In writing the third book of The Prospero Chronicles, I've met the challenge of playing with a character archetype I never really thought I'd get around to: the bully. Having been mostly invisible in my school days I never really encountered that many bullies in real life, and I've never found that many of the ones in pop culture to be particularly compelling. Oh sure, there's plenty of iconic and entertaining ones out there if you look around a little (just pick a random 80's teen movie, any one, you'll find one), like Biff Tannen, Nelson Muntz, Draco Malfoy, Douglas C. Neidermeyer...
For a good example of this, let's take a look at Draco Malfoy.
As well, their relationship to the hero needs to be taken into consideration. It's fine for them to butt heads occasionally, or even often, but unless you're writing a horror story about dangerous obsession, the bully would still have a life outside of harassing the hero. The hero cannot be their entire life. Show me the bully hanging out on the street, or walking his dog, or going to the grocery store, or, shocker of all shocks, DOING SOMETHING NOT EVIL! (Not that I'm implying that hanging out, walking the dog or going to the grocery store are inherently evil). It's unheard of, I know, and it may take up a few valuable words, but developing a bully even just a little beyond how they relate to the hero can really expand them as a character.
I hope I'm doing this right. The bully character we just introduced into The Prospero Chronicles is so far proving a lot of fun to write for. He's loud, he's abrasive, and he spends a lot of time making one character's life hell, however we've made it clear that he does have other interests in life and lives by an odd code of honor and morality that doesn't always make sense, but always makes sense to him. Whether or not he actually works out is for the readers to decide, but I think he'll prove fun at the very least.
As for the rest of those fictional bullies out there... I just want to see a little respect thrown their way. I want to see them as more rounded out characters and not just straw men. I want to see them actually work with the story instead of having them just be a crutch for it. I want to see them be as dangerous as their stories demand they be.
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