THE 7 WAYS TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE VILLAIN

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

THE 7 WAYS TO WRITE A BELIEVABLE VILLAIN

Well, I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas, and that you have a lovely New Year! This week, I thought what better way to bookend a year than by talking about villains who, as a general rule, hate new beginnings?

We’ve all seen villain stereotypes. The guy stroking his cat, Darth Vader who is so bad, but ends up so pitiful. Same with Loki—you want to see him change, and even worse (better?) you see the potential for him to be good, and make for himself a better life. But he never does. And most of our villains never take that chance.

BUT WHY?

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HOW TO BE ORIGINAL IN A CULTURE OF THE SAME

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

HOW TO BE ORIGINAL IN A CULTURE OF THE SAME

If you’ve been keeping up with the blog, then you likely already know that waiting for one’s muse does not make one a writer; it makes one a waiter. We’ve dispelled the notion that creativity comes in flitting bursts and cannot hope to exist without that spark of Inspiration—a fickle mistress to all of us creatives.

Today we’re going to be talking about another well-heard piece of advice people often give to writers and other writers: “Be original.”

Is this possible in this day and age? How does one “be original?” What is original enough? These are some of the question we are going to explore in this week’s post.

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FEEDING YOUR FICTION: HOW TO READ AS A WRITER

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

FEEDING YOUR FICTION: HOW TO READ AS A WRITER

Happy December, everyone! It’s hard to believe it’s here already. And instead of stressing about finishing work by the end of the year, we’re going to be discussing something a little more relaxing today. =)

It is commonly heard and said that good writers read. It is also said that writers not only read…they read A LOT.

Well, I don’t know about you, but hearing that is encouraging, inspiring, and also terrifying and intimidating. I was an English major in undergrad, and also in grad school. In grad school, the common pace for one class, not to mention the others taken at the same time, was one novel a week.

Now, you may be the fastest reader in the world, but this was a real struggle for me to keep up with. Many weeks I would read about ¾ of the book, and have to skip to the end simply because I could not keep up.

And I’m here to tell you that that’s okay. When people say good writers read, or good writers read a lot, they don’t define what they read or how much. A lot for a fast reader might be a few books in a week. For me, it’s reading a book every few weeks, or even one a month, or even less often that that, depending on what else is going on in my life.

But the important thing is that I am at least reading every week. I try to read a little every day, even if it’s just a few pages between things. My days are pretty full, but yesterday I found time to read at an appointment, and again before bed.

Thus this week’s post is going to cover

WHY IT IS IMPORTANT TO READ – FOR YOUR WRITING AND YOURSELF

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THE ONE THING BETTER THAN GOOD PLOT

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

THE ONE THING BETTER THAN GOOD PLOT

Everyone knows a good story is what sells a book. It presents itself as a premise, and if it delivers on the promises it sets up, boom! It’s a good book, and suddenly everyone is talking about it.

But what if the premise is awesome, the middle pulls you along, the climax ties up all the loose ends, but you still feel like something is missing? What went wrong?

Shrugging gif

Well, it could be any number of things, but this week, we’re focusing on a few things that add up to one big thing.

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HOW TO WRITE A PAGE-TURNER

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

How to Write a Page-Turner

Ah, yes. The allure of perfection. The ability to “do the thing” in such a way that it captivates not just a niche audience, but the whole world. Fame will be yours if you can just “do it right,” “do it the best way.”

Lies.

The fact of the matter is that not everyone likes The Lord of the Rings. Not everyone likes The Name of the Wind. Not everyone likes Harry Potter. And let’s think about that last one—J. K. Rowling was a billionaire, and only recently dropped off the Forbes billionaires list because she donated so much to charity.

But she was a billionaire, and STILL not everyone likes her books.

Moral of the story: If you’re writing to please the audience of the world, you will always be disappointed, because you will always fall short.

Positive spin: If you are writing your book to impart YOUR GOAL HERE upon the world, then you can succeed!

If your goal is simply to provide happiness to the world? Fantastic. If it’s more specific? Wonderful! But we’ve gotta make sure people keep turning the pages of your work so that they make it all the way to the end and have the fullest picture of your book.

Here are some ways we can make sure they do!
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HOW TO MAKE WRITER DEPRESSION WORK FOR YOU

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

How to Make Writer Depression Work for You

We’re writers. Flair, drama, brooding, unique fashion sense, and lying over the backs of furniture likely pervade our lives (or at least the lives of some of the writers you know). And why? Well, we’ll leave that to someone else to explore fully.

I’m here to admit that that happens. It’s a good thing! Something to celebrate, even. Drama is great to use in your writing, brooding can make for good characterization, and lying over the backs of furniture gives as an Oscar Wilde-style workout—fashionable, while being artistic!

Photo of Oscar Wilde sitting and leaning against a couch, on a fur blanket

But what about the other side of all that? The darker side, if you will? What about the depression, and the myriad of other things historical writers have succumbed to? Alcoholism, drugs, etc.? What happens to turn a flair for the dramatic into ugly realism?

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THE ONE SIMPLE WORD TO KEEP YOUR READERS ENGAGED

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

THE ONE SIMPLE WORD TO KEEP YOUR READERS ENGAGED

What keeps you reading a good book? Is it that the book has really good conflict? Great plot? Compelling characters? All of the above?

When a book has all of these elements in just the right doses, it is a masterpiece that we come to know, love, and carry with us wherever we go.

How to sum all this up in a word:

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WHICH PROJECTS TO WORK ON NOW

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

Which Projects to Work on Now

We’ve all been there. We get one idea and we’re really excited about it. We can’t wait. We work on it for a while. Then we get another idea that’s just as awesome. Then we get inspired by the newest episode of our favorite show. That new remix that just came out. That vintage look that came out decades ago.

And suddenly we’ve got fifteen projects and we just don’t know where to start. @____@

But worry not! The answer is closer (and easier) than you think.

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WHAT TO DO WHEN INSPIRATION DOESN’T STRIKE

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

What to Do When Inspiration Doesn't Strike

“Writer’s block.” “No ideas.” “Nothing’s coming to me.” “I’m waiting for my muse.” “Lack of inspiration.”

Almost every writer at one point or another has used one of these phrases to describe some of their frustrations with the writing process.

We are told, as creative individuals, that inspiration will strike us, our muse will sing, and we will simply translate the source of that inspiration into the written word.

Sometimes this happens!

Most times it doesn’t. =/

So what can we do if we genuinely can’t think of something good, but we have a deadline to meet, self-imposed or otherwise? Well, here are some good options.

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HOW TO TAKE A BREAK FROM WRITING BY WRITING MORE

Welcome to Writing Tip Wednesdays, where I post (you guessed it) tips on writing every Wednesday at 5:00 PM ET. This week’s topic:

How to Take a Break From Writing by Writing More

I hope the week so far is treating you well, and if it isn’t, well, this is the perfect post for you! This week we are talking about when and how to take a break from your long, lengthy, ultra-super-sized Project of Awesome.

My Project of Awesome is my Norse mythology-based novel. I work on it every week, with a daily goal of 500 words a day, Monday through Friday. But sometimes, let’s face it, we all get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. Like food! If we ate the same meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for two or more years, wouldn’t that be boring? Wouldn’t it eventually become harder and harder to stomach? It would for me (though I may also just be a hobbit who appreciates a good meal)!

Hobbits eating

If we’re working on our Project of Awesome with the intent of finishing by a certain date, it’s wonderful that we not only have that long term goal, but the daily short-term goals, as well—my 500 words a day, for example. But what happens when other things start to interest us, and our project becomes more of a monotonous strain to reach our daily word count goal? What happens when the project you were so excited about is draining you more than exciting you?

Well, a lot of mediocre writing, or a lot of inner pain, to be honest. It’s no fun to work on something you aren’t excited about. And I’m talking more short-term here. If you still want to publish your novel, great—you haven’t lost sight. But if, in the here and now, you aren’t excited about the daily work, that’s okay up to a certain point. But if it is to the point where the words “grueling” and “excruciating” are beginning to resonate with you, it’s time to take action.

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