We all love a good villain, and many of us love to hate them. I often think the villain is a neglected subspecies in a book. Your bad guy needs to be as well developed as the hero and heroine.
And once you got your badass meany...let good things happen to him. It will stack the odds in his favor -- and usually against your hero.
In Howl, poor Zalin handed the villain the ultimate piece of information -- and enabled him to carry out his master plan without interference. He had no one to blame but himself, and it seriously screwed up his day.
Yep, all those good things happening for your bad guy...give the book a whole new dimension. It keeps your hero out of step, makes things that much more difficult and dangerous, and thus keeps the reader groaning right along with the unfortunate hero.
Imagine you have a valuable commodity or important information which is needed by the hero to save the heroine, but in order to get it, he has to jump a few hoops -- and he's not the only one after it.
Let him get to the safe--five minutes after the bad guy got the map out of it. Let the bad guy get hold of the only vehicle for rent. The only guide who knows the jungle. The key to the dungeon. Let him find things or be handed things just before the hero gets there. He's having all the luck, while the hero struggles to keep up, putting the heroine's ultimate safety more and more at risk.
Let the villain walk away with the only thing able to save her.
Your hero will have to be resourceful and determined, even in the face of adversity. It gets even better if both the hero and the villain have the same goal...saving the heroine. But while the hero does it for (more or less) selfless reasons...the villain might do it to gain something she has and couldn't give two hoots about what ultimately happens to her.
What I'm trying to say is, it doesn't always have to be the same old, same old. And who says you can't start out with two villains -- and no hero? Why not make your villain the hero?
I'm bored with the same format. :) I think we need to shake it up some.
I'm working on a story at the moment where the good guy is also the bad guy... Let's see if I can pull it off. :)
What do you like about villains and heroes?
Silke grew up in Germany and is used to things going bump in the night -- and it wasn't always the acrophobic cat, or someone hitting their head on a low beam on the ceiling.
She writes paranormal romance, usually at night, and blames Anne Stuart to this day for all her ambitions and strange stories, after reading one of her books.
These days the only thing going bump at "oh-dark-thirty" is her -- usually when she smacks into the sofa while creeping to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.
Silke likes to hear from her readers.
Feel free to contact her via her blog at http://www.evilauthor.com, follow her on Twitter, look her up on Goodreads or become a friend on Facebook and G+.