We talked about plot stealing in the last post. Now, I’m going to increase my thievery. We can even steal characters. Wow, that’s hard to hear. For some reason there’s the writers’ hubris that we must birth everything from our literary wombs.
That’s insane. How many times in an interview has the question been asked: “So where did you get your inspiration?” I’ve heard all types of artists respond by saying, “I modeled this after that.”
When it comes to understanding the main character, a lot of times it’s difficult to near impossible to figure out what characteristics are actually “likable” and what characteristics are despised by readers.
Honestly, this doesn’t vary much from genre to genre, and quite frankly, it doesn’t vary from male characters to female characters.
Will there be some subtleties in how likability is executed from a female character to a male character? Of course, there are some keys that will ensure that your readers won’t roll their eyes at the characters you’ve developed.
What is it that makes a latent hero my favorite? I mentioned it briefly in the previous post, but to reiterate, a latent hero inspires us to believe that there is a hero within us all, that we are not victims of our circumstances, but that we can rise above them to overcome.
Whenever I see a latent hero picking up her sword, something in me jumps, knowing that she is about to fulfill her destiny. Does it matter that we know she’s going to win the fight? No, it doesn’t. In fact, we want her to win, knowing that she has finally accepted her calling. Continue reading →
Some heroes are made, others are born into it. We are going to investigate the Born Hero today. Notice that we’re sticking with the Mariah Carey lyrics on this one too. Many writers look at this kind of hero as boring or out of date.
I would disagree. I think that this hero just needs to be crafted differently as time progresses. Superman used to be the kind of hero that people wanted to save the day. He had the power, so why not?
These days, we don’t really like people meddling in our business, unless we are under duress. Continue reading →
Looks like we’ll be sticking with the Mariah Carey song, “Hero.” There’s an amazing line that she uses in this song from so long ago: “When you feel like hope is gone, look inside you and be strong. Then you’ll finally see the truth, that a hero lies in you.”
The unexpected hero is the one who would not under any circumstances ever want to be a hero or a heroine. She would say no to saving the world as emphatically as a fifth grader would say “No” to drugs.
These types of heroes are becoming more common in literature, because readers want to feel greater than ordinary, and let’s admit it, we writers want to feel the same way.
Mixing the list of villains can be a lot of fun, and it also helps to get a clear sight as to where your story is going. I am about 70% done with the third book in a trilogy which means that I’m about 90% done with the actual trilogy itself!
I say that because I intend to start working on the plans that I have for another series almost immediately after these three books are done, and in order for me to get my villains right, I am going to play around with the mix-and-match approach of the different combinations of villains. Continue reading →
These are the two types of villains that we are going to mix today.
Circumstantial + Evil = CircumEvil.
This is the type of villain who is best described as vicious and evil, vile even. The reader will despise this character, and the other characters will buckle under his power. He kills for a living, and he has no remorse for beheading innocent victims in his plight.
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 →
The conceptual villain is a difficult antagonist to create. Why? Because the main is always fighting this metaphysical antagonist, but this villain cannot be seen. It is more felt than visualized. Even describing this kind of villain seems limited.
The most obvious conceptual villain is time. Time is often used to push the main forward through the mission. Movies where a bomb has been planted are good examples of the villain of time. Continue reading →
The most well-known villain type is the “evil for evil’s sake” bad guy. This villain has no motives for his evil. He wants to rule the world, and he wants to enslave all its inhabitants.
This type of antag is comical if you take him to his logical end because the question always arises, “What are you going to do if you do enslave the world?” That said, it doesn’t matter what’s next. The important thing is what’s happening right now.
The evil villain is seen most in epic fantasies since everyone knows that evil is bad. Of course we know of the Sith Lord, Darth Sideous from Star Wars. There’s Darken Rahl from The Sword of Truth. The list goes on with these scumbags. Continue reading →