Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Foiling the Villain by Sandra Ardoin

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The movie Star Trek: Into Darkness came out in May and we had to see it as a family since we enjoyed the last one. 

So, I was sitting in the theater, enjoying the movie and minding my own business, when one line of dialog detonated in my head like a photon torpedo. I’ll paraphrase the idea since I didn’t whip out pen and paper to write the exact wording in the dark. The idea was simply this: Find out what he (the villain) wants and see to it he doesn’t get it.

Okay, that’s such a simple concept that my reaction should have been, “Uh…yeah, I know that.” But, oddly enough, my thoughts went immediately to the antagonist in my project and that person’s reasons for doing what they do. Honestly, I ended up feeling a bit sorry for the poor creature—but not enough to let my hero and heroine fail.

Like our heroes and heroines, our villains need a goal and motivation, and they need to be things in direct opposition to what the good guys want. Much of the time, the antagonist believes he or she is in the right, and (in their minds) there's a certain justification to what they do, but they don’t go about accomplishing their goal in the right way. Discover what your antagonist wants more than anything and why, and let the protagonist stop him before he gets it.

Overall, I found Star Trek: Into Darkness to be an excellent lesson in the tug-of-war that should take place between the characters. Another gem: let the bad guy win on occasion. It ups the stakes and keeps the tension high.

When was the last time you experienced a sudden explosion of understanding—when you heard or read something that boiled down a concept you already knew into such simple terms that it left you reeling? (I doubt I’m the only person that happens to.)

Have you ever watched a movie and come away with a concept that helped your writing?


Besides being part of the fabulous Seriously Write Blog team, Sandra writes Christian romance, with her focus on Historical Romance. You'll find her children's short story, "Get a Clue," in Family Ties: Thirteen Short Stories.
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