March 20th, 2011, 3:17 pm
Take That, Neil Kapit
One of the most frustrating things about doing long-form series fiction is that when you create a character or idea who seems less and less interesting in practice, you're usually forced to continue with that. One of the most rewarding things about long-form series fiction is that as you keep going and your universe develops, you can find ways to remake that character or idea into something to fit the increased complexity of your framework.
I started doing Ruby's World over 2 and a half years ago, so at the time I thought that the most compelling villains were those who were just pure evil to the Nth degree. Hence, the physical face of Beagle was Buzarde', who I wrote as more and more deranged with each appearance. It was fun to write a character that was every inch a depraved serial killer, but it didn't make him a very interesting character to others.
I would hardly be the first person to make this mistake, as many writers enjoy creating Complete Monster villains. Even now, I can still appreciate the appeal. However, ideally even those bad guys have some kind of viewpoint with some appeal beyond the complete release of impulses. If you're writing an antagonist who doesn't have any kind of hook other than pure nihilism, you're not really challenging the protagonists' morals, just their skills and physical abilities. Certainly there are very few people in reality who actually see themselves as the bad guy, despite their actions.
So, dissatisfied with what I'd done, I came up with a solution that would break the Fourth Wall to make Buzarde' more compelling; a villain who was literally designed for evil, and failed at it. Then he's kind of a pathetic figure because he can't help the way he is. Not only was he constructed only to do evil, but he wasn't even good at it. And his impulse to torture when he should just execute turned out to be a flaw in his effectiveness, something an instrumentalist villain like Dr. Carcharria would not tolerate.
In the new world of the Ruby Nation, villains so simple have no place as a credible threat. This is me symbolically outgrowing those past mistakes.