I'm right in the middle of writing an erotic romantic suspense now. I'm at that point in the writing process where I go back and layer in some more texture to my characters. Something I almost always find myself doing is adding lots of meat to my villains. When I have a genuine villain, they need even more motivation than a hero. Why? Doing illegal or immoral things usually carries consequences. One must have better/deeper/stronger reasons to risk those consequences. The classic villain, or bad guy is easier to write than say, the evil mother-in-law or the ex-girlfriend who wants the hero back.
The classic bad guy comes with a great big bow around his neck called external conflict. He or she should seem way too difficult for the hero or heroine to overcome. Only through the H or H's growth can they emerge victorious. And the more the deck is stacked against the good guys, the more exciting the buildup to the climax will be.
Another setup, though is the villain turned hero. Then there's my personal favorite - where the hero and heroine are each other's villain. This is the sort of conflict that first hooked me on romance and I've gone back to writing it again and again, although it requires subtler brush strokes than the classic villain.
I have two upcoming stories where this is the case - Can't Stand the Heat, coming March 1 from Red Sage features a couple competing for a position as head chef at a Savannah restaurant. And did I mention that they used to be married? Yummy conflict!
Playing with Barbie, due out March 9 from Loose Id has a heroine who must find a husband ASAP. But her desire for a bad boy player stands in her way. He is her villain. Consequently, the hero sees the heroine as a stumbling block to his way of life. She is his villain. Both stories have a bad boy as the villain/hero. And let's face it - an awful lot of women love that bad boy thing. What better position to give a bad boy than villain?
What about you? How do you like your villains?