Monday, September 5, 2011

Two Months Later

School has started; I'm trying a semester without creative writing classes and with more violin practice. I've learned that parking next to a lake means circumnavigating around it and figuring out which location is ideal.

In my novel, I've written a "why don't you just shoot her" scenario. The scene comes from an immortal exchange between the Joker and his girlfriend, Harley Quinn:

Harley Quinn: Why don't you just shoot him [Batman]?
Joker: "Just shoot him?" Know this, my sweet: the death of Batman must be nothing less than a masterpiece! The triumph of my sheer comic genius over his ridiculous mask and gadgets!

Although the Joker is not the picturesque picture of a sympathetic villain, he has a point. In a novel where the author wants the hero to win, the villain cannot simply kill the protagonist. There has to be a cat and mouse game, a chance for the hero to fight back, and time to hold the story for a long time. In Harry Potter, for example, Voldemort has many times to kill Harry outright but gives him a chance to join him (Book One), fight back (Two and Four), or face his minions (Books Five and Seven, oh so much).

Even if the villain is utilitarian, he cannot kill the protagonist with one gunshot. I don't believe in divinity, but when you control the novel, you are its god. You control what's going on, so you have to manipulate the controls so that a fatal gunshot becomes a flesh wound, or even a swarm of bubbles. In my case, my hero's wound from being shot allows her to escape, just making the "just shoot him" scenario a "nice job fixing it, villain," since the villains are at the tether end of their sanity.

Think about this trope and use it wisely. Wizards in Harry Potter didn't have guns, after all, but they could still be dangerous.

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