John Rogers posts a couple of interesting ways to bust your villain out of a rut.
Occasionally, LEVERAGE writer Albert Kim will regale us with stories of the horrible traditions and kabuki of his previous corporate life. He recently explained the idea of the 360 degree job review. You are reviewed by:
1.) Your bosses
2.) Your peers
3.) Your underlings.
I started doing this as a way to develop characters, and I have to admit I kind of dig it. How does Indiana Jones's boss at the university feel about him? Other archeologists? His students? How about the bad guys? "Major Arnold Toht is the best commandant I've ever had. He never sends us into dangerous situations without also taking the same risk. He is very organized and makes sure we have the tools and resources necessary to serve the Fuhrer. We always go to interesting places, and he really encourages individual initiative. His determination is an inspiration to us all ..."
Years ago another writer taught me a simple exercise -- describe a character, hero or villain, as his best friend would describe him while setting up a blind date. Then do it from the point of view of the co-worker who hates his guts and is unloading to his wife after work, or finally has a chance to sink him with a job recommendation.