1. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Every Villain Needs a Hero

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Simpson17866, Sep 19, 2016.

    So the lead cast of my Urban Fantasy novel was supposed to be

    4 lead protagonists, three villainous and the other not

    1 lead villain antagonist and 2 of his evil henchmen

    1 Wild Card villain who goes back and forth between helping the protagonists and hurting them

    and the heroes trying to stop the Wild Card (the fight for which my protagonists get caught in the middle)​

    Over the last 31,000 words, my non-villain protagonist has gotten a lot less screen time than I thought he would.

    On a "completely unrelated note," I've been frustrated all week with how much I don't like my manuscript so far compared to how much I love the Doctor Who story I've finished.

    And I had no idea why: I loved the characters I came up with, I loved the story I was telling about them, I loved the process of putting words on the page, and I loved the sentences in the manuscript. Just not the manuscript itself.

    I've been spending all week trying to compare and contrast the two stories to figure out what I'm doing wrong with my WIP:

    Both stories mix hero protagonists, villain protagonists, hero antagonists, and villain antagonists in the same respective narratives

    The POV protagonist of my UrFan is different from me in almost every way, but so are most of my Doctor Who POVs

    My Doctor Who story has 5 third-person limited, past-tense POVs (3 good, 1 evil, and 1 neutral), my UrFan is told first-person present from just one of them (evil). Question to myself: "Should I change to multiple third-person limited past-tenses?"

    My Doctor Who story was written linearly in Microsoft Word, but my UrFan has predominantly been written back-and-forth in Scrivener. "Should I go back to Word so that I feel the story the same way a reader would?"

    My Doctor Who story jumps into a world full to the brim with SciFi, but my UrFan starts out a lot more mundane before my characters discover the existence of magic, and the magic they do learn about starts out very low-key and is more a thing they use than like a part of the world itself. Should I try focusing less on the "Urban" and more on the "Fantasy"?

    I've mostly ruled out my first two questions and I'm still pondering the third, but I thought of something last night that took me in a completely different direction: I haven't been using my non-villainous character.

    So far I've had two villain protagonists rob banks, try to get a third villain to the hospital after an explosion, try to pay back a villainous loan shark who demands even more, run into the new rival villain responsible for the explosion ...

    The very first thing I ever posted on this website was that villain protagonists need to be combined with heroes (either protagonists and/or antagonists)

    and somehow I let myself forget that. The single biggest difference between my UrFan manuscript so far versus my Doctor Who story is that my Doctor Who villain protagonist was always contrasted by heroic characters trying (albeit failing) to stop her from crossing the line. It's not just about "readers care about heroes more than they care about villains," I care more about my villains when I have heroes to contrast them against.

    Just the idea of re-outlining my story to bring the non-villain back on-screen is already making me want to read about my villains more than I have wanted to.

    Villain vs. Villain vs. Villain can work. If there are also Heroes trying to do something else.
     
  2. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    After reading all of that I don't think your problem is the dynamic between your protagonists. You not only reason that your protagonist formula can succeed, but also how it can succeed. Be confident in your assessment.

    Your actual problem with your WIP is that you just don't like it as much as your Fanfic. This may have less to do with structure and more to do with the established lore and characters of Dr Who. It's far more liberating to work with established assets than having to dedicate most of your creative juices to establishing your own. Your creation is just going to feel flat when directly compared to the vast and vibrant world of a long running series.

    Try posting your WIP in the workshop so it can be assessed on its own merits.
     
  3. Simpson17866
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    Simpson17866 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Huh. I do have a bunch of ideas for the supernatural world that my mundane protagonists don't initially know about (many of them being summarized here), but now that you mention it I haven't put a whole lot of it into the WIP itself.

    Maybe I should look more into that third point from my OP after all:
    Regarding my non-villain protagonist: My manuscript so far has him communicate with my POV villain mostly by phone, and the original plan would be that he shows up in person again towards the end. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time re-outlining to see how much more he could do if I bring him back sooner. I'm not sure I'm going to go that route anymore, but I'm still going to make him keep in touch more with my POV villain until whenever they do meet up in person again.
     
  4. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Maybe you just like your villain a bit more, cause you like his dynamic and role within the story. You said the protagonist is kinda mundane, and perhaps that is why you haven't really played him on the stage. Not that there is a problem with that, as you can have an all villain story if you want. IDK, it is up to you whether you think that it needs to be more about the pro than the antag. Each has it's own approach and appeal. :)
     
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