Problem: The villain in my screenplay is weak.
Physically, he’s strong. Tall, handsome, and charming- the sort of man a girl takes home to meet her family. Except it turns out that lurking beneath his mega-watt smile, he’s a dime-a-dozen douchebag; a compulsive liar and cheat, which are admirable, albeit superficial, qualities for a villain, but such characteristics do not satisfy my hunger for depth. He is but an empty vessel, void of substance and spine.
That, my friends, is the problem. A shell of a man cannot be the bad guy. Not in my story. Shallow men only make for the pathetic henchmen as they fail to display the intelligence and cunning strategy of a proper villain. My antagonist is a Family Dollar paper plate at a prominent black-tie affair: simply disposable. What sort of a challenge is he for my hero?
Solution: Hire a new villain.
I didn’t even have to place an ad on Craigslist. My true villain, the one with the steady gaze and cautious speech, waited patiently in his Georgian wing chair while I attempted to gussy-up the lackey. After I failed and dismissed the minion to the sidelines, the enigmatic adversary uncrossed his legs, brushed a crease from his ebony slacks, and arose with a glint in his eye. He strode directly to me and grazed my arm as he plucked his cassock off the silver hook behind me. He smelled of ancient books, rich leather, and the distinctive remnants of cedar and spice gifted by one Fuente Anejo, still burning in a marble tray. He draped the cassock over his arm, traced my jaw-line with his fingertips, and left the room with an amused look on his face.
Father Dunne. Hello, my brilliant rogue.