This week’s reblog comes from StarNinja (a.k.a. Daniel Gomez), who discusses the problems with villains who craft master plans so perfect and unpredictable that everything the protagonists do plays right into their hands.
So there’s this thing that happened a couple years back where every movie villain had to be a meticulous, devilishly detailed, timed to the very millisecond, chaos magician master planner. If the good guys where competent and intelligent, the villain was even more so, disguising their super duperly complex schemes as “random chaos” that no one can predict because there’s no way to plan for this kind of madness!
What’s hard to portray in fiction is when a villain has to improvise. When something comes up the villain didn’t plan for, either thanks to the hero’s meddling or because of a cool twist thanks to outside actors, as a writer, your options are “villain improvises” or “it was part of the plan the whole time!”. Consider the “getting caught on purpose” trope we see a lot these days. If the heroes capture the villain in the 1st Act, it can’t be because the villain fucked up. No, they wanted to get captured from the start. Because if there’s chaos, it must be planned…?
I really do like the idea of throwing out the “master plan” trope, or at least having the master plan not always work out. It’s common writing advice to mess up your protagonist’s plans and force them to adapt. Why would it be any different with villains? Surely a villain who can adapt and overcome problems is even scarier?