I'm over halfway through the rewrite and I've hit a conundrum. So, a writing question.
How much do people want to know about the villains? It just kinda hit me this morning that while there's a lot of talk about them, the protagonists working to defeat them, and they show up to do their bad stuff, but you don't actually meet them. There's not preliminary "There ain't room in this town for the two of us" meeting and conversation. I think there's plenty of tension already between the protags (and here is where I call the villains "villains" because the antagonists aren't all on the other side). And now I'm thinking I should add in more.
But see, then there's the other side of me. One of the things I wanted to avoid with my writing is the standard cliche of "monologuing". People, when they're fighting, don't typically trade witty banter. And once the battle is over, the adrenaline rush ends and you just want to go somewhere and collapse, not say some one-liner to the smoldering corpse. And I guess it also goes to my habit of when the bad guy is obviously defeated he then gets to spout the "from hell's heart I stab at thee" line as I'm shouting, "just shoot the bastard already." (This is related to my concept of, "pirates boarding your ship, and they don't have pressure suits on? Vent their asses into space. Same with Data when he goes rogue.") But I'm a bastard in some ways.
Don't even get me started with the "You put down your rock and I'll put down my sword, and we try to kill each other like civilized people?" concept. This is a left over from the Western which, even though there are guns a plenty, the white and black hats have to have fisticuffs to settle their dispute over the widow's mortgage. Or that the good guy has to wait for the bad guy to make a move.
Han Solo shot first. Just saying. And that's why we loved him.
Hell no. The bad guy runs out of bullets, put a slug in his head and move on. Do I care that the Snidely Whiplash character had a troubled childhood which lead to his life of disfunction tying Nell to the railroad tracks because he thinks that's what love is? No. Even the twist of the bad guy faking the hero into putting his gun down to fight it out like men, only to pull a backup gun (which the hero then disarms him) is getting trite.
The villain is trying to muscle in on the territory, they're very effective at what they do, there's several encounters of which the protagonists (I won't say "heros" here) barely escape before finding the villain's layer and taking the fight to him (and even in the major confrontations, they only win because good guys do cheat). Does my villain need more motivation, more depth, than greed and that they're a mirror of the motivations of the protagonists (also criminals, btw)? Does the villain need to hit the high points of the Evil Overlord list? Does he deserve the microphone at all?
I'm thinking not. But, YMMV. What do you think? Do you need to know the villain's point of view to enjoy the story?
(And yes, I know having interesting villains are nice, such as almost any part that Alan Rickman has played in the past twenty years, including the Sheriff on Nottingham where he totally outshone Kevin Costner. But my bad guys are just interested in doing the job they've been tasked to do. The main movers behind the villainy never come on stage.)