1. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    How can the villain explain this without suffering from the corny 'talking killer cliche'?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ryan Elder, Jun 22, 2016.

    For my screenplay, basically it's a thriller and one of the main characters, who the reader or audience, is thought to have been innocent the entire time, all of a sudden pulls out a gun, takes the protagonist hostage, and starts a sinister plan in the works.

    However, the audience has no idea that she is bad up to this point, and they are going to be wondering WTF is going on, why is doing this all of a sudden?

    So I am wondering how I can explain it to the audience without it coming off as a corny James Bond way. By that I mean, where the villain will hold Bond hostage and explain the entire plan to him, like Red Grant did in From Russia with Love, as well as others.

    I could also not have the villain explain anything at all, and just show flashbacks. But there may be two disadvantages to doing this.

    1. The main character doesn't know the reason, only the audience... If the MC hypothesizes as to why she was bad the whole time, it will just be a theory, and he will not be totally sure, if that's okay.

    2. The flashbacks sort of break away from the suspense, cause the rest of the story has to be put on hold in favor of a visual recap, if that's okay. Before in the script, I described a hand with a glove on, breaking a window and unlocking the door to a house, while sneaking in. So if I show the flashback, the audience will then see that that hand, is that of the newly revealed villain, which they did not know. But could doing it that way come off as cheesy?

    What do you think? The hostage taker has a reason to keep the MC alive as part of her plan to set him up and all, but I don't know if she has a reason to bother to explain WHY to him, even if out of ego. So therefore, maybe it doesn't count as the talking killer cliche if the villain does not want to kill the MC but just use him as a hostage for the time being?

    Or I can do the flashback recap method. What do you think?
     
  2. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    There need to be little clues planted earlier on in the story. It's okay if they're very subtle (of course you don't want to be obvious), but at the moment where the villain is revealed, the detective/readers need to have the dots explained- they can look back and be like "oh, that's how those things tied together."

    If that isn't there, and if the reveal is totally out of left field, you have a Deux Ex Machina, which can cheapen a story just as badly as saying "it was all just a dream." Do some Google research on Deux Ex Machina and other alternatives.

    And you're right, that the villian would NOT just explain the whole plan to the protag. This would probably be counter-productive and stupid from the villain's perspective, because he'd be putting knowledge and power into the protag's hands. It would be better if the protag finds out the reasons another way. I.e. maybe he hears/witnesses something he wasn't supposed to, finds some correspondence that gives it away, or otherwise does the work to discover the information on his own.
     
  3. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Okay thanks. Well in my story by the time the villain explains her plan to him, it's too late for him to do anything about it. So would she explain it out of ego, if it's too late for him?

    Also I am not sure how to plant clues along the way. Earlier in the story, a thug breaks into her house looking for her. I wrote it so that some commotion is heard by other characters, nearby and that hands with gloves on breaks into the door and ransack the place, not revealing who the person wearing the gloves is.

    Then later on in the story, she pulls a gun and starts taking hostages, in a different situation. How is the reader suppose to know that she staged her own break in, without some sort of recap? Will they figure out that the hands with gloves on, that broke into the house and ransacked it were hers?
     
  4. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    The "villain explaining herself at the end" thing does seem a little corny. But, to help avoid that feeling, you should set up your villain as the type of person who would be in-character to do that. Maybe there are smaller things where after they've ripped someone off, they brag about it to boost their ego. This way, when they do it at the end, it's fitting and not "cheesy comic book villain move."
     

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