Sacha Black is a bestselling author, rebel podcaster, and professional speaker. She writes educational nonfiction books for writers and fantasy books for both Young Adult and adult audiences. She lives in Cambridgeshire, England, with her wife and son.

13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains by Sacha Black

Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.

Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?

In 13 Steps to Evil, you'll discover:

+ How to develop a villain's mindset

+ A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up

+ Why getting to the core of a villain's personality is essential to make them credible

+ What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs

Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you're just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.

If you like dark humor, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you'll love Sacha Black's guide to crafting superbad villains.Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.



  • "This book has changed my life. It has really helped me to dive into the depth of my villainous character and made me develop a credible back story and give the character a really complex personality. My book is so much better now and I am really happy I bought this. I would highly recommend to writers who want to develop their writing skills and develop evil villains for their books."

    – Lisa Goldheart, Amazon Customer
  • "I LOVE THIS BOOK on so many levels! As a fellow writer I know what it takes to make a great read, and this is it! Not only does the author take on the subject with a fresh perspective, she is also entertaining, which is half the battle I find these days! I had many 'lol' moments because of the writers use of great language. The picture I included says it all. If you want a great book that tackles the villainous subject on HOW to craft your work into something worthy of publication this is it!"

    – Mr. Best, Amazon Customer
  • I love love love how Sacha Black explains everything, her voice is truly what makes this book. It doesn't read like a textbook at all, and yet there is so much valuable information in here, with many great examples from film and literature. This book has helped me take my villain to the next level and I can recommend it to any fiction writer out there, regardless of genre."

    – Sabrina, Amazon Customer



Heroes are interesting. But mostly they're predictable. They save the world and win. Again, and again, and again. If the constant monotony of halo-polishing heroism has worn you as thin as it has me, then you're in the right place. I am tired of stifling yawns and waking up in my book's spine because nothing chuffing happened in the story. Where's the tension, people? Where's the grit, the emotion, and the conflict?

It's 'nice' to write a chivalrous, charming, debonair or dashingly handsome hero who never fails. I mean, who doesn't want to be swept off their feet? But let's be honest. Heroes aren't the fun ones to write. It's much more satisfying to craft a character with an evil glint in their eye. Someone who's so unpredictable even you don't know what they'll do next. That's why a villain will always be the most delicious character to write.

Do you want a story that grips your reader? A story with depth and the juiciest, most bad ass villain in town to give your stories that extra edge? Then I can help.

As writers, you're expected to create complex and unique characters while remaining true to the tropes of your genre. But that's getting harder, and readers, the bastards, aren't making it easier for us. They're more intelligent. They've read more books in your genre than you could if you didn't do anything else between now and the day you died. Worse, they're quicker to figure out your sinister twists, because they've seen it, read it and heard it all before.

If you're reading this, my guess is you fit into one of the following categories:

•Your villain isn't cutting the evil mustard

•You're a halo-wearing angel at heart and couldn't possibly write a dark and twisted villain

•You already wrote a villain, but they were clichéd, sporting a moustache and using a 'muhaha' retro styled laugh

•You just want to write better characters

•You're a villain virgin and would rather like to pop your evil cherry

•You know me personally and wondered what the fudge I've been doing for the last two years squirreled away all antisocial with a laptop for a BFF

If you fit into any of those categories, this book will help. It will teach you to craft villains so brilliantly twisted they'll make your readers throw themselves like sacrificial lambs between the pages of your book.

Readers love to hate villains. They're word-fish swimming suicidally towards your story hook and all so they can be dragged to the verge of sympathizing with your villain only to be horrified when they realize he's so cruel and nefarious they couldn't possibly have sympathized with him. Only we know they did because we designed our villain that way.

During explanations in this book, I predominantly use the term villain. Villains and antagonists are different, and I do explain why, shortly. But, for the sake of simplicity, I'll stick to villain. Just apply whichever term is most relevant to your story.

If you've come to this book hoping for a list of villains to suit every type of story, you'll be disappointed. The point of the next forty thousand words is to give you the tools you need to craft the right villain for the right plot. But I will use a range of top notch villains from a variety of examples to show you how you can.

The first part of this book is focused solely on developing the best villain possible. You'll learn about traits, motives, goals, how to create a credible and authentic villain, as well as how to curate a backstory that will leave your readers desperate for more. We'll also dissect anti-heroes and spend some time learning how to spot, as well as avoid, villainous clichés.

The last part of the book focuses on the more complex aspects of villains touching upon mental health and commonly portrayed disorders that villains often have as well as examining how to create conflict, set up your climax and showdown as well as touching on fear and phobias.

If you read 13 Steps to Evil cover to cover, you'll learn everything you need to create your perfect villain from the ground up. But I've tried to add enough detail to each step that should you want to skip parts and use it like a reference book, you can. But don't, cause it'll make me sad, and I hate being sad.

Think of this book as Yoda; it will give you tools, questions and prompts to help you think about and develop the best villain for your genre and your story. But like Obi-Wan, you'll need to go practice with the 'evil'-force if you want to master your villains.

If you want to sell the books you bleed, then you'll also need to know your market and that, young pad wan, you'll have to research alone. You need to be at one with your genre; merge with it like a big white fluffy polar bear camouflaged in the Arctic. Readers read genres for a reason; it's like going home for them. They know what's behind the first-page-front-door and there are certain things villains from their hometown will, and won't do. You need to know these things because there's a cocktail of nuances and tropes in each genre. Some you can bat away like dead flies; others your readers will expect you to adhere to and if you don't, the villain police will come and arrest you, you traitorous heathen, you. Okay, that's a lie. There are no villain police, but the readers will expect you to adhere to some tropes.

If that sounds terrifying, then fear not, I've stolen E.T's big fat phosphorescent finger and used it to point you in the right direction - the summaries will help, and the important stuff's summarized in there.

Before we start, let's make sure you're going to get what you need. There are four reasons you should stop reading now:

One: If you're here to learn about writing horror, then stop now; thank you for picking this book up, but it's not for you. I am not a horror writer, and although many aspects of villainy are translatable to horror, this book is devoted to villains more broadly. It's been constructed purposely using well-known examples from a range of genres, films, books and TV so that it's suitable for writers of any genre.

Two: You write literary fiction or fiction that doesn't easily sit in a genre. Most of the examples in this book come from genre fiction. While you may be able to take elements of the lessons from this book into general fiction, I don't cover it specifically.

Three: If you're sensitive in any way, don't like bad words, odd explanations, or dodgy humor, you might wanna leave before things get ugly.

Four: In order to give high quality examples to illustrate how to create superbad villains, there are story plots and therefore spoilers littered throughout the book. I've tried to keep to very well-known books and films, to lower the risk of spoilers, but you never know so it's only fair I tell you now.

Still with me? Then welcome on board.

Let's get our villain on.