City on Fire is wrapping up, and there’s one question left in the air– kill the Villain, or leave him alive? It should be an easy decision, do it or don’t do it. But here’s the thing about writing novels, these decisions are not as easy as they seem. As with real life, these decisions have consequences; decisions always do.
Throughout the novel, we’ve been moving towards this– the epic showdown between good and evil. The reader gets to learn exactly what’s going on as Ana and Levi come to terms with it, and it’s not that easy. City on Fire is far more than some contemporary romance novel, I’d say it’s pretty far away from it. It’s gritty, and it’s about to get a bit more gritty with this epic showdown.
Two Options and Two Different Roads
Killing the Villian
Killing the villian allows for a clean ending and finish. There’s no loop holes, and no ability to see a sequel where there isn’t one. I want to make it clear that City on Fire is a standalone and there will be no other books. I think with this type of novel — vigilante heroes–there is always the ability to keep going on. New villains and new challenges, but at some point it starts to get old and then writers start to go crazy. They start to bring in crazy elements, like villains who are metaphysical, when there was never an indicator that this was a fantasy story, and that leaves readers, well at least me, cocking their heads. Then it just gets so ridiculous that you stop caring. I’m not going to do that. Besides, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I am not a serial writer. I do not have an attachment to my characters that allows me to drag things out for books and books. I can let go easy. I’m not sure what that says about me, but you won’t be seeing many series out of me. At least not ones that aren’t standalone style series.
Beyond the loopholes and defined end to the story, I have to think about this in the scope of the story line itself. Would the characters allow the villian to live? Ana and Levi’s ninjitsu training has taught them there is no right and wrong, so this isn’t a matter of if killing is right or not, it’s a matter of what needs to be done. That’s a big enough question, and the ones the characters will have to face, does this need to be done? Is this what is required to maintain balance and harmony?
Leaving the Sucker Alive
This particular move has inherent risks, as defined in “Killing the Villian”, readers could believe this is a loophole to allow for a series. Granted, I don’t even need this loophole to make this a series, because well, this is vigilante business. Not only that, it involves what I like to call a plot speed bump. As I said above, Ana and Levi’s moral compass isn’t driven by the fact killing is bad. It’s simply a part of their lives, whether or not they like it. But over the course of the story Levi and Ana have changed, and their development is centered around coming to terms with who they are, what they’ve done and accepting their fates. Would they now, at this point in the story, make the decision to let the sucker live due to a moral change? If not this decision would be more than a speed bump, but more of an epic plot hole. I’m one who can’t stand a novel that lines up all sorts of facts and figures and then demolishes them in the last chapter for the sake of a happy ending.
There isn’t always a happy ending.
So what do you like to see? The courage to not kill, or the boldness to do what has to be done to save others?