How many of you have seen Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery? For those of you who haven't it's a comedy movie about a spy. Towards the end, Austin is caught in his enemy's lair. His enemy, Dr. Evil, wants Austin to die a slow death involving sharks with laser beams. Dr. Evil's son, Scott Evil, is the rational person in this scene. The scene between Dr. Evil, Austin Powers and Scott Evil is quite funny. Here is a portion of the conversation I found off of IMDB.
This scene starts with Scott finding his father feeding Austin Powers.
Dr. Evil: Scott, I want you to meet daddy's nemesis, Austin Powers
Scott Evil: What? Are you feeding him? Why don't you just kill him?
Dr. Evil: I have an even better idea. I'm going to place him in an easily escapable situation involving an overly elaborate and exotic death.
Shortly after this part of the conversation gets to where you really notice how rational Scott is.
Dr. Evil: All right guard, begin the unnecessarily slow-moving dipping mechanism.
[guard starts dipping mechanism]
Dr. Evil: Close the tank!
Scott Evil: Wait, aren't you even going to watch them? They could get away!
Dr. Evil: No no no, I'm going to leave them alone and not actually witness them dying, I'm just gonna assume it all went to plan. What?
Scott Evil: I have a gun, in my room, you give me five seconds, I'll get it, I'll come back down here, BOOM, I'll blow their brains out!
Dr. Evil: Scott, you just don't get it, do ya? You don't.
I love Dr. Evil. He's funny and surprisingly likable, but no real enemy will leave you alone in a tank to escape. Scott Evil on the other hand has it right. Just shoot him and get it over with.
I've noticed a lot in books that the villain will explain his motives or do unnecessary things like Dr. Evil did and leave your hero alone to escape. But how likely is that? More likely a real villain will be like Scott and go for the easiest way possible. Why go to the trouble of having a shark pit and have them possibly escape when you could just shot them or poison them? Not very logical.
Now the exception would be if there is torture. Torture has to be slow and painful. But don't have a torture scene unless it has a point. Most of the time torture is either to get info from your hero or the villain prefers to torture their victims first.
So if you have a very drawn out almost death scene ask yourself: how likely is it that my villain would do this?
It might help to write the scene from the villain's point of view. I understand that it's easy just to want make the villain talk until the hero can come and save the day, but just think, is this what my villain would really do?
A good example of a good villain is James from Twilight. Groan all you want, but in his way he was. Now I haven't read or seen the movies in a while, but if I remember correctly James got Bella alone and went straight to torturing her. There was a little bit of expliaination, but the direction was clear. (Please comment if you realize that I am wrong)
The quotes came from Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery's IMDB page. For those of you who haven't seen the Austin Powers movies please do.