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4 top tips for inventing a supervillain

No one is all bad – except in fiction! In real life, it’s important to try and see the best in people, but in stories there can be TOTALLY bad villains. Noble heroes show their bravery by battling against them and we can lose ourselves in the story because we know it’s not real.

Everyone loves a good baddie – and they are huge fun to write about, too. But creating one is not as easy as it looks. Here are four tips to help you invent a truly memorable supervillain.

1. Give your villain ONE special power

This special power can be anything you like. Maybe your villain can become invisible. Or turn people to stone. Or read minds. There are endless ideas that would make great stories.

However, you shouldn’t try to use more than one at a time. It’s the special power that makes your villain truly memorable – like a trademark. Adding extra powers just muddles the message. It makes the villain seem weaker, not stronger. If one special power isn’t enough, it’s not really a superpower. So choose a good one – and then think of lots of different, villainous ways to use it.

2. Build a clear image

Stories make pictures in our minds, but long descriptions hold up the action. You need to know exactly how your villain looks and speaks and moves, but don’t put all those details in the story.

Pick out the most important detail. It could be very dramatic, like a long, scarlet cloak that shimmers in the dark. Or quiet and sinister, like a hoarse, whispering voice. Or even something that seems innocent at first, like a pair of wide, pale blue eyes. Whatever you choose, make it unusual. Avoid obvious things like warts and fangs. They’ve been used too often before. Make your supervillain special.

3. Give the villain an evil plan

This is the key to a supervillain story. What does your villain want? Money? Chocolate? A hoard of Viking gold? It can be anything you like, but make it interesting – and very hard to get, so that your villain needs to use that special power.

If the evil plan is very complicated, you might find it helpful to make a storyboard to work out the details. Cut a sheet of paper into six or eight squares and draw each of the main scenes in the story on a separate square. Then arrange the squares in the order that makes most sense – as if you were planning a film. This is especially useful if your hero has to follow a lot of clues to discover the villain’s plan.

4. Get inside the villain’s head

Why is your villain behaving like that? Most people don’t think of themselves as evil. They make excuses for what they do. A villain might say, “I’ve had a hard life, so I deserve that money!” Or “Chocolate is wasted on children!” Or “My ancestors were Vikings, so that gold should be mine!” What excuses would yours make?

You could try acting that out, pretending to be the supervillain. Acting is a great way of getting inside a character’s mind and sparking your imagination. (But you might want to check that no one is watching you!)

Try this story starter

Still not sure where to begin? Read this story starter, and see if you can keep the story going…

The new boy came in the third week of term. No one saw him walk into the classroom. He was just there, after break, sitting in Harry Coe’s chair at the back.

Harry glared. “Oi! You!” he shouted, in his loud, rough voice. “Out of my chair – now!”

The new boy lifted his head and stared back. He didn’t say anything, but Harry gave a little shiver. Then he turned round, very quietly, and went to sit in an empty seat at the front.

Everyone was too surprised to speak…



Download your own storyboard

My storyboard

My storyboard

Has Gillian’s story starter inspired you? Download our free storyboard template and use it to plan and create your very own story. Don’t forget to include a beginning, middle and end!

Download activity sheet

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