Monday, September 13, 2010

Christine is not here right now, please leave a message...

I had a cool post on plotting planned for this week, and then the whole world went to Hades in a handbasket. The day after Labor day, I had a new freelance job doing an English Adaptation in the inbox (money for writing, yay!), and I was thrust knee-deep into my graduate course work. Which wouldn't have been nearly as much of a problem except the fam and I are getting ready to head off for a brief vacation on Wednesday. Meaning everything has to be pretty much done before we go. Toss in any number of football related crises, and my week has passed in a blur of exhaustion.

And today my editor says we can get started on the next Library of Athena book, to be released this fall. So I'll squeeze that in.

I haven't written anything new in days.
I got two rejection letters from agents about my YA Historical.
I still have a movie from Netflix that I got last week that I haven't watched.


So I'm really sorry there's not this great, all-inspiring post about how I organize my plot (I have a picture and everything!).

Rain check?

I will leave you with this bit of wisdom that came to me while writing above mentioned YA Historical, regarding villains/antagonists. The best villains are a little bit sympathetic to the reader. We have to get them and even feel for them, even if we completely hate them. Not only that, but as an author, you MUST see their point of view to write them well.

Villains are never evil just to BE evil (unless you're writing spaghetti western.). They ALWAYS think what they are doing is RIGHT.



  1. Absolutely.

    I've found that one way to make villains more realistic is to delve into what made them the way they are. Not just thinking about their motivation and how it is noble in their eyes. There had to be a turning point, some event in their life, or series of events, that turned their focus.

    It could be something as simple as being wronged by someone they love. Or maybe they are angry about something in their life that is beyond their control--their ancestry or the conditions under which they were raised. Of course it can be something more tragic.

    But, yes, the villain needs to be humanized. It makes them more realistic, and even a bit more scary. If the reader can actually relate to the villain it stirs something very uncomfortable inside them.

  2. That's what I mean by not being evil 'just because'. There is motivation behind it, and they always think they are doing the right thing for whatever reason - revenge, selfish desire, whatever.

    Voldemort is a great villain, because not only was he terrible, the whole reason he was the way he was is because he thought death was a weakness. His mother had died when he was born, of a broken heart. He vowed never to love and to find a way to live forever. It turned him into a monster, and it made him totally terrifying, because we can all UNDERSTAND.

  3. Christine,

    Your life kind of sounds like mine though no mention yet on the status of my third book NO GODDESSES ALLOWED. Still I so can relate with what you're saying.

    Also on the villian thing--I learned something similar when I was writing my own memoir of growing up with a bipolar father. He was very abusive. My teacher at the time told me that I needed to show some vulerability to my father. This was hard but I did come up with some. I think this is the same with any kind of writing. Villians that are all bad come off as totally cliche. It's the ones that have vulerablities that are more real and can even be somewhat endearing. Look at Damon in Vampire Diaries. And also Spike in Buffy the Vampire Slayer.