Category Archives: Style

WHEN EVIL IS VALIANT

HOW TO CREATE A NOBLE VILLAIN

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A nobleman is a man of dignity and sophistication. He is a man who handles business with a professional approach. He is a man who is determined to succeed. Take this nobleman and give him the traits of a villain, and you have created the Valiant Villain.

A VV is the type of villain who has a strict moral code, and only under the rarest of circumstances does he break it. This is the kind of villain whose motives need to be explored. He deserves to be understood; he demands it even. Continue reading

VICTIM OF CIRCUMSTANCE

HOW TO CREATE A CIRCUMSTANTIAL VILLAIN

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Yesterday we talked about a Slippery Villain. Today we are going to look at the Circumstantial Villain. She’s the one who would not be a villain under most other situations, but it just so happens that the events that have taken place are the right conditions for her villainy to emerge.

This is the type of villain that we each embody in ourselves. Most of us are probably nice people who work hard to treat people as we want to be treated. But, under certain conditions, that niceness would go away, if only for a moment. Continue reading

SLIPPERY WHEN WET

HOW TO CREATE A SLIPPERY VILLAIN

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What type of villain are you creating? There are several types, and we are going to take a few days to explore these feats of villainy.

This post will be about the slippery villain. This villain is like a fish that you just can’t keep your hands on. He’s a villain by circumstance, and it only makes you hate him more. Continue reading

I SMELL DEAD PEOPLE

HOW TO INCORPORATE THE FIFTH SENSE INTO YOUR WORK

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Whenever writers describe a scene, we tend to forget one important factor. I know I do. I have trouble describing this one element that has a greater sense of nostalgia and connection than any others.

What am I referring to? It’s the sense of smell. How often do we incorporate odors and aromas into our writing? Not as much as we should. Yet, it’s the one element, in real life, with which we make the best connection. Think about it.

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WHAT HAD HAPPENED WAS

HOW TO NOT TO USE HAD ALL THE TIME

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I have recently been reading a book that’s an epic saga, and it’s not Twilight. Please don’t accuse me of that. Haha!

I won’t mention the saga because I may make several references to it that may be good or bad over the next few days. Perhaps later, I’ll reveal which one it is. But I’m not into bashing people’s work. That said, this isn’t a bash, as much as it is an observation. Continue reading

EVERY ACTION HAS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION

HOW TO CREATE COMPELLING MOMENTS

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We’ve all read the importance of creating tension. In fact, if you’ve kept up with my blog for a while, then you probably have heard me mention it a time or twenty. But Swain discusses something he calls MRUs or Motivation-Reaction Units.

These MRUs are another link that has greatly improved my writing style. It’s the idea that every moment has to be a moment of tension, ideally. Now I’m going to renege on that. Of course we don’t always want tension, but we do always want our readers to be able to feel what our characters are feeling.

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ZOOMING OUT

HOW TO CONSTRUCT YOUR STORY

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Last week you may have been confused with the talk of scenes and sequels. Frankly, the idea originated from Swain, but still, he uses terms that we are familiar with, like scenes and sequels, and redefines them; thus, he makes it all too confusing.

Here’s a brief break down. Scenes have 3 elements: a goal, a conflict, and a disaster. Your character must experience these three things in a scene. In a sequel, the character must process what just happened. Sequels also have 3 elements: a reaction, a dilemma, and a decision.

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RIGHTING WEEKNESSES

HOW TO FIGURE OUT YOUR WRITING WEAKNESS

I hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day. I certainly did, even though I’ve been sick for the past few days. That said, I cooked up some elephantine hamburgers yesterday by mistake. I couldn’t stop laughing at these fist-sized loaves of meat. But I digress.

As writers, it’s important to know what our strengths and weaknesses are. Many people don’t want to admit their blind spots, which ultimately hinders their writing.

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CURTAIN CALL

HOW TO WRITE AN OPENING LINE

Explosive beginnings are a necessity. The reader has to be drawn into your story right away – especially in today’s time. Whatever you present in the outset must reek of plot and hardship or something like it.

I edited a story a few days ago and the writer did something amazing in the Continue reading

SCHOOL MESSED ME UP

HOW TO RID OUR NOVELS OF SENSELESS SYMBOLS

We learned in school that we should analyze a work to find the hidden themes and symbols, etc. It was not uncommon to pull out our magnifying glasses as we inspected the literary works for their motifs.

What this has done to many writers is that it has compelled them to install these mechanical devices into their own works in an attempt to generate deeper levels of meaning. It sounds like a great idea, right? And in our modern times, no one wants to be thought of as superficial. Being superficial is the new “idiot,” as far as I’m concerned. Continue reading