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How to hide a villain in plain sight (Character edition)

hide a villain
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Hide a villain

It is an unusual feeling, to find out that someone you trusted the most, is the cause of all your problems or stabbed you in the back. That feeling is what you need your readers to feel when the same thing happens to your character. It is not about hiding a villain in plain sight. What you should be asking is, how can I make my readers trust the villain?

1. A heartbreaking backstory

Have you noticed that the majority of people tend to sympathise with the villain, after hearing or seeing their sad backstory.

For example the joker. The majority hated him as a character, but after the movie, the joker came out, people are now sympathising with him.

So what does this mean for your story?

Simple, give your villain a heartbreaking backstory. Let him/ her tell the main character. The trick here is to tell them before they know that your villain is a villain.

2. Befriends the protagonist

The murderer is most likely to be someone you know.

Make your villain, someone the character knows. They could be partners, best friends or acquaintances. The protagonist needs to trust your villain, to the point they won’t consider them a suspect.

3. Pin the blame on someone else

The most effective way to hide a villain in plain sight, is to pin the blame on someone else. This way, your readers would be way too concentrated on the other character, that they would turn a blind eye on the actual villain.

4. Let them help

Have the villain help the protagonist, multiple times. Nobody suspects the person who has been doing good to them, so why would your readers?

Put your character in a hard or risky situation and have the villain help them. Obviously, not all the time or you risk having your readers figuring it out.

5. Leave clues

This last tip is a bit different from the others.

Leave clues along your story, to point out that your villain is, well a villain. Once you reveal to your readers the villain, they would want to read the entire book again to back up your claims. Basically, to see what they might have missed to not be able to figure out sooner.

So make sure to leave tiny clues, even if it risks exposing the villain sooner than your intended.

Anyway, that was it for today. I hope this article helped you if not simply comment your question below and I will try to answer it as soon as possible and don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter.

Quite curious. What story are you writing to want to hide a villain?

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