Finding the Strength to Write When You’re Coping With Illness

Finding the Strength to Write When You’re Coping With Illness

So, I have to let you in on a little secret: I’ve been battling a regularly occurring illness for some time now, and it totally sucks. There are some days that my body is in so much pain, I can hardly move from my bed at all. Then, there are days when I am working full speed and winning at life like a champ. What I’ve discovered is this: modesty and a little routine called “counting my strengths” keeps me motivated to write and just be a human on my toughest days.   Are you coping with a serious illness too? Are you undergoing regularly occurring health problems that throw your life-train off the tracks too? Just know that you’re not alone. Know that your struggle is not in vain. Also, know that you’re courageous as heck and you’re capable of, not just coping with your illness, but living your life despite the pain. For those of you who may not suffer illness, I’ll tell you honestly that it feels like the heaviest ball and chain, or the most frustrating prison in the world. You feel like you have no control and that’s the hardest part of all. These simple things that we all take for granted are taken away from you:   Freedom Independence Energy Strength Social life Productivity Focus And sometimes, even more than that. For me, it has even greatly affected my workflow and my time spent writing. See, when you’re suffering illness, you don’t want to acknowledge that you’re not quite the same person any longer. Anything that acknowledges your weakened state may trigger all sorts of fears. At least, it did for me. First, I became forced to accept my limitations....
4 Ways To Revolutionize Female Villains

4 Ways To Revolutionize Female Villains

Why do female villains tend to act and look the same? Why don’t we take female villains seriously? Why do so few female villains actually terrify us? Male villains have made a 180 degree turn over the last few years. That guy with the curly mustache who ties the damsel to the train tracks simply doesn’t cut it anymore. Villains like Heath Ledger’s Joker, James Moriarty, and others have revolutionized evil. On the other hand, female villains haven’t evolved equally. If we think about the classic line-up of female villains, they share about 3 similarities: They wear the same ridiculous, theatrical or super sexy get-up meant to focus all attention on their hot bod instead of their personal goal. They have the same “I’M PURE EVIL!” laughter. They use overtly sexualized “tricks up their sleeves” to get the job done. But worst of all, villainesses tend to lack a profound motive which makes their personal conflict seem more like a hissy fit instead of a threat to be taken seriously. In fact, villainesses tend to be given the same three motives for their actions: Petty revenge Spurned or unrequited love Jealousy But what’s so wrong about these motives anyway? In it of itself, those motives aren’t completely heinous but when villainesses are consistently put into these three categories and not much else, then we have a problem. How? Because these motives narrow her potential, trivialize her goals, and worst of all, they create a caricature of evil.  Now granted, there are a few exceptions that we could stand to learn from. First, there’s Stephen King’s crazed super-fan, Annie Wilkes, played by the master, Kathy Bates. Then there’s the bloodthirsty...
My Top Ten Villains of All Time: Part 3 (#4-#1)

My Top Ten Villains of All Time: Part 3 (#4-#1)

If you missed the start of this countdown, then I highly suggest you first read the first and second post right here: Why are the last posts so valuable to you today? In the first post, we learned the 5 types of villains most commonly found in fiction In the previous post, we learned the 4 four most powerful weapons all great villains use And finally, we learned numbers 10 through 5 on my ultimate naughty list You’ll be shocked who ranks in! So please, have a read at my previous post before we learn the do’s and don’ts for a villain’s origin story, and find out numbers 4-1 on my top villains of all time list.    But hey- if you’re ahead of the game and have last week’s post already under your belt, then congrats! You get to move on to the final round. The best way to encourage readers to invest in your villain is by revealing the villain’s origin story. However, introducing it the wrong way can create a massive wall between your readers and your story. Or worse yet, your villain’s origin story could be so over-the-top or unrealistic that it gags the reader.  So, how do you craft an origin story that doesn’t induce an eye-roll from your readers so intense they can see their brain stem? There are some common mistakes authors fall victim to when revealing their villain’s origin story. So we will discuss a few don’ts to avoid and a few do’s to adhere to. These key tips will ask readers to invest in your villain and care about (or at least pay attention to) his journey. And most importantly, they will keep...
My Top 10 Villains of All Time: Part 2 (#7-#5)

My Top 10 Villains of All Time: Part 2 (#7-#5)

If you missed the start of this countdown, then I highly suggest you first read the previous post right here: Why is last week’s post so valuable to you today? We learned the 4 fundamental characteristics of all great villains We learned the 5 villain types most commonly found in fiction And finally, we learned numbers 10 through 8 on my ultimate naughty list You’ll be shocked who ranks in, and, more importantly, you’ll learn what characteristics all writers need to include in their own villains. So please, have a read at my previous post before we learn the 5 deadliest weapons ever used by a villain, and find out numbers 7-5 on my top villains of all time list.    But hey- if you’re ahead of the game and have last week’s post already under your belt, then congrats! You get to move on to the next round.   Villains hardly ever leave home without an arsenal of weaponry cocked and loaded for their cause. Some weapons are so deadly, so catastrophic, we fear that the world of mankind may never see the light of day again. Some villains are born with their weapon, abusing their superpowers and leveling humankind with a simple flick of their wrist. And worst of all, some weapons are in the mind of the villain, causing fear and paranoia leading to submission in their prey. So which types of weaponry leave readers trembling in their boots the most? And, which type should your villain use? Weapons of Mass Destruction What’s worse? All residents of say, New York City, London, or Sydney Australia, under threat?...
My Top 10 Villains of All Time: Part 1 (#10-#8)

My Top 10 Villains of All Time: Part 1 (#10-#8)

Listen to this post on my Podcast!   The most commonly asked question I receive nowadays is, “Hey Rae, what do you think makes for a great villain?” The thing is, this question can’t be answered simply. There are a series of fundamentals that every villain needs, yes. But likewise, there are villain types that every villain is categorized under. If you plan on creating a villain, or antagonist, for your story then you have to first gather the fundamentals, and then you have to understand the category your villain will fall under. Finally, you set him loose! So this month I’ve decided to break down my top ten villains of all time. Most of these villains come from nostalgia, others from sheer awe and respect as a writer. Still, others, simply because they are unabashedly bad to the bone! All will be carefully dissected so that we as writers can appreciate why these villains shake us and how we can create villains just as intriguing in our own stories. So, today I’m revealing #10- #8, and I’ll be breaking down what category each villain falls under, and what makes these villains so memorable, so spine-tinglingly scary, and so unique! First, let’s discuss what every villain needs to have- the four fundamental characteristics of all great villains: Delusions of Grandeur  Yes, every single villain out there suffers from a terrible, incurable case of this nasty characteristic. This quality is what blinds the villain to their undying belief in their ideals and inexcusable actions. This quality leaves all villains believing they are above the common person by either being smarter, faster, stronger, slicker, or more...

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