Lately it seems I’ve read a lot of work (both published and unpublished) where people are taking bad guys too far. And when I say ‘bad guys’, I don’t only mean the antagonist. I mean all of them: antagonists, thugs, and unlikable characters (who may or may not actually be ‘bad’ in the context of your story). And when I say ‘too far’, I mean they’re all starting to feel as EEE-VILE and gross as Uruk Hai.
That’s awesome, if that’s what your story needs. Most of the time, however, it’s not. For example, say you have a scene where your MC captures an enemy lackey. Does the lackey really need to have jagged nails, greasy hair, bad breath, and be generally hideous? Think for a minute. Go to your world. Pretend it’s real. Who are these guys? Just people. Men, women, or alien creatures doing a day’s work to earn enough money to take care of themselves and feed their families. They could be so many things besides nasty, leering meatheads.
Look, obviously this isn’t a big deal. These characters are set pieces. We don’t need to know their life stories, but they don’t have to be stereotypes.
Just a thought.