Thursday, April 19, 2012
Make The Bad Guy BADDER
In SAVE THE CAT, Blake Snyder says: If your HERO seems average, unheroic, insignificant, boring, maybe it's the ANTAGONIST that's the problem. So make the bad guy BADDER!
Sometimes we want our hero to win so badly that we don't make it impossible for him to do so. We don't up the ante or have him take larger risks. Making the bad guy badder automatically makes the hero BIGGER!
But here's what I would add (if I may, Mr. Snyder): Make both of them more complex and therefore, more compelling! It's obvious that the reader needs to feel something for the protagonist, so we spend loads of writing time making sure that the reader cares.
But what if the reader feels conflicted--just a little--for the antagonist, too? Moments of compassion or understanding or insight.
Take Klaus, in THE VAMPIRE DIARIES:
He is one BAD dude. But wait a minute--what's this softer side he shows around Caroline? Why does Klaus suddenly look cuter, sexier, more appealing? *bow chicka wow wow*
Or how about Lady's Maid O'Brien, in DOWNTON ABBEY?
Behind the scenes she's self-serving, mean, and vindictive. But in season one (that's as far as I got, so no spoilers from season two, please), she shows a conscience and a certain helplessness during the soap/bathtub/baby scene with Lady Cora.
And last but not least, Cersei Lannister in GAME OF THRONES.
I mean, let's face it, there are so many villains in this book/television series it's hard to choose just one. But from the beginning she's compelled me.
Vicious in her own right as the Queen Dowager, she had a direct hand in who her evil son Joffrey has become on the throne (I find NO redeeming qualities in him yet). Still, she's quite vulnerable when it comes to love (no matter how masochistic it might be) and the well-being of her children.
Who would you add to this list?
(image, image, image)