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...
What is an Anti-Hero? And How Can You Create an Awesome Anti-Hero?

What is an Anti-Hero? And How Can You Create an Awesome Anti-Hero?

Listen to this post on my Podcast! Anti-heroes: not exactly heroes, not exactly villains. The complicated soul that is so difficult to define. They are the complex characters whose life choices we detest, yet we still find ourselves rooting for their happy ending. So why is that? What exactly is an anti-hero? How do they function? And, how can we craft a masterful anti-hero for our own novel? To properly break down anti-heroes, we need to take a good look at a couple famous faces that exude anti-heroism: Now, some of these faces may surprise you- like, say, Rory Gilmore. Now, how in the world is precious, perfect Rory Gilmore considered an anti-hero? Plainly put, an anti-hero is a protagonist whose negative qualities often make decisions for them. Usually, they lack conventional heroic qualities such as idealism, courage, or morality. An anti-hero fights pretty unheroically for his own wants and desires, while a hero would fight heroicly for the wants and desires of others. Anti-hero characters are considered “conspicuously contrary to an archetypal hero”. Still, this definition is considered debatable. See, anti-heroes are amongst the most disputed characters in the fiction realm. Many authors find that the definition of “anti-hero” is more widely encompassing than others believe it to be. Some writers even claim that all characters, good or evil, have anti-hero characteristics and therefore defining an anti-hero altogether narrows character dimension!   Debate aside, there are always three defining negative characteristics found in all anti-heroes: 1) Selfish/self-centered goals 2) Finds justification for self-serving actions 3) Bows predominantly to negative characteristics (such as ignorance, bigotry, selfishness, cowardice)   Scott Pilgrim has all three...
How to Write a Killer First Chapter: (AKA What Your First Chapter REALLY Needs)

How to Write a Killer First Chapter: (AKA What Your First Chapter REALLY Needs)

Listen to this post on my Podcast! Why does the first chapter intimidate so many writers? Nancy Kress, popular science fiction author and Nebula Award winner put it simply when she said, “The truth is, you have about three pages in a novel, to capture the editor’s attention enough for her to finish your story.” We know the same holds true for our readers. The first chapter decides if this book is worth the reader’s time. It’s the most severely judged chapter in your entire novel. At the outset, readers have very little reason to commit to your story. With that in mind, we must give the reader solid reasons to commit to characters, problems, even worlds that they know nothing about, in just a few pages. So how do we do it? How do we sell the first chapter to the reader? What does a first chapter really need anyhow? Behind the narrative of every story lays unseen structure that separates winning novels from forgettable ones. The invisible qualities of your story are equally as important as the visible qualities of it. The reader can’t put their finger on it, but he feels it when this invisible structure is missing or weak. The book isn’t striking him, and soon he loses interest. So what is this fundamental structure? Your Story's Promise:   Every story has an all-encompassing promise as the foundation of the novel. Promises are specific to certain genres and influence the story’s central theme. The promise either touches the reader emotionally or intellectually. The emotional promise says: Read this and you’ll be thrilled, titillated, nostalgic, uplifted,...

Pin It on Pinterest