Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Writing Myself into a Corner


If you want a villain to be taken seriously, he's gotta be dangerous. If your villain captures the hero and then starts monologuing or puts him into the unnecessarily slow deathtrap and leaves, you're writing camp, not adventure fiction.

When the villain has your hero helpless due to a poison dart, the villain's first impulse should be "Kill him!" -- unless he has a compelling reason to keep your character prisoner.

If the villain has a compelling reason to keep your character prisoner, any non-idiot will strip your hero, bind him hand-and-foot, and keep an eye on him.

Which makes it really hard to come up with a convincing way for the hero to escape. 0.o Gah! Stupid plot being hard!

-The Gneech


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 22nd, 2006 05:56 pm (UTC)
A daring rescue from a secondary character?
Or someone on the hero's side disguised as a guard or something?

"Shh. Just play along." she whispered.
"The Boss wants this little creep transferred."

Or something along those lines.
Nov. 22nd, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
Your hero is an elf on top of everything else?

Elves are traditionally connected to nature. There's got to be something he can talk to to cause trouble and/or get a slight advantage.

Nov. 22nd, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
He knows a bit of sorcery (as evidenced by his magic circle against the ghosts if nothing else); I was thinking I might use that. I just need to think of some way to make it interesting!

Nov. 22nd, 2006 06:12 pm (UTC)
Apprentice cantrips are typically second nature to anything but the most idiot sorceors. Most are annoying (like making a small spark or a bang) but some can be useful (like making a sharp rock jump into your hand, or creating a lighter sized flame)

Now a truely smart villian would take some time to bind your hero's powers as well, but that might take a bit of time in a quiet place.
Nov. 22nd, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Well, yes and no ... this is a setting where magic is rare and weird (in the "weird fiction" sense of the term) and highly individualized. You can't just "take away the wizard's component pouch and gag them" to render them null forces, so to speak. The only really effective way to negate a magician is to keep them unconscious -- which would make for a very dull tale. ;)

However, thinking about the possibilities given what I've written about Soloman's use of magic in the past has given me some ideas. Quick, Robin, to the bat-Wordpad!

-The Gneech
Nov. 22nd, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
Well, I was considering something along the lines of carving a series of anti-magic glyphs into the wizard's back that short circuited anything he tried.

However things work tho. :)
Nov. 22nd, 2006 07:18 pm (UTC)
The recipe calls for fresh hero parts...
Nov. 22nd, 2006 07:26 pm (UTC)
What if he only has I Can't Believe It's Not Hero?
Nov. 22nd, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
"You mustn't fool with Mother Nature."

Oh, wait, wrong brand.
Nov. 22nd, 2006 08:07 pm (UTC)
Remember how this was done in the Conan movie.

"Yes, crucify him. An unnecessarily painful and very slow death. And let's do it out in the wilderness, far away from where we can watch and make sure that he doesn't, y'know, survive and return to kill us or anything. Yeah, that should do. Y'know, maybe we should leave a fast horse and some swords nearby, for when he escapes and comes to kill us..."
Nov. 22nd, 2006 08:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah, well, the Conan movie had problems. ;)

FWIW, the original REH tale that particular scene was taken from, made much more sense.

Nov. 22nd, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
I'll give the movie it's fair due, it was one of the best sword&sandle movies ever made. Which is really because the genre is next to impossible to make into feature films without it becomming unbearably awful ;)
Nov. 22nd, 2006 08:12 pm (UTC)
"If the villain has a compelling reason to keep your character prisoner, any non-idiot will strip your hero, bind him hand-and-foot, and keep an eye on him."

Kinky! ^.^
Nov. 22nd, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
First thing that comes to mind is "The bad guy looks away for one split second --- yoink!" Barring that, a Duh Ex Machina :P just to get the plot going. You can go back and fix it later.

Lizard Rat out.
Randomly Commenting in Albany NY
Nov. 24th, 2006 09:16 pm (UTC)
I was also thinking of a distraction of some sort.
Nov. 22nd, 2006 08:29 pm (UTC)
If the villain has a compelling reason to keep your character prisoner, any non-idiot will strip your hero, bind him hand-and-foot, and keep an eye on him.

If your villain is a leader-type rather than a lone operative, then he probably has other things he needs to do - he's not going to be personally standing guard over the hero. And underlings almost never have the same sense of connectedness to the security of the prisoner; underlings are usually just average schmoes with a somewhat out-of-the-ordinary boss. As such, the guards are likely to slack off, particularly if the hero appears to be rather boringly just laying there, tied up, on the floor. The hero is, of course, lulling them into a false sense of security...
Nov. 23rd, 2006 03:25 am (UTC)
A spell would be perfect for this situation. It is a skill we know he has, and one that the villain isn't likely to realize that he has, given how rare magic is in the world. So it wouldn't be too surprising or feel like an excuse. The hero is simply being tricky given the skill sets we already know he possesses. The villain isn't being too stupid because he has no reason to suspect the hero can even get free that way. -Frisk
Nov. 23rd, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
Oh come on... it is inevitable that all stories have some "necessary bad writing" in them.

Of course if it was me, I would of stripped the hero nakid, and locked him in an iron maiden, suspended over a pit of sharp spikes and nasty bitie things...
Nov. 23rd, 2006 07:25 am (UTC)
damn you got me to monolouging....
Nov. 23rd, 2006 09:11 am (UTC)
well-observed, good sir!
Nov. 23rd, 2006 06:53 pm (UTC)
Well human stupidity is always an ace. The villain may be smart and may know what to do but put someone else in the mix to do his job and you may not get the best of results. You then can also get some bonus points for badness when the villain kills the idiot who let the hero escape.
Nov. 24th, 2006 09:17 pm (UTC)
Remember if he uses a gun, it must be shown on the mantle in Act I.
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

August 2019


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow