Truth, Justice, and Villainy
So a writer has three characters.
One is the heroine.
Another is the man the heroine thinks is a good man. But he's secretly bad.
And one, of course, is the hero.
The writer wonders, as she begins to write her story, if she should give Mr. Seems-Good-But-Secretly-Is-Bad a point of view in the story. After all, she'd like to get a little more perspective on the developing plot, something beyond what Hero and Heroine might know.
Problem is . . . if she gets into the villain's head, won't that spoil the surprise that he is Secretly Bad?
Short answer: No.
Not-so short answer: Well, not necessarily anyway.
The thing about villains that many young novelists (and many experienced novelists, for that matter) seem to forget is that, from their perspective, they aren't bad.
Your typical Mr. Villain is the villain because his desires and goals are at odds with the Hero and/or Heroine's desires and goals. But as far as the Villain is concerned, his desires and goals aren't evil. He is justified in his mind. He believes himself to be on the side of Truth and Justice. It's Mr. Hero and Ms. Heroine who are bad because their sunshine and happiness will inevitably destroy everything he has ever worked for!
All right, there are occassions where an eeeeeevil villain is necessary, I will grant you. There are times when getting into Mr. Villain's head will immediately destroy all question of his possible goodness. There are even times when a Villain is aware of his own villainy . . . it does happen.
But the fact remains we are all the Heroes of our own stories. I'm the hero of my story, you are the hero of your story. And the truth is, there are probably people out there who look on you and me as their own personal villains because our dreams and goals run contrary to theirs.
To get a strong villain going, try writing a scene or two as though he is your hero. Get yourself into his head and try to find that place of sympathy. You might be surprised how attached you'll get . . . you might even find yourself (temporarily) rooting against Mr. Hero and Ms. Heroine.
In the process, you'll also create a villain as memorable and dynamic as any of your protagonists.
So what about your villains? Have you ever tried getting into their heads? What might a scene from your book look like if your villain was your hero?