Nobody is all bad

Well-intentioned antagonists are more interesting than black villains. On the simplest level, stories that contain villains are usually stories about good and evil. Usually the protagonist stands for the good, and the villain opposes the good.

Most villains are action-oriented. They steal, kill, betray, wound, and work against the good. Many of them begin to look alike. Often there’s a tendency for them to be poorly motivated, and one-dimensional. The reasons for their evil actions are rarely explained, as if people do evil just because they feel like doing it.

It is possible, though, to create dimensional villains. Depending on the style of the story, and how much depth you want to bring into it, villains can be just as unforgettable as any other character.

Smooth off some of the villain’s edges by showing some good points. Maybe he has to get to his daughter’s school performance. You can usually find complex psychology reasons for emotions such as fear, frustration, anger, rage and envy. So, let’s be fair: just as you would with the protagonist, tell us what motivates the antagonist.