Dude… He’s right there!
Dude… He’s right there!

Dude… He’s right there!


***This post con­tains spoil­ers (kind of…but not really…and that’s exactly what this post is about), which you may or may not care about, regard­ing The Adam Project.



Do you get as annoyed as I do when the “good guy” has a prime oppor­tun­ity to kill the “bad guy” and does­n’t do it?

We watched The Adam Pro­ject last night, which brought up this little annoy­ance yet again.

Laura is exchan­ging fire with Chris­tos. She is a good shot and keeps hit­ting all Chris­tos’s min­ions. Chris­tos and his min­ions are all ter­rible shots, because there’s like a bil­lion of them and nobody hits Laura. Finally it’s down to just the two of them. Shots are fired. Then Chris­tos’s boss, Maia, shows up in her ship thingy, and has a chat with Laura. Mean­while Chris­tos is just stand­ing there. The cam­er­a’s not on him so we can­’t see what he’s doing, but he’s obvi­ously not shoot­ing Laura. Dude… He’s right there! Why why why does Laura not turn around and shoot him?

Oh! Because our film storytelling for­mula tells us we aren’t allowed to kill him yet. I know, I know, this is how film stor­ies are told, and why should it bug me? Because it is weak, and bor­ing, and for­mu­laic, and pre­dict­able, and pulls me out of the story, and ser­i­ously, why do they keep just filling in the blanks and telling stor­ies in this way?? Oh, right, coz it isn’t about story, it’s about money.

[the storyline of the moth­er in this movie annoyed me, too, but that’s for a dif­fer­ent post.]

But it hap­pens in books, too.

How many times have you read a book wherein the main char­ac­ter has the chance to do away with the very per­son caus­ing so much grief, and actu­ally lets the bad guy go, in some com­pletely stu­pid and out-of-char­ac­ter show of mercy, just so that the author could use the same bad guy in the next book. It annoys me so much I don’t both­er with the sequel.

There are lots of examples of both these things, and it irks me. Find a new way to cre­ate con­flict! Intro­duce a new ant­ag­on­ist. Try some­thing dif­fer­ent. If it’s real­ist­ic and in-char­ac­ter for the MC to do away with the bad guy, DO IT. And then see what hap­pens next.

[This is a trope I believe I have man­aged to avoid in my Gate­keep­er series.]