What makes a good villain? I am far from the first person to pose such a question. Maybe Darth Vader comes to mind when you hear that word, or maybe a power-hungry wizard. Villains are a huge part of fantasy. Some are the that demons heroes face internally, while others may be opposing factions. The real question may be who is really evil? In fantasy there is a wide range of villainy, as there should be.
I prefer a villain to have depth, to struggle with things internally that he/she would never reveal outwardly. Hate and anger may be a driving force behind some of his actions, but he never sees it that way. I see a good villain that is someone as good at deceiving herself as she is at deceiving others. However, these traits just scratch the surface because to make an antagonist worthy of a story, he should be someone with whom the reader can identify if placed in a similar situation. I believe the scariest villains are not mindless monsters or those who are evil just to be evil, but they are the ones we can see ourselves becoming.
In the real-world, people often do evil things while believing they are doing good. This happens for a variety of reasons: perhaps the person’s worldview has changed, or maybe that person’s worldview does not line up with the status quo. It could also be that the person was persecuted in some way, and the pain he/she endured manifested after a long period of time. One does not have to go very far to find evil, and most of them did not suddenly wake up and say, “Hey, today I’m going to do something only an evil monster would.” Instead, they rationalize it to themselves. That is the villain that resonates with the reader. That is the type of villain I strive to create in Goandria.
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It seems that there are as many opinions on how to write a book as there are books in the world. Most of the advice out there is generally geared towards those who do not know where to start, and that is fine. Over the years, though, I have found all this information rather overwhelming. I’m terrible at outlining, and there really is no such thing as a perfect formula for writing a novel. The fear of someone disliking our works can easily lead to an author overthinking the writing process.
Of course, there are things that make some works better written than others, but ultimately each writer must do what works for him or her. I have a friend who meticulously outlines all of the plot and most of the details before even attempting to write a manuscript, but someone else I know simply dives right in. Both are acceptable means, and some writers may have stronger opinions about how important outlining really is, but I suppose it depends on how well you can remember your own plot and characters.
If you are reading this and aspire to write, the best thing to do is just write what flows from you. Any aspiring writer will be bombarded with advice. What I have found to be most effective is to simply write and get honest feedback from people I trust. That feedback can then get implemented and help refine my work. Reading about writing and actually doing some writing are very different things, and we all have to learn as we go. There will always be those who dislike what you have written or how you have written it. As hard as it is, we writers have to take the constructive criticism as learning experiences and forget about the rest. There isn’t really a right or wrong way to write, so do what works for you.
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I would like to announce for one week only Goandria: The Schism Part II is free on smashwords.com with coupon. As always, Part I is free as well so why not download both? You can find both here. When purchasing Part II enter coupon code “WF78A”
I have blogged about the Goandria series on here, and that is the point to give potential readers a glimpse into what my writings are all about. However, for anyone who is interested in checking it out for themselves, you can read Goandria: The Schism Part I for free. If you like it, please leave a review. I welcome all sorts of feedback and it you would like you can contact me at email@example.com.
So, if you are intrigued by what you have seen here, check out my website: /goandria. From there you can buy my books, check for updates, or learn about upcoming releases.
Writer’s block is a rather peculiar pseudo-pop culture reference to when writers have no idea what to write or are struggling to get their ideas on paper. So what does writers block look like for me?
There are times in which I know what to write but not how to write it. Earlier in my life, I used writer’s block as an excuse, and it was true that I struggled with writing scenes at those points. Writing is not easy. Then a couple years ago, I had an epiphany. I was not that committed. I said I wanted to write, but I never chose to commit to it, to make it a part of my everyday life. As much as I wanted to produce my world and make it available for others to read, there was an endless amount of excuses contributing to writer’s block. Once I made a commitment, an earnest commitment, I found that writer’s block melted away almost entirely. Sure, I struggle with forming scenes or with the new direction the characters are taking me, but that struggle is overcome every time. I found deciding to write a minimum amount of words every day helps. More often than not, I end up doubling or tripling the minimum because once the story gets flowing, it is hard to stop it.
There is one hang up to my new plan. As I write this blog, I must confess something. I really dislike blogs and blogging, but since getting published, I have discovered one unavoidable truth: blogging is a must for writers. Knowing what to regularly blog about is difficult for me. I have generally found bloggers to be conceited. Why should random strangers care about the musings and opinions of other strangers? Apparently, there are many strangers that care about these opinions because blogging is popular. So in knowing the necessity of blogging, I buckled down and began to do it myself. I found that I have things to write about each time I sit down, and it becomes a little easier. Writer’s block is more about willpower in my life than anything else, and making a commitment to just do it helps overcome it.
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