So, I'm trying to put together the plot of my book - outline of story, characters, their motivations etc.
While I'm not anywhere near certain about all of this, the process has made me much more aware of the importance of the bad guys in a story. They are, after all, usually the cause of all the hero's problems, and create the all-important conflict.
And watching the new Sherlock Holmes movie the other day made me aware of how important villainous markers are.
The epiphany came right at the start. Holmes and the new improved, beefed-up Dr. Watson are racing against time to prevent the ritual killing of a pretty young thing by -- a man whose face is shadowed by a hood, all except his wonky front teeth. The lingering close-up on his crooked not-so-pearly whites tells all the viewer needs to know. This guy is a bad guy and he's going to cause trouble for the rest of the movie (why distinguish him by his crooked teeth if you're not going to show them again and again?).
It's not subtle, but it works, and it made me realise I need to focus a bit more on my own villain and leave the good guys be for a while. I had no clear idea of what my villain looks like, or even of his motivations beyond just being a bit of a bastard. But it's so important that he's a rounded, convincing character, and a worthy foil to my heroine. I'm also thinking a scar down his right cheek and a wall-eye. Or is that going a bit far?
The NBN is supposed to be "fast"
8 hours ago