Mar 13, 2010

What villain?

(Indiana Jones is not the hero or villain of this story. He's there for purely entertainment purposes only. )

So this broad-shoulder, gun totting man walks into a club. His black hat is pulled down low, and the duster he's wearing billows. OH, yeah. Scary dude. He's mean with more battle scars than the mafia guys on General Hospital. There's bourbon on his breath and death in his eyes.

The guy walks over to the hero and presses the gun against his temple. He laughs and says, "You're a dead man Mr. Walker."

Mr. Walker, our hero, puts down his old-fashioned and curls his fingers into a faux-gun, making the boom sound.

The villain falls over dead.

Okay, okay. This is an exaggerations--if not, you have some serious learning to do. But, variations of this lackluster showdown happens all the time. Writers love their MC and shy away from them having their asses kicked. When they make it to the final scene, most authors want to race right through the ending so everyone can bow down to the hero.

Er, no.

Or, even worse, you pull out some random kryptonite that had never been introduced in the story and defeat the villain with it. Ack.

When you write a story, you commit to hitting your hero where it hurts.  Your hero has to win only AFTER he gets the crap beat out of him (varies, depending on your genre) at least once. Maybe after Mrs. Walker dumps him for the villain or gets tossed into a garbage can and left for dead. Most people do this without truly understanding why their favorite characters needs a few beatings or a break-up. It's because, for winning to mean anything, your character has to earn it.

Short. Simple. Sweet.

In what ways have you proven your character earns the big win in the end? Did you find knocking the MC down first easy or difficult? Did you recently give your MC a mini-win in the first cpl of chapters without truly understanding why he/she deserved it?

Feel free to answer these questions or offer up your own thoughts in the comment section of this post.


SB said...

great questions. i should start to copy your suggestions into a document so that when and if i get gutsy enough to write, i can have a reference of what and what not to do!

Ash. Elizabeth said...

SB, you should go for it! I think writing is a great way to deal with stuff sometimes. I love the fact that I can sort of transport myself into a diff world and deal with problems other than my own sometimes.

& don't worry if you don't want to save it because I'll never delete any of my posts. Sometimes I learn as I write them so there good for, even me, to look back on sometimes.

Elle Strauss said...

Good point in not making the ending too easy on your protag.

Nice to see you in blogville again, too!

Ash. Elizabeth said...

Elle, I know it's about time, huh? I actually missed blogging so much : )