While it is important to have a well-rounded set of writing skills the truth of the matter is that some elements in a story are more important to its success than others. Strong opening hooks and a killer tagline are pivotal in attracting an audience to your story, but the villain is often the deciding factor in how much they enjoy it once they immerse themselves into your tale.
Where would Star Wars be without Darth Vader? Or Silence of the Lambs without Hannibal Lecter? This prompt is based on the premise that you can build a story around an interesting villain.
Start with a concept for your villain. Maybe you already have one in mind that has been sitting in your character diary for years waiting to get out. If not, take a look at stories with strong villains and either alter one of them to fit your story or combine two of them to create someone completely different. Once you have a villain determine what it is they want and throw the hero in the way.
For my example, I latched onto the idea of a villain who believes that if he kills the people that he loves they will be with him in the afterlife. So he is motivated out of a fear of being alone and wants to make sure that when he finally dies he will be surrounded by the people who really loved him. I decided to place my villain into a Romance-Horror. (Is that even a category?)
Kill the Ones You Love – After years of dating losers, Mary has finally found the perfect man. He is kind, sensitive, and funny. Her life is perfect until she discovers a link between her fiancé and a serial killer who has murdered his four wives, all of his family, and a large number of his in-laws. How can she convince him to call off the wedding without making him mad enough to kill her?