Knocking someone's teeth in

I realized a while ago that the opening scene of my WIP had to establish a) a few key characters, and b) their motives for interacting. Why is this superhero tracking down the supervillain? Why is the supervillain trying to kidnap the superhero?

The first part (character introduction) has been done. As for the second... frankly, if the motivation on both sides boils down to "Well, duh. He's a superhero/supervillain! That's what they DO!" then the book is going to be pretty damned thin, no matter how many punches get thrown, bombs get exploded or innocent bystanders get brain-sucked and left for dead in dusty, rusty warehouses.

So why IS the Grammarian trying to find Professor Verbosity? Why the complicated game of cat-and-mouse? Why not just tase him for a simple cuff-and-stuff? Initially, it's because a pattern of criminal activity suggested that Professor Verbosity is planning something big. Verbosity used to be content with theft, arson, blackmail, industrial sabotage, etc., some of which he'd done on his own, others which were contract work. This is more ambitious, though, and the Grammarian wants to find out who is behind it all and make a bigger catch than just Professor Verbosity.

Alright, but why is Professor Verbosity keeping the Grammarian around? Why kidnap him instead of just putting a full clip into that super-powered brain of his and dumping the resultant not-at-all-super corpse into a vacant lot somewhere? Because when we first meet him, Professor Verbosity is a criminal, to be sure, but he's actually kind of a wuss when it comes to killing. He's not like the Joker, or even the Green Goblin. This changes over the course of the book, in ways that catch the Grammarian off-guard.

What prompts this change? Well, it's a modification I need to make to that opening scene I mentioned. I have to go back in and edit it so that the stakes get raised, thereby fueling the motivations and actions of not only the Grammarian and Professor Verbosity, but also the Avant Guardian, Parenthesis Woman and other characters. How to get the ball rolling?


Instead of someone escaping with bruises, cuts, etc. that will heal, leaving them essentially unchanged in any permanent way, I'm going to have the Avant Guardian overdo it while he's trying to show how tough he is. He's going to break Professor Verbosity's jaw and knock out a few teeth. The repercussions of that one super-powered punch will set in motion a sequence of escalating revenge attacks.

So, I've got escalating revenge attacks, superheros with high-tech weaponry, supervillains with pain-maddened monomanical agendas, shadowy criminal overlords, and the lives of hundreds of innocent victims hanging in the balance, including those of the brilliant love interest and the annoying sidekick. If I can't write an exciting book with all of that, then I might as well stick to bad limericks.

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