Saturday, June 19, 2010

Villains--No Stupid 'Heavies'

Did you ever notice how some older movie and TV villains get the hero (and/or heroine) into a tight spot, and then stand there and deliver a bragging speech? Most times, the speech is so long the hero has time to get out of the handcuffs/ropes/chains/prison; release the heroine; find and defuse the bomb, bake a cake celebrating his own genius; and construct a weapon, with which he then captures/wounds/kills the bad guy? Not very believable, is it?

Thank heaven this practice is fading quickly, and so it should.

Never write stupid heavies. Your audience will not stand for it, because they sense that in some obscure way, you are insulting them. Stupid heavies are a cheat played upon your viewer/ reader, and while they may not know exactly how it happened, they come away feeling disgruntled.

Go the harder but more professional route: make your bad guy at least as smart as your hero. Preferably smarter, and even better, totally unexpected.

Let him be able to outwit the hero, but then you as writer must pull out of the hero's background/education/street wisdom some little jewel of expertise, some obscure bit of information, that will completely foil the Bad Guy's plans.

It's not as easy as the old 'comic book' routine, but you will satisfy your viewer/reader's intellect as well as his thirst for adventure.

Try it next time you write. I predict you'll love it!


Lang out.

P.S.: Did you ever notice that some writers construct sentences a whole paragraph long? It's a bad habit, not to be emulated. The above proving that just because a writer is published doesn't mean he is perfect. Especially this writer.

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