No stupid bad guys...
I’ve always had it drummed into me that my bad guys should not be stupid. In my tracking back, there was one bit that had always bothered me but I hadn’t been able to put my finger on why. It dawned on me at last that my bad guys were being stupid. They just wouldn’t do what I had them doing if they were as good as they should have been.
Something else one of my mentors always says is that there are no bad guys, it just depends which side of the fence you’re on (this is the guy who, at the age of nine, was the only child in the cinema to cheer Darth Vader when he first appeared on that big screen). When I started writing, my bad guys were always stereotypical nasty wrongdoers. I went through a phase of writing in people I didn’t like and making them my bad guys. Since then, by the time I started to write the Thieves’ Guild series, I’ve become very aware that people just look out for themselves. So my bad guys now are simply people with their own motivations. Maybe I’ve grown up a bit.
Back to the scene I wasn’t happy with, I’ve had to leave NG, jump to the other side of that fence and run a load of discussions through my head about what exactly they were trying to do and what plan would work. It’s made it tougher for NG but isn’t that the point?