googlead166c37c697d4d3.html Glenn Ashton Author Blog: Your Adams & Eves: Of Villains & Villas

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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Your Adams & Eves: Of Villains & Villas

James Bond
Do you have a worthy villain? Is your Bad Guy bad enough? How do you measure his 'badness'? It's no good just to people your novel with good heroes; you also need villains of substance.
Blake Snyder puts it well in Save the Cat! – he has a title Make the Bad Guy Badder. He writes that we don't want to see nobodies onscreen, we want to see heroes. And he argues persuasively that there is a win-win correlation between your Hero and your Bad Guy:
And making the bad guy badder automatically makes the hero bigger. It's one of the Immutable Laws of Screenwwriting. Think about James Bond. What makes him James Bond is Goldfinger, Blofeld, and Dr. No... He needs someone bigger to play with to make his own heroism bigger. He needs an antagonist whose powers match his own ... The point is that the hero and the bad guy are a matched set and should be of  equal skill and strength, with the bad guy being just slightly more powerful than the hero because he is willing to go to any lengths to win... So if your hero and your bad guy are not of equal strength, make them so, but give the edge to the bad guy.
We ended up with three themes (global warming, the obelisk quest, and the Tough Bug); we also ended up with two sets of Bad Guys, one for the Tough Bug theme, and one for the other two themes.
One of the Bad Guys we located in a palace on the Grand Canal of Venice. The Bad Guy family we modelled on a real family that had been a powerful force in Venice for many generations:  the Cornaro family. For centuries this wealthy family dominated the city state of Venice, commissioning palaces, theaters and other buildings, and contributing members to the political elite.
We saw many palaces as our gondolier sculled us past them, and one in particular popped up when we needed a place for some climactic skullduggery – a five storey building with a curving exterior staircase.
The 'Gitti' Palace in Venice
This gave us our setting: a dark night during the famous Carnival of Venice, a gondola moving soundlessly through the waters of a canal, and the voices of late-night revellers drifting over the lapping water ...

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