How to Write a Villain Protagonist

An antagonistic protagonist can add external and internal conflict and tension to your story, like Scott Lang (Ant-Man) and Walter White are examples of such villainous protagonists.

Though they usually take on an antagonist role at first, villainous protagonists sometimes redeem themselves at the end. We will explore what makes an ideal antagonistic protagonist, from their backstory to goals.


The Main Character Is the Villain Chapter 23 in a story who acts in an entirely antagonistic fashion, yet must remain likeable as an important element of their plot. To achieve this feat, they require certain key characteristics.

1. Cruel: They enjoy harming others without showing empathy or showing remorse for their actions. 2. Ruthless: They will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. 3. Deceptive: Their plans include twists and turns designed to get what they want – keeping the hero on guard and readers engaged with what’s happening next.

4. Villainous protagonists have an ominous backstory: Villainous protagonists often experienced terrible trauma at some point in their lives, leaving them with warped core beliefs and psychological disorders that manifest physically as scarred faces (like Joker or Darth Vader) or psychological damage such as emotional scarring.

Fiction readers prefer characters with depth. Your villainous protagonist should possess their own personalities, likes and dislikes, goals and ambitions that help your reader understand why their actions are so malicious.


An antagonist who acts irrationally without reason can become irritating, but having a concrete goal in mind when conducting their vile deeds heightens tension and makes their actions more realistic. For instance, someone infected with an incurable disease and trying to steal the Jewel of Saints as an attempt at delaying diagnosis would make their actions understandable despite appearing repulsive.

Most villains come equipped with wounds from their past that contribute to their jaded worldview. Uncovering those wounds–whether an unresolved romance, traumatic childhood experience, or betrayal that breached emotional boundaries–can help uncover what drives their behavior and help create depth to your plotline. By delving deeper into these wounds and uncovering more details, often more sinister and fascinating your villain will appear, while making him or her seem more human and relatable for your readers while creating that vital distance needed for great fiction story writing!


In a villain-protagonist story, the main goal of a villain is to stop their hero from reaching their goals. Attacks against their target may take the form of personal relationships between characters or socially. Additionally, manipulative villains like Iago in Othello may target aspects such as honor or self-respect that may threaten him/her from achieving their objectives.

Real-life figures such as serial killers or notorious criminals such as Aileen Wuornos and Charles Manson can provide inspiration for an engaging villain protagonist character with an edge. Make sure to add human touches, such as humor or compassion towards friends and family to make the character more relatable.

Villain protagonists may be less common, but they can still serve as an effective way of engaging readers with your plot. Give your villain protagonist an intricate personality with strong motivations and an arc that leads either towards their downfall or ultimately makes them into something greater in the end.


Conflict between protagonist and villain keeps readers engaged with a story’s plot and ensures reader engagement. An antagonist’s main goal is to cause harm to their target, creating page-turning tension that draws readers in deeper into the narrative.

A villain may also refer to any individual or force who stands in opposition of a protagonist’s goals or actions, like Cinderella’s overprotective father or Voldemort in Harry Potter. These figures don’t always portray bad guys; rather they create difficulty for their hero in reaching their goal and may engage in morally questionable activities that impede progress towards reaching it.

Sometimes the antagonist can be an inanimate force such as Robinson Crusoe’s sea or Andy Weir’s The Martian’s weather; such antagonists add suspense and create tangible obstacles for our hero to overcome while creating stakes for their story.

By admin

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