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 →
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 →
Tricking the reader is a bad game to play. For instance, having a character pretend not to know that someone is the killer, only to find out that she knew who did it the entire time is wrong. That’s not the kind of trickery that I’m referring to.
What I’m describing is keeping something hidden from the reader, while maintaining your legitimate narrative perspective. Here’s an example. Continue reading →
There are essential elements that make high fantasy novels come alive, but the characters are the banners. Without having characters that people care about, stories will flop. That said, if the characters are admirable, then the story can sag, and people may still continue to read on.
Fantasy novels must have certain elements if they are to fit into the mold of the mainstream fantasy.
Empathy deserves justice. Recently we touched on the idea of building empathy for a character. This will, by far, be your most powerful tool for writing. You have to make sure that the reader can connect with the situations that you put your characters through, and the reader must somehow be coerced to pull for your characters within those situations.
Think about it. With empathy, we can make you pull for any character, no matter how sinister he is. The Professional is about guy who wants to protect a little girl, and he just happens to be demolition expert. Well, the writers actually get you to pull for him even though he’s a child molester. Continue reading →
Generating a plot line can be tough. We’ve touched on this before, but let me say this: there’s more than one way to skin a cat. (Whoever came up with that phrase must have been some kinda’ sick-o). James Scott Bell suggests a technique that I would like to expound on.
He says that we should think of something that gets us riled up, and then write about that. I agree. Writing what we “know” can be a fruitless and boring experience. In fact, I started writing a nonfiction piece a few years ago, and within the first few pages I abandoned it. Did I know the subject? Yes. But I just didn’t care about it. I could have written the book in a few weeks if I wanted to. I knew the material that well.
Here’s the thing, though. I had no emotional attachment to the material. What makes you tick? What are some emotional hot buttons for you? Continue reading →
I apologize to all of my faithful blog followers. I have not been active in the blogosphere for the past two weeks because my job has me doing some training. This is why I’m flying. I’m currently in another city, trying to keep my blog up-to-date while also fighting to keep up with the 1,000 Word Blitz.
That said, yesterday was a bit sinister. I know. I began with an idea, and I’ll certainly finish it today. I wanted you to see that even in extended prose there can be tension building up, and remember, this is nonfiction.
At 32,000 feet, the Aluminum Can moment has just occurred. Remember that yesterday’s post described how I had to flash my ID several times before I could attempt to get on the plane. This was combined with me scanning my boarding pass twice. Continue reading →
What do we do! What’s next? Where do we go from here? Pete has just decided to dial 911. The reader is relieved. At least help is on the way. I mean, we have no idea what Pete’s father is doing. The “sequel” has been written.
Now we write another scene. Remember the three elements that we need? We need the goal, the conflict, and the disaster. And the key here is the keep the tension mounting. There are a lot of avenues that we could take, but let’s go with one of the obvious ones.