Book Review | 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains

13 steps

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.

These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.

If you like dark humour, 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.

Amazon | Goodreads


As you may or may not have noticed since the end of last year I have been focusing a lot more on my writing, trying to improve and just generally trying to get things down on paper. So when I heard that Sacha Black, the mastermind behind the Writespiration challenge who has posted lots of brilliant writing advice on her blog, had written a book to help you write better villains I knew I had to get my hands on it.

All I can say is I’m super glad I did.

This book is amazing, 13 steps to Evil talks you through various ways to help make your villain a complex and believable character and to help create conflict within your plot instead of them falling prey to obvious clichés and tropes.

If you have come across Ms. Black before then you’ll be aware that she has a distinctive voice and a knack for dark humour and I’m pleased to say that this hasn’t changed in writing 13 Steps. Her easy style makes you feel as if you are chatting with a buddy rather than reading an advice book. It doesn’t give you that feeling of being talked down to which I have come across before in books of this genre.

Throughout the book, Sacha uses many references to popular book, TV and movie characters, which really helps the understanding of what is being covered in each step. The examples given are ones that I think most people should have come across, from Harry Potter, the Marvel Universe, Disney and loads more, these give you a better grasp of how you can implement it into your own work.

Mostly each step builds upon the last so if you were to go through the book chapter by chapter you would have a very well rounded character at the end. But the great thing about 13 Steps is that you can also dip in and out of it finding the relevant chapter to what you think you might need to improve upon.

At the end of each step there is a summary but also questions and these, I think, get you focussed on what each of the steps has been trying to pinpoint. As well as this Ms. Black has done a lot of extra legwork and given us lists of traits and values important to creating these characters. She also provides a reading list of other books that will help to craft the perfect villain.

13 Steps To Evil has been incredibly helpful to me already and I think that writers at any stage of their career will also benefit from it. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.



Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.

Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.

When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.

You can connect with her through her Website, Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.


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