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,...
Will You Participate in #NaNoWriMo2016? 3 Reasons Why You Should!

Will You Participate in #NaNoWriMo2016? 3 Reasons Why You Should!

This is the first year I’m participating in NaNoWriMo. Will it be yours too? Perhaps you’re a lot like I was. I always believed NaNoWriMo was just a month celebrating authors, writing, and attacking a heck of a word count goal. So, because I didn’t believe in focusing on word count goal alone -nor in group events (INFJ problems)- I never had the desire to participate in it. But I didn’t have all the facts about NaNoWriMo. And, I was focusing on the wrong goal. First off, I really didn’t know what NaNoWriMo is truly all about. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. That last line really makes the point. If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel, this is a great time to focus on that very goal. NanNoWriMo has hundreds of thousands of writers from all over the world take part in the same challenge. Therefore there’s no need to go it alone or feel intimidated by fellow candidates. The official support group that can be found at nanowrimo.org/forums  welcomes open communication from all participants. To have a group of writers just like you attacking the same goal boosts determination and lowers fears. Making the commitment to write 50,000 words in 30 days also gives you what every writer needs: a healthy amount of time to focus on your craft. While reaching daily word...
Three Amazing Shows All Writers Should Be Watching

Three Amazing Shows All Writers Should Be Watching

Listen to this post on my Podcast! None of us need an excuse to watch more shows on Netflix, right? Nope! But what if I gave you three awesome reasons why you as a writer should be watching more shows on Netflix? What if I told you those three reasons will help you: A) Master organic dialogue B) Create stronger character identities and relationships C) Value the importance of excellent research D) Build powerful scenes that resonate No doubt you’re eager to share some quality time with your couch now, right?So what are those three shows you should be watching right now on Netflix? 1. Freaks and Geeks 2. The West Wing 3. Stranger Things   So, why these three shows? Well, I could go on for a full century as to why we as writers must watch these shows, but I promise I’ll try to rein it in. Let’s start with Freaks and Geeks. Freaks and Geeks is an American teen comedy-drama television series, created by Paul Feig (The Office), with Judd Apatow as executive producer. It aired on NBC during the 1999–2000 television season. Set in the year 1980, a group of misfits and burnouts are just trying to survive high school while finding out who they are, and who they really want to be. Now, I’ve seen this same idea for a show almost a hundred times. So why doesFreaks and Geeks stand head and shoulders above the rest? Because it’s the only show that (if I didn’t know any better) seems to be completely unscripted. The dialogue is so realistic, the characters so true to...
Podcasting: The Affordable Way to Boost Your Book’s Discoverability

Podcasting: The Affordable Way to Boost Your Book’s Discoverability

Your book is a real winner and you know it. But in a sea of other self-published novels, how can you make sure your book  gets the attention it deserves? Podcasting is the most promising way to ensure your novel stands head and shoulders above the competition. I wanted to share with you the secret to Podcasting your novel by sharing what my process is, what programs I prefer, what tools I use to create the Barely Hare Books podcast, and how it has received got over 100,000 downloads. My Recording Program Choice:  I use one program to record my chapters: Audacity. It is a free app for Windows and OSX. This simply structured program is ideal for new Podcasters. See, I’m a bit of a simpleton when it comes to technology, so a program with a simple “Record”, “Stop”, “Pause”, button makes editing a breeze. If I make a mistake, it’s as simple as finding the mistake in the recording time, highlighting it and literally pressing “delete” on my keyboard. Now, for a while, I used the Garage Band App on my Mac, since I heard that it worked well for many people. But to be honest, I felt completely lost and frankly, like a bumbling idiot stumbling through the program. Not to mention, I am an impatient person, so if it doesn’t work for me with ease, I give up almost immediately. So, if you’re as impatient as I am, then turn to Audacity for a concise and easy to use program. My Podcast Host: I use Libsyn as my podcast host, frankly because they are the cheapest option, (as low as $5 PER MONTH) and again they...
How To Create Characters That Are Nothing Like You (And Why Writers Must Do This!)

How To Create Characters That Are Nothing Like You (And Why Writers Must Do This!)

Listen to this post on my Podcast! I want you to take a moment and think of two-three characteristics you find unappealing, or unattractive in a person. Think of two different hobbies or past-times you would never, ever try. Pick one culture you are entirely unfamiliar with. And finally, pick an age that is either far older or younger than you are and gender opposite of yourself. Got all that? Now, imagine you’re going to create your next book about a character that is all of these things. Excited to hop to it? Probably not. If we’re all being honest, it’s pretty uncomfortable to go outside our comfort zone and create characters that we just plain do not understand. So why must we do this? Why is it absolutely vital that we step far outside of our comfort zones? After all, isn’t a key part of storytelling writing what you do know? No, not entirely.  Storytelling is a discovery of the world, a way of putting the puzzle pieces of humanity together through honest examination. So if we only ever discover the world through the eyes of one to two types of characters, two awful things will happen: You’ll recycle character types (which will bore the reader to tears). Your worldview will remain narrow. And who wants that?! No one, that’s who. So how do you do it? How do you even begin to write for someone who is nothing like you? You start with someone you already know and work from there. Think of a friend, relative, or acquaintance who you seem to regularly butt heads with, or have nothing in...
Get Inside Their Head: Historical Fiction Interview

Get Inside Their Head: Historical Fiction Interview

“Get inside their head” is about getting to know the audience you’re writing for. Once a month, I interview one avid reader of a particular genre, asking questions every author wants to know, or should know about writing for their audience through the eyes of one ideal potential reader. Today’s discussion is about Historical Fiction. And my interviewee is blogger, author, and avid reader, Hannah Heath: Hannah Heath Hannah is a college-aged author, blogger, and hopeless bookworm. She loves searching for old books at thrift stores, winces every time she hears the phrase “I don’t like to read,” and often wishes someone would invent candles that smell like hardcovers. She writes young adult Christian Fantasy and is currently seeking representation for her first novel, The Stump of the Terebinth Tree. Check out Hannah’s blog page here: hannahheath-writer.blogspot.com Hannah can also be found at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/48039868-hannah-heath FacebookTwitter Thanks again Hannah for joining us on this feature interview about what readers are looking for in a historical fiction novel. And thank you for being willing to let us poke around your brain a little! My pleasure, Rae! Thank you for having me. First of all: How long have you been an avid reader of the historical fiction genre? I’d say since I was around nine years old. That’s when I first discovered Scott O’Dell, who I will forever credit for my love of historical fiction. What drew you to the historical fiction genre? I loved the fact that these were stories about real people and events. To me, it was so amazing to read something and think, “Wow. This actually happened.” It gave me strength...
All Great Stories Have This One Key Factor in Common:

All Great Stories Have This One Key Factor in Common:

Listen to this post on my Podcast! All of these hit t.v. shows, movies, and books have one thing in common: Is it an excellent storyline? Perhaps great characters? Maybe it’s the plot twists? Or the uniqueness of the story idea itself? While all of those things are strong factors, the one underlying key point that made these stories resonate with us may surprise you. They don’t focus on one character’s journey alone. Jocelyn Hughes once said, “Treat all your secondary characters like they think the book’s about them.”And Jocelyn is right. Each story depicted above focuses on more than one individual’s personal goals and problems. The author treats every character as if the overall story is about them. While there may be one character that plays the iconic role of hero or heroine, the story is incomplete without the supporting cast of characters. Simply put: great writers understand that there is always more than one story being told. Suzanne Collins did an excellent job of garnering our sympathies for characters like Peeta, Finnick, Johanna, Haymitch, Rue, Beetee, and more. She delved into back story, revealed personal struggles, and played on their personal strengths. This made us appreciate the depth of her unique stories. The idea is this: you must give every character in your story purpose by giving them: Personal goals/ambitions Personal obstacles to challenge their character A glimpse into their life, their origin story Weaknesses or faults And most importantly, an active role/job in your story When you take the time to form a solid identity for each character, you’ll want to give them a chance to motivate the plot through...

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