1. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672

    Showing a big bad in a series?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GuardianWynn, Jan 19, 2016.

    So, I got what I think is going to be a 5 book series. The true big bad is not in book 1.

    Actually, no hint to him is in book one. Some references to him are there once you know he exists.

    Book two doesn't have him either. But it does make it known he exists, by revealing the bad guy in this story is just a minion.

    Book 3 isn't fully defined yet, but it probably shouldn't include him. It isn't is not his time yet. Plot reasons place him in other places away from the MC, meaning this book probably won't even include his soldiers. I sort of hate stories that have the villain repeat his mistakes. Which why he isn't here. He sent a guy that tried, and failed. So he is regrouping and planning.

    Book 4. Bad guys new plan. Pushing the heroes to their limit. But they again win. So at the end of this book, or the beginning of the next. He comes down himself. 2 attempts, that was it. The king has come down to deal with this.

    Book 5. Well, obvious?

    A friend suggested that book 3 should include some screen time of the big bad. Even if it didn't connect to the plot. If it was a prologue, or randomly in there or whatever. He thinks the book should at some point cut to the bad guy so that the audience has something to think of when they think about what he is or can do.

    What do you guys think?
     
  2. HistoricalScience
    Offline

    HistoricalScience Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    160
    If your first two books don't have the main antagonist of the overall series then they should have their own antagonist(s) big and bad enough that the reader won't realize there's something even bigger lurking on the horizon.

    In my trilogy, I set up one person as the main antagonist for the first two books. He is killed at the end of the second book and only then do the characters realize how much BIGGER it is than just that one person. So not until book three are the "group of antagonists/string-pullers" even known or mentioned.
     
  3. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    Oh yes. I agree completely.
    I tried not to overdo the detail.

    Book 1 and 2 have antognists.

    Book 1 villain is competely stand alone. Not to say they are not mermorable or important, just not related to the bigger bad. At least not by any measure they are aware of. lol

    Book 2 features a puppet in more or less the same way you said it.

    The real questions is the following.

    Does he need to be scene in book 3? The position seems to be that at the end of book 2 he is known. But plot wise he can't do anything yet. If showing him IS in fact this important, should I take my friends advice and show him burning down a random town for no reason other than it to be threatening? It would not connect to the book in any other way. It would litterally be cutting to the bad guy for ten seconds just to make you see how scary he is.

    Good or bad idea?
     
  4. HistoricalScience
    Offline

    HistoricalScience Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    160
    If it doesn't connect to anything else in the story then I'd say skip it. Perhaps in the third book have an antagonist that is closely connected to the main baddie/acting directly on his behalf/right hand man as opposed to just a "minion" as you do in book 2. This could introduce more about what the main antagonist is all about/his plans/etc without introducing him/her in a specific scene until you want to, which seems to be in book 4.
     
  5. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    That might work.

    Well to be fair on the explanation.

    Book 2 was 1 elite.

    Book 4 is 8 elites.

    So, the concept in book 3 for him, is that he was waiting and watching. He has other projects going on. He doesn't want to waste resources. So after the time-gap in which book 3 needs to be for other reasons. Book 4 he sends down his elites having come to the conclusion that he can spare these 8 and that they should win without issue.

    So, book 3 could have a spy of his discovered. :D Since he probably spied on them.

    But my friends argument is he needs screen time. So you disagree with that argument then?
     
  6. HistoricalScience
    Offline

    HistoricalScience Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    160
    I don't think anything ever NEEDS to be done. If it works, it works.

    If you end up adding a scene in book 3 and it works then great! If you don't and it still works then great! Readers may have their own personal preferences but neither avenues are right nor wrong.

    Since he doesn't appear to be a major/direct focus in the first half of the series, it wouldn't bother me to not see him until book 4. I think the key aspect would be building the myth or legend around this guy and suspense before his first scene. Sometimes not seeing the monster is scarier.
     
  7. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    Yeah. I know what you mean with less is more.

    Especially in the context that he is stronger than his elites.

    So there is that hidden power scaling. You know they follow him, because he can beat them. So not only is he a monster, he is a monster strong enough to handle all of them and more. All that can be said without him being on screen. Right?
     
  8. HistoricalScience
    Offline

    HistoricalScience Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    198
    Likes Received:
    160
    Perhaps the elites are very stressed about failing their mission, how the boss would react, they certainly couldn't go back alive and admit failure.
     
  9. GuardianWynn
    Offline

    GuardianWynn Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2014
    Messages:
    2,088
    Likes Received:
    672
    Yeah, but that part I am not so worried about. Originally I was thinking of book 4 as 3.

    The stuff I see happening in three I felt could be skipped, but looking back. A lot of stuff that is important happens. More than that, the passage of time, I think that is something I can't just say but make the reader feel. Not in the sense of boring them. But In my head I saw it as

    -Book 2 is elite one.

    -Five years later is the next elites that will be book 3.

    I realize that is a mistake. Stuff happens there and that is something I should show. But there is no real way to bring the big bad into any sort of direct light. Maybe the heroes capturing a spy, but that is it. Even then, it would probably make more sense they didn't capture him, but just mentioned how they were aware of him. I say this because of something like. "Yes, I know he is there. I capture him, he is either going to report that back or he is never going back his leader. Either way I give the leader more information than I would care to. Just grin and bare it and pretend he isn't there. Also no showing off either."

    So I think you are right. While he may not be there the threat of him is. Another book three moment I see is the hero looking at the battle site of book 2 climax. And sort of thinking. "He was so strong. Even now. I am probably not as strong as he was. How am I going to deal with something stronger than him. What if I fail?"

    You strike me as the kind of person that would prefer the above to cases even if you don't see the bad guy in them.. Am I right?
     
  10. Cave Troll
    Offline

    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2015
    Messages:
    3,807
    Likes Received:
    2,416
    Location:
    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    In the Animorphs series (Yeah I know it is dated and for a younger audience) they introduce the main antagonists in the first book, and then spend the entire series (54 books) trying to stop them.

    I suppose it could work both ways. Personally if a series doesn't start out with a defined antagonist, then why not lead with them? If there isn't a defined antagonist then don't bother shoehorning one in at the end of the series. Honestly having a more expansive world in most cases is better than chasing after on bad guy, when you can send the protagonists on many much more interesting adventures with lesser antagonists. I don't know much about them so much anymore since they all seem to have inconsistencies to them, but these are just my thoughts on the subject. Just go for it and see how it all plays out. :)
     

Share This Page