Villains bring the whole creepy factor to your novel. Sometimes villains are devious and brilliant, other times they are crass and brutish. But one thing they all have in common is that they have a public persona.
What exactly do I mean by public persona?
A villain’s public persona is the image they project to the community. We often hear of killers who fooled everyone around them. They were model citizens, community leaders and the perfect family man. Maybe they skulk through dark alleys, avoid any contact with someone who might recognize them, or generally dislike interacting with people.
Brainstorming the villain persona is a key element to developing their point of view scenes and the way that they threaten your hero/heroine.
Questions To Ask When Brainstorming the Persona of a Villain:
*Do they prefer public attention or invisibility?
This component is essential to determine because it will impact the actions and proximity opportunities for the villain. Research profiles of these types of villains so you can best fit their persona to their psychological makeup.
*How do they get attention or stay invisible?
The public attention seeking villain will be a leader in the community, or run for public office. If there is a desire to stay invisible, there are actions taken to keep away any attention. This villain also will also find any public attention as an obstacle.
*What community functions or activities are they involved in or conversely, which ones do they avoid?
Identifying if they are a deacon at their church, running for mayor, or simply flip burgers on the night shift is key to determining what opportunities will arise for the villain to access, threaten, or plot against the hero/heroine.
*What gives my villain a thrill?
The public persona of the villain often informs what gives the villain the greatest rush. Once you identify their preferences you are able to pull in their moments of euphoric rush
What is the most interesting element of the public persona of a known villain that you’ve heard of?