Avoid boring, cardboard cutout antagonists or evils

Many authors are slack when it comes to creating antagonists as compelling opponents of protagonists. Those bad guys who stand in the protagonist’s way are frequently underdeveloped and underutilized in their manuscripts. Without substantial opponents, it’s puzzling why the protagonist is having such a difficult time. Although creating conflict from internal barriers is acceptable, doing so becomes boring for readers pretty quickly. Their antagonists or bad guys, free of uncertainty, hurdles, setbacks, and given with limitless time and resources, seem unrealistic and so comical.

Discrimination towards antagonists is a common thing in the works of many writers. A good story must include both protagonists and antagonists for it to thrive. You’ll have trouble telling a compelling story if your adversary is a cardboard cutout of evil.




There is nothing more boring, unbelievable, or predictable than pure evil. It has no meaning for the people who read it. Occasionally, villains deteriorate into cartoons and become comedy, eroding suspense or tension. There are also times when they are dull. Because no character is the true villain in her own thinking. Making a truly dark character into a perspective character will help prevent her from becoming a parody in popular culture. No one is the antagonist in his or her own story.

Give antagonists or bad guys laudable motives

Even though it may seem daunting at first, making your enemy more complex and interesting is much easier than you think. There are a few easy but effective approaches for developing your villains and increasing their roles in your story.




The antagonist is the one who tries to thwart the protagonist’s plans. Without an adversary, your protagonist may take a leisurely Sunday walk toward his objective. His character arc would stagnate if an interesting enemy didn’t present obstacles for him to overcome. He would have no reason to grow or change. Reread your book with the goal of making your opponent as intriguing as your protagonist.

There are some antagonists that aren’t creepy or nefarious at all. Some of them have the same flaws as the main character in a novel. Motives exist on both sides, in other words. It’s easy to see why these two are on opposite sides of the issue. We pity them both. Read this article about Sympathetic Anime Villains With Noble Intentions and Motives.


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That is the power of a three-dimensional antagonist: to sway our affections in unexpected ways. Convince us of the antagonist’s point of view. Personify a nonhuman enemy if possible. Show the villain being friendly.


Even villains have mothers, cockapoos, and help snow-bound motorists push their cars out of crossings. Do it early. Give antagonists or bad guys laudable motives.

Equalize your protagonist and antagonist

You must show kinship, humanity, and shared emotions and experiences between the protagonist and antagonist. If your story’s structure prevents you from showing the bad guys or antagonists’ perspective, put one of the viewpoint characters in that position and have him try to grasp his point of view.


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To maintain tension throughout the novel, your enemy should be on par with, or better than, your hero in some areas. Consider giving the antagonist a complement. If your heroine is impetuous, the antagonist will be calm and detail-oriented; if your hero is a loner, the antagonist will be a terrific team-builder or motivator.

You could refer to the list of 10 Best Animated Movie Villains of the 2000s, Ranked to see how villains or antagonists got developed in animated movies or animation films.



Bad guys or antagonists, and especially villains, are complex, three-dimensional, and sympathetic characters. After all, readers are drawn in by the process of learning about fascinating persons in dreadful situations. Readers want to know what makes a badass tick.

Animost – Vietnam 3D Animation Studio

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Image Credit: Imdb.com

Reference Sources:

  1. Animation World Network: https://www.awn.com/
  2. Cartoon Brew – Technology: https://www.cartoonbrew.com/tech
  3. Befores & Afters – Visual effects and animation journalist: https://beforesandafters.com/
  4. Bloomberg News: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/
  5. Insider: https://www.insider.com/
  6. Storyfix: http://storyfix.com/game-changer-create-an-inner-dialogue-within-your-hero-and-your-villain