This one time at Writer's Camp…
Push Them Good
So that “I ran 2.5 miles and it didn’t hurt” thing I was talking about the other day?
It took a day for it to catch up with me, but for the past two days I’ve been walking around like an 80 year old arthritic man. My hips — hips! — hurt, and I don’t even want to talk about the pain my quads are in right now. It’s inhumane.
So naturally I’ve been walking more at work than before…
A friend of mine sent me a short story to look over before he submitted it yesterday (no, I don’t do this often. I did it for him because I’ve known him for a very long time now) and it got me to thinking about the lack of quality supernatural villains these days. No, I’m not talking about his villains, but just about everyone’s. Jim Butcher had some excellent villains in his early days, but now he has to keep upping the ante (and have a complete bomb of a villain occasionally, like in Ghost Story). Stephanie Meyer had… glittery Italian evil vampires? Whiny emo werewolves? Not sure.
(I’m looking at my bookshelf right now and I can’t seem to find any urban fantasy outside of Butcher… that’s odd)
Larry Correia had some pretty good villains in his Monster Hunter Inc series, but his evil overlord villain is sorta stuck in a whole different dimension. And the villains in Cassandra Clare’s Infernal Devices series are rather pathetic and easily defeatable (if a barely trained girl can defeat them through the power of menage a trois, then anybody can beat them).
*sigh* I miss the Mayor (Buffy fans know who I’m talking about). I miss the Big Bad. I miss the villains who can actually make the hero sweat a little, make them nervous, make them realize that they probably won’t win. It makes the hero’s fight that much better, the victory that much sweeter. If you have a badass superhero, then damn it you better be bringing one bigger badass of a villain to the table. Let the conflict drive the plot, not the plot drive the conflict. Let that hero bleed, feel pain, feel desperation.
Sometimes your characters will achieve some amazing things if you just push them hard enough.