The Most Common Villain Cliches and ways to change them

the most common villain cliches

Here’s the post about villains that I promised you.  It took a while, but a dragon always keeps its promises.  

Cliche number one:  The LAUGH.  You know what I’m talking about.


Yeah, that one.  

Change it by taking away the laugh.  You know what I’d really like to see?  A villain who’s mute, and can’t talk.  They could send letters in quill and ink and everything.  

Cliche number two: The villain who was abused or had a rough childhood.  

I’m getting a little tired of this one.  There are many, many, motivators, including: love, revenge, power, etc.

Cliche number three:  The villain that spills all his plans to the hero because he’s going to kill him in the next thirty seconds, right? What could go wrong???

Just don’t.  Find some other way to reveal the plans, or maybe you could actually surprise the hero with the villain’s plans!

Cliche number four: The stupid villain.

You know, the villain that makes you wonder how they became a villain in the first place.  They let the hero right into their office, they don’t kill somebody they should have killed, etc.

Please assume that your villain actually knows something.  I’d like to see a villain who is skilled in something completely unrelated to villainy.  Like knitting.

Cliche number five: The wannabe villain.

They talk the talk, but are they really being that villainous? Do they actually do anything?

Make sure they actually are a real challenge for the hero to defeat, otherwise your reader will be bored.

Cliche number six:  They pick incompetent people as there second in command.

If you are really the supreme commander that is wickedly smart and keeps all the villagers in fear, are you really going to pick a second in command that’s incompetent?  

Eliminate the second in command, or make him smarter.

That’s a wrap, folks!  

I’ll avoid being cliche by asking you what your worst villain cliches would be.  

But, you know, if you wanted to…

All I’m saying is that the comment section is just a few scrolls down. 😉


8 thoughts on “The Most Common Villain Cliches and ways to change them

  1. This list is perfect! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve screamed at a villain in a book or TV show to off the pesky hero instead of spilling the plan! Who are some of the worst villains you’ve ever encountered?


    • One of my favorite villains has to be the villainess in Dreamtreaders by Wayne Batson, and one of the worst villains I’ve encountered is probably Cruella deVille from 101 Dalmatians. A lot of Disney villains aren’t smart. (Probably because the movies are for kids 😛 )

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh gosh, now I want to write a knitting villain so bad. XD These are really true though. The Villain Monologue annoys me to death. Or when the villain captures the hero like, six times, but never learns his lesson and just kills the guy right then and there. They always, always have to put the hero in a cell or torture him before killing him, and by that time, he’s already escaped.
    Stupid villains. *cackles* Mwahahahaha—*choke*


  3. Jess,
    Your last cliche actually has a reason. If the second hand man is highly intelligent, why should he be taking orders from the villain? Why wouldn’t he be a competitor? Now, that would add an extra element of suspense and intrigue if the villain has to fight to keep his second in command in line.
    Thanks for these. I’ve almost made a few of them myself.


    • He doesn’t have to be highly intelligent. Some people are just natural followers, even if they are really smart. At least, that’s my take on second hand men.
      That’s an interesting twist you could use!



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