View from a villain: Should you use the bad-guy’s POV?

Tough writing today, but at least I finished with my prologue. Bang – into Chapter One, Scene One. And…Ugh. The words are still terrible.

Oh well. I’ll try to keep going.

Starting properly made me wonder about my POV characters – I figured to have 4 or 5, and one of these was going to be the villain/villains.

But this is supposed to be a mystery-crime-thriller, thematically along the lines of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. Is it possible to write from the villain’s point of view without destroying the mystery?

I like the idea of seeing the antagonist’s side. It allows you to flesh out their motivations and reasons – or if not reasons, excuses. Critically, it allows you to connect to the bad guy emotionally – which I think is essential in ‘raising the stakes’. Things shouldn’t be black and white, and villain POV give an opportunity to paint in grey (and bright arterial red…)

But does it absolutely destroy any mystery? How careful will I have to be?

Ugh. This is hard.

Let me know what you think – should the villain get a showing, or should you keep them under wraps. Does genre affect your decision?

Today’s Writing

Daily word count: 361

Total word count: 1911

Today’s writing soundtrack



6 thoughts on “View from a villain: Should you use the bad-guy’s POV?

  1. I’ve reread Silence of the Lambs this year, and damn is it a well written thriller/mystery. Have you read it?
    It’s got two bad guys – the scary cannibal in prison acting as a mentor, and the killer on the loose.
    Buuut. The killer’s point of view gets added about midway, right after he kidnaps a victim and the good guys know they have about a week until he kills. So every time we’re in his head, it builds tension while making us a little more horrified about how differently he sees the world.
    And then the cannibal’s POV comes on toward the climax, when he becomes a free agent and no longer interfaces directly with the protagonist (up until then, we only saw his from protags’ eyes and felt mystery, fear, frustration).

    There’s also a show called The Fall, which closely follows a serial killer (totally creepy, but interesting to consider that humans can have so many sides to them). And then there’s Dexter, a multi season show, that is told mainly from the psychopath serial killer’s POV, and I hear people are fascinated.


    1. These are great examples – particularly Silence of the Lambs; this is exactly the sort of tension,horror I want to evoke! I suspect the ‘art’ here is learning to reveal slowly, and to keep escalating.

      Actually I really need to read silence of the Lambs; the movie was excellent, Most review suggest the book is as good or even better.

      Thanks for the comment – I feel better about my stylistic choices now. ๐Ÿ™‚


      1. Happy to share ๐Ÿ˜€
        I’m really excited to see your updates in my RSS feed, actually. I haven’t been writing myself for months now, and your writing journal and word count and the “ugh, these words are terrible, I’m gonna go write more” is totally inspiring and encouraging. ๐Ÿ™‚ Go you!

        Liked by 1 person

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