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A question on competence

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Garren Jacobsen, Feb 25, 2021.

  1. Im a lawyer by trade. Oftentimes in my life I have experienced that the more incompetent the other side the harder my life is. And dealing with incompetent morons on the other side is usually more stressful than dealing with someone who is actually good at their jobs.

    now, I know it is a cardinal rule to give your heroes a legitimate challenge. That usually entails dealing with someone more or as equally competent as your heroes. Now, here’s my question, what if I have a side story where an antagonist but not the big bad is a constant thorn in the side. They just keep doing stupid minor annoying nonsense but are enough of a problem that the hero has to deal with the idiot before dealing with the big bad.

    Could this work outside of a children’s story (because I know we have transformers with the incomparably incompetent star scream)?
     
  2. Mad Swede

    Mad Swede Sage

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    They don't even need to be an antagonist, something like a mildly incompetent shopkeeper or blacksmith could really screw things up for your hero. There's lots of examples of this in real life, and there needn't be any malice behind it at all. Or maybe doing something like sorting out an argument in some inn or hostelry which threatens to degenerate into a fight. You know, those small things in life which irritate us all.
     
  3. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    Pfffft.... write it from the perspective of the big bad. Turns out the annoying guys are the hero's party.
     
  4. ThinkerX

    ThinkerX Myth Weaver

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    yes, a persistent, yet incompetent minor antagonist is entirely workable.

    it reminds me of some the 'stupid criminal' shows I used to watch back when I still had television.
     
  5. LAG

    LAG Troubadour

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    bureaucracies, envious relatives, petty functionaries, curtain-peeking do-gooders, lazy porters, mad kings ... there are many ways to express this.
     
  6. A Pineapple

    A Pineapple Scribe

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    This is actually similar to one of my favorite old series. The main antagonists in the first book are the rulers of a powerful city. By the third book a new, far more powerful enemy has appeared and the city (who believes themselves the whole time to be good guys) has gotten in the way numerous times and nearly derails everything because they are to stupid/set in their ways to realize they have been used as puppets.
    Series is the obsidian trilogy.
     
  7. Queshire

    Queshire Auror

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    The idea makes me think of Team Rocket in the Pokemon anime.
     
    Garren Jacobsen, A Pineapple and LAG like this.
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