Saturday, 17 November 2018

Plans and Prompts

Time limits are always interesting. I’ve been noticing this lately with all of these crazy deadlines that are appearing everywhere for me to meet and yikes it makes things insane.

And yet, somehow, they help me get stuff done.

But I'm not here to talk about deadlines, as much as I feel tempted to. I plan to give an update, and then a prompt, so, here we go!

Quick Update on Writing Life:

At the start of October, I told a few mostly non-writer friends who would be reading Flightless and giving some feedback for me, that I would have the first lot of major rewrites done and the book would to them by November the first. Well. It happened. But not without a heck of a lot of work. :D

They’ve been reading through it, and I’m getting so much helpful feedback! I’ll most likely be going through and editing it over the course of December, and it looks like I’m rewriting half of it, and adding in a whole heap of things. :P Oh well. It’ll be fun, and definitely will improve it.

Storm Wielder is coming along nicely, and…well…is basically…done? I’ve written the whole first draft, and I’m going through it again to add in some scenes I’ve thought about now, so, that’s fun. I think I’m going to just keep working on other things for the rest of NaNo and see how it goes.

But now, it is time for me to help all of you poor people who went into NaNo without a plan and are now getting past that stage where you’re writing like crazy cos it is awesome, but not up to the point where you’re sprinting toward a deadline. (Aka, it is prompt time!)

DISCLAIMER: Those high heels are not mine. I am not that co-ordinated. :P

Well then. Does this fit for any stories? Any ideas sparking?

Can't wait to here how everyone else's projects are coming along! November is such an awesome month!

How’s NaNo going for you? Having much happening with writing plans?


Saturday, 10 November 2018

Crafting Villains

I love reading, and can comfortably say that I read fairly widely. I don't love everything I've read, but I can tick off a lot of genres. Even so, in lots of books that I've read lately, some characters fall flat in their role. So I figured that for the next few months, I'd occasionally do a post on crafting characters. I've been reading a bit into it, and experimenting with these ideas myself, so hopefully what I have to say is half decent. ;)

Let's kickstart this off with one of the biggest let-downs: villains. 

Villains written well should be terrifying. A lot of the time, people seem to think that making a tall man, dressed in black, who keeps to himself and takes pleasure in causing harm is how you generate this fear. Now, while I'd be creeped out if I ran into this person down the street, it isn't that character that leaves us shaken up and on edge. So how do you make the villain your story needs?

There are a few major things to keep in mind when crafting your villains:

1. Your villain has a human motivation. This character genuinely believes that what they are doing is right. They think that anything they've done can be justified. 

Maybe your villain is wanting to protect people, so they will force them into captivity, taking away their freedom as well as anything dangerous. Suddenly, they seem to have good reason, gone way wrong. 

2. Your villain also needs a personality. Developing your characters does not stop with your protagonist. The best villains are the ones that you get a personality for. 

Personalities just make characters that much more real. Perhaps your villain loves drama, and tries to go for the full, stereotypical-evil atmosphere. Maybe they're very chill and laid back. Both of these personalities will change our view of them, but still keep us on edge. 

3. Your villain should be relatable. One of the most petrifying things about a well written villain, is when you can see that if one detail in your life had been changed, you could be where your villain is. Had one choice been made differently, had one word not been spoken, had one day been changed, you would be an evil mastermind. 

Perhaps you were going to lose something very precious to you that could be saved if you did something evil. Suddenly, things seem murky. That one choice to go with the evil option is all it takes to turn a hero into a villain. 

4. The villain should directly shape the protagonist's journey. If your villain isn't a major part of the arc, then they probably don't need to be there. Your villain should turn up for more than just the climax. 

Hypothetically, if you only had the villain vaguely mentioned through the book, then have them stumble onto the stage last minute to monologue and battle the hero, then that's pretty boring. But if you can see them active through the whole story, they become way more real. Plus, that will be a major aspect of shaping the main character. They will have to deal with the villain, and avoid become like them. 

5. The villain's goal should raise the stakes. If the villain's goal isn't too high, then no one cares. We need those goal to be high, and to really cause fear. The main character should be terrified that the villain will reach their goal, and will want to fight with tooth and nail to stop them. 

Was you villain nearly undefeatable before? Make them hunt for something to give them more power. If you've built up the suspense over what the villain is up to, and shown how bad the situation is, make it clear what the villain's goal is. Then, you can watch as they get closer and closer. The stakes will rise, and the readers will be on the edge of their seats. 

There you are! Five tips on making villains worth writing, and reading. Hope something there is helpful! 

And remember: to make the readers relate to a protagonist is good; to make them relate to the antagonist as well, is powerful. 

What about you? What things do you think make a good villain?