Tag Archives: Batman

Writing Excuses 7.29: The Villain Problem

The villain problem, as we define it here at the beginning of the ‘cast, is when the heroes are less proactive than the villain, when they spend most of the book doing little more than reacting to the cool things the villains do. It’s one reason that villains are often more interesting, more memorable, than the protagonists against whom they face off. The villain steals the show.

So we talk about how to offset this. There are lots of tools available — focusing on the hero’s passions, giving the protagonist an internal conflict independent of anything coming from the villain’s plotting, and building a solid acceptance of the “call to action” fairly early in the story.

Halfway through we arrive at the conclusion that the villain problem isn’t actually a problem with the villain. It’s a hero problem, and that’s probably the key piece you need to come up with a solution for your book.


Take a hero and give him a hobby, and something alive that he loves.

Imager, the first book of the Imager Portfolio, by L.E. Modesitt Jr, narrated by William Dufris

Writing Excuses on the 2011 Hugo Ballot

Question: What does Writing Excuses have in common with Isaac Asimov, Michael Whelan, and Batman?

Answer: We’ve all been nominated at some point for a Hugo award! (Just not all in the same year.)

Specifically: “Writing Excuses Season 4” by Brandon Sanderson, Howard Tayler, and Dan Wells, produced by Jordan Sanderson, has been nominated for the 2011 “Best Related Work” Hugo. We’re honored, and we’re thrilled.

In very, very related news, Dan Wells has been nominated for the John W. Campbell award for Best New Writer, and Howard Tayler’s Schlock Mercenary: Massively Parallel has been nominated for Best Graphic Story.

Several former guests here on Writing Excuses have also been honored with nominations. Larry Correia was nominated for a Campbell Award, Eric James Stone’s “That Leviathan, Whom Thou Hast Made” is up for Best Novelette, Moshe Feder is up for Best Editor, Long Form, Mary Robinette Kowal’s “For Want of a Nail” is up for Best Short Story, and Phil and Kaja Foglio’s Girl Genius Volume 10 is up for Best Graphic Story.

The voting will take place between now and sometime in July, and the winners will be announced at the World Science Fiction Convention in Reno.

For a full list of Hugo and Campbell award nominees, as well as information about voting, past awards, and the history of the award itself visit thehugoawards.org. There’s also a list here on the Worldcon site.

Note: We’ll have a regular episode of Writing Excuses up in an hour or so. Don’t worry — we’re not using this nomination as an excuse to depart from our regular schedule of leaving you out of excuses.