Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wednesday's Writer's Tip - Villains' Rewards

Still using Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight V. Swain and this time I'm looking at rewarding the villain. Sounds easy to say they just up and die, go to jail, don't gain their goal. But when doing this their character must be taken into consideration. Just failing to reach their goal may not be enough. Seeing them punished by the law may not be enough. Having them go out in a way with the hero or heroine choosing the bad guy's reward may be enough especially if it comes as a surprise to the reader and give them that satisfying ending to the story.

Stories don't necessarily have to end with happily ever after but they should end with a way that satisfies the reader.

In the end, the bad guy must be shown to be unworthy of receiving the reward he desires. Readers like to see the guilty punished and the good rewarded. To give the bad guy the reward he seeks confuses the reader. Confusing the reader isn't a good thing. There is one place where it can seem like the bad guy seems to receive what he wants and that is when writing a series with the same character.

When I was writing the Affinities series, at the end of each of the stories, the villain remained to trouble the four children in the next book. Now here's the buy. In the first story, he appeared to be winning what he wanted. To know where the children were. What I did was let him know they were alive but were on the move and though it looks like he has a tie to one of the four. This is severed early in the second book but then his evilness finds another way but once again at the end of the second book, he knows they are alive and that he may reach his goal. This continues to the end of the fourth book when he receives his due and that is destruction.

So remember to give the bad guy what he's do but make it clear to your reader that receiving what he deserves is based on his character, not by the duex machine,


Melissa Keir said...

Thanks for the information. :) So helpful to remember!!

Marianne Stephens said...

Can't make a bad guy "get away" with anything at the end of a story. Readers need that closure to know that "if you do the crime you do the time"...and let the villain get what he/she deserves.