The Art of Creating Villainy Villains (pt. 2 – Villain Series)

[originally published Dec. 2016; updated May 2021] In the first post in this villain series, I defined an antagonist and also discussed when to introduce your antagonist (hint – right at the beginning of your story). This post is all about how to create a villain in your novel. Stephen King, in his novel Misery, developed one…

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Villains (or Antagonists) Explained (pt. 1 – Villain Series)

[originally published Nov. 2016; updated May 2021] Every great story has a powerful and hateful villain. Or do they? The answer to that question is actually much more complicated than it might seem at first glance. So, in honor of the Christmas season and one of my favorite all-time villains, The Grinch, I’m kicking off…

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Using HONY to Create a Character

“HONY? What the heck is that?” You might be asking. HONY stands for Humans of New York, and it is (in my mind) one of the greatest blogs EVER. This past week, a student wrote a great poem about how we, as humans, often base our judgments of others on appearances. The poem reminded me…

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What is a Character Arc?

Is a character arc a giant boat for characters that Noah built? Or perhaps it’s a lovely arched rainbow for our characters to walk through? Nope, it’s none of those. A character arc refers to how a character changes through a story. Your characters, especially the main characters, should experience some sort of change throughout…

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Character Basics: Character Archetypes

When you’re creating a character, the most important step is to figure out what they are like: their purpose, personality, quirks, and voice. The list can go on and on. So, where do you start? I like to start with character archetypes because they give characters their purpose in the story, and they are also…

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Character Basics – Six Places to Find Great Characters

Every story has a cast of characters. Some have huge casts like the Harry Potter series which, according to Wikipedia, has over 600 characters. Some popular stories have much smaller casts, like The Hunger Games which has fewer than fifty. The question is…how do writers come up with all these characters? Six Places to Find Good…

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People WANT to Help

Several weeks ago, a horrible tragedy happened in Boston, Massachusetts during the Boston Marathon. Two angry brothers put homemade bombs near the finish line where they detonated killing, maiming and injuring many innocent people. Within hours, Mr. Rogers’ quote about “helpers” was all over social media. Mr. Rogers said that his mom always told him…

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Pile on the Tragedy

Writers who write timeless, compelling fiction tend to be somewhat sadistic when it comes to their main characters. Horrible trauma follows horrible trauma, and as readers, we can’t get enough. We must find out what happens. Think about classics like Romeo and Juliet. Poor Juliet has fallen in love only to have her parents hate…

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