My very last villain, the most dangerous man in my cast, has moved himself neatly out of the ‘villain’ category. He’ll still carry out his part in the plot, and some of the things he’s going to try are pretty awful.
But after bidding his love interest, “I’m in trouble and I have to go. Have a wonderful life; I wish I could have been part of it. Don’t protect me,” … well. No one is going to keep him in the villain slot.
Perhaps that’s good… I’ve seen many authors declare with pride that they have no villains. I’ve always eyed them skeptically, imagining a contrived series of misunderstandings or stubborn, unbearable characters. You have to be a dang good writer to pull off an appealing villain-less story.
Why, Uriel? Why?