginning to get tired of it. Surprise your readers and remember: if you want them to fear your villain, make it the most unexpected character of your story.
The best villain is the one with a background story, a life, a reason to be evil. Maybe the villain is not exactly a bad person; perhaps he is just hurt.
Think of your villain as a person with a story, feelings, fears, and goals. He is not his actions. The most humanized the villains are, the more realistic they become. Your readers will appreciate that.