Character Studies (16 Villain Archetypes)

Welcome to the Author’s Handbook! These posts are dedicated to helping all aspiring authors out there with archetypes, fictional tips, and questions to help you brainstorm your worlds. I hope you all find these posts helpful and a great source for your writing needs. Enjoy!

What drives your villain? What creates them? Why are they against your hero? Explore these basic descriptions to help you explore the world of Villains. 

The TRAITOR: the double agent, betrays those who trust them most. No one suspects the evil that lurks in his/her heart. Despite supportive smiles and sympathetic ears, they plot the destruction of his/her friends or allies. Never turn your back on them — they mean you harm.

The TYRANT: the bullying despot, the tyrant wants power at any price. Wants to ruthlessly conquer all he/she surveys, crushing their enemies beneath their feet. People are but pawns to him/her, and he/she holds all the power pieces. Hesitate before getting in this one’s way – they’ll think nothing of destroying you.

The BASTARD: the dispossessed son or daughter that burns with resentment. He/she can’t have what they want, so they lash out to hurt those around them. Their deeds are often for effect and wants to provoke action in others. He/She proudly announces their rebellious dealings. Don’t be fooled by their youthful demeanor – they’re a bundle of hate.

The DEVIL: the charming fiend that gives people what he/she thinks they deserve. Charisma allows them to lure his/her victims to their own destruction. His/Her ability to discover the moral weaknesses in others serves him/her well. Close your ears to their cajolery – they’ll tempt you to disaster.

The OUTCAST: the lonely outsider that wants desperately to belong. Tortured and unforgiving, they have been set off from others, and usually for a good cause. He/She craves redemption, but is willing to gain it by sacrificing others. Waste no sympathy on them – they’ll have none for you.

The TERRORIST: the dark knight, he/she serves a warped code of honor. Self-righteous, they believe in their own virtue, and judges all around them by a strict set of laws. The end will always justify the nefarious means, and no conventional morality will give them pause. Don’t try to appeal to his/her sense of justice – theirs will not resemble yours.

The EVIL GENIUS: the malevolent mastermind, he/she loves to show off their superior intelligence. Intellectual inferiors are contemptible to him/her and that includes just about everyone. Elaborate puzzles and experiments are their trademark. Don’t let them pull your strings – the game is always rigged in their favor.

The SADIST: the savage predator that enjoys cruelty for its own sake. Violence and psychological brutality are games to this person; and they play those games with daring and skill. Run, don’t walk, away from this sadist – they’ll tear out your heart, and laugh while doing it.

The BITCH: the abusive autocrat, she or he lies, cheats, and steals their way to the top. Her/His climb to success has left many a heel mark on the backs of others. She/He doesn’t care about the peons around her/him – only the achievement of their dreams matter. Forget expecting a helping hand from her/him – they don’t help anyone but themselves.

The LUNATIC: the unbalanced madwoman/madman that draws others into their crazy environment. The drum to which she/he marches misses many a beat, but to them, it is the rest of the world that is out of step. Don’t even try to understand a lunatics logic – it is unfathomable.

The BLACK WIDOW: the beguiling siren, she lures victims into her web. She goes after anyone who has something she wants, and she wants a lot. But she does her best to make the victim want to be deceived. An expert at seduction of every variety, she uses her charms to get her way. Don’t be fooled by her claims of love – it’s all a lie. Don’t be fooled, either, that this only pertains to women.

The BACKSTABBER: the two-faced friend that delights in duping the unsuspecting. Their sympathetic smiles enable them to learn their victims’ secrets, which she/he then uses to feather her/his nest. Their seemingly helpful advice is just the thing to hinder. Put no faith in the backstabber – they’ll betray you every time.

The PARASITE: the poisonous vine that collaborates for their own comfort. She/He goes along with any atrocity, so long as her/his own security is assured. They see themselves as a victim who had no choice, and blames others for their crimes. Expect no mercy from them – she/he won’t lift a finger to save anyone but themselves.

The SCHEMER: the lethal plotter that devises the ruin of others. Like a cat with a mouse, he/she plays with lives. Elaborate plans, intricate schemes; nothing pleases them more than to trap the unwary. Watch out for their complex designs – he/she means you no good.

The FANATIC: the uncompromising extremist that does wrong in the name of good. He/She justifies their actions by their intent, and merely shrugs their shoulders at collateral damage. Anyone not an ally is an enemy, and therefore, fair game. Give up any hope of showing them the error of their ways – they firmly believe you are wrong, wrong, wrong.

The MATRIARCH: the motherly oppressor, she smothers her loved ones. She knows what’s best and will do all in her power to controls the lives of those who surround her – all for their own good. A classic enabler, she sees no fault with her darlings, unless they don’t follow her dictates. Don’t be lured into her family nest – you’ll never get out alive.

2 thoughts on “Character Studies (16 Villain Archetypes)

  1. Pingback: Lilith: Talon |

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