Everyone loves a Villain

 

I recently spent an afternoon with my husband at one of the local tourist spots down here in Florida. I think you all know which one I mean…the main character has big ears and a long tail.

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Like about everybody else in the place I wanted to buy a souvenir. So, I was practical in this issue, and, since it was a hot sunny day, I decided on a ball cap. I examined the selection and saw all the favorite characters that everyone loves; the beautiful princess’s, cute animals and favorite cartoon characters. Then I found the one I had to have! It was embroidered around the cap with villains from the most popular stories and movies.  It surprised me that nobody else was picking it up to buy. It called out to me, with its deep purple color and my favorite villain characters. Characters that scared me when I was a child and made me laugh as an adult.

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This weekend as I was finishing up my first rough copy of the second book in my series, Storm Voices, and I had to do some serious thinking about the villain in my book. Because up until the ending, he’s been a very likeable character.

This made me realize how important the villain is to your story. It would be boring if everything was good in your story and nothing ever posed a challenge or a threat to your characters. Even cartoons have a villain character. It adds interest to the stories suspense, making the reader want to fight and cheer on the main character to defeat that evil villain.

Remember, you need to give your villain interest and depth. Give your reader a reason to cheer on the main character into defeating the villain. It’s up to the writer to make your reader love or hate the villain.

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You can create circumstances where the villain is a nice character and you feel sorry for him, or you can create circumstances where the villain is pure evil and you can’t wait to see him defeated. It’s critical, that your character is  strong; whether it’s the hero or the villain. In some of the best stories I’ve read by Agatha Christie; her hero turns out to be the villain. Now there’s a twist!

So, don’t flat-line your story with boring characters. You created a great hero, now give him the counterpart to make him shine. Make your villain the best you can, whether it be an evil persona or just somebody down on his luck making bad decisions.

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Remember, as a writer, it’s your job to create a villain that grabs your readers.

The Challenges We Face

Facing Challenges.

How do you react to a challenge?

Big or small, we’re faced with challenges every day. Some, it might be best to walk away from, but others can take your life in a whole new direction.

I’ve had serious challenges throughout the course of my life, as I’m sure you have. So I thought I’d share…

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The first one was in college I was in the landscape design program and I walked into a room full of men and three women. The instructor looked at us three women and said, “you’ll never make it through the first semester and you’ll never graduate”. Well, that put my back up against the wall and I accepted his challenge.  Surprise! I graduated with one of the highest grades in the design class.

Another time was right after I got married. I was working for a large design firm and the son-in-law of the owner approached me after I came back from my honeymoon. After congratulation me on getting married, he asked how long he could count on me to work before I got pregnant and left the firm. That was enough for me to look for other avenues of income. When the opportunity came for my husband and I to leave the area and move the Florida, we didn’t hesitate. And little did he know, my son wouldn’t arrive  for 13 years. He sure missed out on the benefit of my employment in those 13 years!

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Of course, being married and raising a child there’s all kinds of challenges that face you on a day-to-day basis. Medical issues pop up, school crisis are averted, and human dynamics are worked through. So far, I’ve been blessed and had few major crisis in this area.

But, I did face another personal challenge just recently, and that was a challenge involving writing…

I was challenged by a group of friends to pursue a lifelong dream and write a book. With a little bit of prodding and poking, I accepted the challenge, and, settled myself down to overcome one more challenge. My goal was to write a full-length book and know somebody read it.

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I overcame that challenge with flying colors I now have 8 books written in 2 different series, with the outlines for many more.

Yet, I found as I accepted this challenge there were many smaller hurdles to overcome. Probably the biggest for me was overcoming my spelling and grammar insecurities. I never seem have a problem finding a story to tell, my problem has always been getting it down on paper so others can enjoy it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m by no means perfect, and I still make a lot of the same mistakes, but at least I don’t  let them hold me back.

The other big challenge I faced was publishing independently. There were so many things to learn and it changes daily. Thankfully there is a good network of other writers that are willing to share their information and support.

Another challenge I faced in this writing process came from some fellow writers. Take part in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This meant I would attempt to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days.

I figured there was no way this would be possible, but, like every other challenge I imagined unattainable,  I somehow completed it. Since that first NaNoWriMo challenge, it has come a little easier for me. I’ve learned how to prepare and enjoy it. I’ve made some wonderful on-line friends who are more than willing to share what they  learned through their  writing challenges.

And through it all that is what has made each and every challenge achievable; the love and support of my family and friends.

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