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...

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