Monday, August 12, 2019

Defeating the Bad Guy

In a novel I read recently, the heroine faces a human villain and a major supernatural villain.  She spends the novel avoiding being killed by the human villain’s minions while the supernatural villain lurks in the background waiting to destroy the world.  

Toward the end of the novel, the surviving minions show up for a final showdown with the heroine and her supporters.  A huge battle ensues, and the heroine is trapped.  The human villain reveals himself, and he’s killed within a few paragraphs by one of the heroine’s friends in an offhand manner.  That’s it.

The heroine had a longer scene with a sales clerk selling her a magical weapon than the final confrontation with the human villain, and she didn’t even take a shot at the bad guy.  He’s killed by a secondary character.

Meanwhile, the supernatural villain, a god no less, who has been the lurking big bad for the whole series, finally decides to show up to kill the heroine then wipe out life on Earth.  

He rates half a chapter, most of it a chase scene, before he’s killed in a mildly clever manner.  

If you have a villain, you have to give him a major confrontation with the main character, and it has to be long enough to give the reader a sense of anticipation, a sense of fear that the bad guy may win, and an awareness the hero is worthy of being the hero by having him fight with everything he has and then some to defeat this monster.  

Think of some of the great confrontations in the movies.  Luke Skywalker against Darth Vader.  Jake Sully and the Na’vi against the human forces and the Marine commander in AVATAR.  Thanos against the Avengers which took two dang movies for the epic confrontations.  The sheriff’s gun fight with the outlaws in HIGH NOON.  All involved struggles against the bad guy’s forces then a final confrontation between the main character and the bad guy.  All involved enough screen time to make that final confrontation epic.  

Make your own final confrontation epic.

NOTE:  Even if your novel doesn’t involve violence and the main antagonist is your character’s bitchy, controlling mother, you still need that final confrontation—that moment when the main character stands her own ground and says, “I’m not your little girl anymore.  I’m my own woman,”  and walks away to live her own life. 

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