Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Better villain = better hero and better story

I know we all have other things on our mind right now, but this is a great article if you'd like a writing-related distraction: 10 Most Thought-Provoking Villain Monologues.

A lousy villain doesn't help your hero. A superior villain elevates your hero, so you need to put as much work into your bad guy as you do your good guy.

This reminds me of the experience years ago when I got to judge some Project Greenlight scripts. Out of the twenty scripts I read and rated, I'd say three were really exceptional. Most were average and unmemorable, and there were a handful that were really awful. One was an Indian burial ground story, a concept that was old and tired even back in the 2000's. One had an evil vampiric force that slaughtered an entire town except for the lead character for no particular reason, at least none that was given in the script. There were a couple of good old fashioned government conspiracy stories that didn't bring anything new to that genre. The absolute worst was a poorly written ripoff of A Christmas Story that threw in an alcoholic stepfather as a comedic device. And no, it wasn't funny. None of the characters in any of these scripts were noteworthy or memorable in any way. I only remember them as crappy scripts, not stories about people that stick in my memory.

My point is that it's not enough to write a script. You have to write a story and a story needs interesting, well-developed characters.

One of the best pieces of advice I've seen in regards to writing villains is to keep in mind that they are the heroes of their own story. I think you see a lot of that in this ScreenCraft article. It also drives home the importance of great dialogue. There's just a lot of really terrific info here. Give it a look or bookmark it for future reference. And stay healthy!

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