Everyone loves a hero (or heroine), but today I play tribute to the villain - that character who we can't get along without.
If you don't have a villain, you don't have a story. Someone has to be turning your protagonist's world upside-down - and who is that? It's your villain. There are all types of bad guys out there - there are the ones who are trying to achieve something, those who are trying to get something, and those who are just plain mean.
Take a moment and think about your villain. What do they want? What is driving their actions? As actors say "What's my motivation?" No one is bad just to be bad. Even twisted serial killers have their own reasons for perpetrating their crimes. No matter your genre - there's a villain. It can be a character trait of your protagonist's that they need to overcome. If you're writing a murder mystery, your villain might just be your victim. He's always there, twirling his metaphorical moustache.
I've written all sorts of villains - I've written murder nights where the victim is so unbelievably evil, it's a miracle they haven't been killed off years ago. I've written amoral murderers who just simply want what they want and have no qualms about doing whatever is necessary to achieve their goals. I've also had villains that weren't evil - simply people caught up in a bad situation.
I enjoy reading books where the villain is within the protagonist. Driving ambition can be a wonderfully villainous characteristic. So can be the need for perfection, or for approval.
So today, give your villain some love. After all, you wouldn't be writing if he didn't exist!