Greetings! Thank you for purchasing one of Home Depot’s DIY villain kits. With the parts included and these easy instructions, you too will soon have your own villain wrecking havoc and giving your protagonists an all around bad day. (Please be sure to read these instructions thoroughly before assembling your villain. This kit is intended for villains only and should be used for every antagonist, particularly those of the “force of nature” variety. See our catalog for a full listing of these including the Storm™, a Bad Day™, Godzilla™ and Jason Voorhees™)

First remove everything from the packaging and use the part list on page ii to confirm that you are not missing anything. While it may be tempting to go straight for the decals and plot frames, you must first assemble the foundational pieces [shown in diagram A7] labeled M1 and M2.

Part M1, the ‘motivation’ is comprised of the two smaller parts [shown in diagram 8G] labeled W1 and W2. 1. W1 is ‘why’. Why is your villain doing what they are doing? Why are they choosing this course of action over any other? 2. W2 is ‘what’. What is your villain’s ultimate goal? What do they hope to accomplish? Note that when these two parts are put together, the stronger will aid the weaker. While your villain’s reason for his/her actions may be unremarkable, an impressive and awe-inspiring goal will still hold reader interest. Likewise, an unoriginal, boring goal can be fascinating if it has a deep, rich reasoning behind it.

By now you’ve noticed that part M2, ‘method’, has the greatest variety of this kit. With this, you need to determine how the villain is going to accomplish his/her goals and what is within character for them. Example: The most straightforward approach involves sacrificing puppies. If your villain is an avid dog lover, then this approach would be grossly out of character for them and should be avoided. However, if he/she has no restraint toward cuteness, then it would be out of character for them to avoid the most expeditious path. Also be sure that the villain’s methods fit in with your world-system (don’t laugh, you’d be surprised how many calls customer service gets when someone tried adding an a-bomb to their pre-industrial story and then was surprised when the whole thing collapsed).

Once you have assembled the two central components of villainy, you should review your work before going to decoration and decals. Unlike parts W1 and W2, the weakest of the M1/M2 pair will weaken and undercut the whole villain. Who can respect any villain – even one with the greatest motivations of all time – that uses pitiful methods? A villain that almost seem designed to give the heroes a sporting chance. You don’t want readers screaming “I could do better!” Conversely, what do the most cruel and diabolical methods matter, if readers are constantly trying to figure out why the villain is going to all this trouble in the first place (particularly if the method involved seems better suited for a better legitimate task than an evil one)?

While we can’t promise that every villain assembled with this kit will be a Darth Vader or Sauron, we can promise that following these instructions will aid you in keeping readers’ interest and joy.

*Special Note: if you are attempting a humorous or a parody of a villain, please turn these instructions upside-down.

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  1. Nate Winchester on 3 February 2009, 07:06 said:

    I decided to try a little something different this time but it’s not a permanent change. Feedback on experimenting is always welcome.

  2. OverlordDan on 3 February 2009, 08:20 said:

    I enjoyed this, and this format will probably help me get some other people to read it (surprisingly, not many of my friends want to read an article that consists of a block of text.) since it shows the process of creating a villian in a lighthearted manner.

    I think the only thing that could have made it better was if you included pictures of the process (stick figures are easy to draw in paint). It would be extra work, though, and I’d rather read more of your articles than see them illustrated.

    Hoped that helped :D

  3. Rand on 3 February 2009, 18:13 said:

    Very adorable. I liked the alternate take. Some meaty bits, less than your first article. Still very good.

  4. Rudyard on 5 February 2009, 00:05 said:

    Excellent article, one of the better ones on this site so far. (Sort of reminiscent of Iowahawk)

    I think satire like this that conveys a deeper message is your strength. I read some of your previous articles, and though the marital was very solid, I thought the overall tones were condescending. Perhaps that’s just me. Anyway I didn’t get that same vibe in this one and thus was able to appreciate the theory you were discussing.

    In any case, this style, this gentle humor at oneself, is often far more effective than a straight essay. You see, not only is it more interesting, and thus people more likely to read all of it, but with the humor people will be more open to what you’re saying.

    Thank you for the article, I hope you could turn out some more in this same vein.

  5. Nate Winchester on 5 February 2009, 00:11 said:

    Thanks all of you for your feedback. Particularly Rudyard. I’ll try and keep a closer eye on my tone in the future. Always kind of hear it in Spock’s voice (condescending? hmmm… the trekies debate).

    My next one will be another repaste from my blog. I felt the original was almost too jovial… and cleaned it up a bit. You’ll have to let me know whether I make it too dry again or too silly or reach that balance.

  6. VikingBoyBilly on 30 April 2011, 15:02 said:

    I actually think its funnier when he’s being critical and serious than when he’s trying to be lighthearted. Thats just me, though.