Episode #67 – How to Write a Villain with Author Ellie Shoja, villain series #1

Every story has some basic characters: the protagonist (main character), antagonist (opposes the main character), and possibly a side-kick, a love interest, or mentor. As authors, we tend to focus on our main character. We spend hours figuring out their wants and needs, their back story, the details of their lives. But do we do the same for our antagonists? Probably not as much. Should we? Yep!

This week, my guest author Ellie Shoja has a lot to say about the nuances and layers of creating well-rounded antagonists. Because she grew up with one. As the daughter of an international con man, Ellie moved 30 times and lived in refugee camps in Germany before immigrating to the United States at the age of 15.

In this episode, we discussed:

  • The villain as a mirror to the protagonist
  • How Ellie uses discovery drafts, or as she says the “crap draft” to get to know her characters and story
  • Her different approaches to writing novels vs. screenplays
  • Why humanizing your villain can deepen that character
  • If you need to include your villain’s backstory in your book
  • A great Scrivener tip for saving drafts of your novel – I’ve used Scrivener for YEARS and just learned this tip

Meet Ellie Shoja

“Modern-day Rumi” Ellie Shoja is a serial entrepreneur, author of The 13th Planet and Your Heart Knows The Way, co-founder of Peace Unleashed, TEDx speaker, and the co-host of the Unleash Your Peace podcast.

As the daughter of an international con man, Ellie moved 30 times and lived in refugee camps in Germany before immigrating to the United States at the age of 15. By the age of 12, Ellie was suffering from severe nervous tics, anger and mood disorders, and suicidal ideation. What began as a personal healing journey turned into an 18-year deep dive into various modalities of psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. Ellie founded Peace Unleashed in order to share the inner peace strategies, tools, and processes that helped her become one of the most grounded and peaceful people living today.

Ellie has been featured in various podcasts and publications including Entrepreneur, Elite Daily, Authority Magazine, and Thrive Global. Among her clients are A-list celebrities, influencers, and online personalities. She is a keynote speaker and has spoken at national and international conferences including Borderless Content Congress, The Great American Pitchfest, and Digital Hollywood.

Connect with Ellie

Links Mentioned in the Show

  • Scrivener – our favorite novel drafting tool

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