On writing three-dimensional villains
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Disclaimer: (as experience suggests that I need one) This resource consists of opinions. There may be better ways to write, and my advice may not fit your type of story. Please use common sense when applying the ideas expressed below. Thanks for reading!
Do you remember the Big Bad Wolf? He destroyed the Three Little Pigs' houses and ate them (or only chased them, depending on the rendition). He ran to Little Red Riding Hood's home and devoured her grandmother. The Big Bad Wolf appears in countless fairy tales to eat and terrorize the general populace.
In many children's stories, the Big Bad Wolf is symbolic for the negative consequences that can follow bad choices. Two of the Three Little Pigs failed to work hard on their houses, allowing the wolf to blow them over with his tremendous breath. Littl
Planning the Evil PlotPlanning the Evil Plot3 years ago in Writing More Like This
A half-guide, half-narrative on writing a story
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Before I start writing, I like to have some idea of where I'm starting, where I'm going, and how I'm going to end up there. Let's say that I want to write a comedy about an author who suddenly changes places with her Mary Sue. I usually jot down some basic ideas:
Sarah, the author: ~13 years old, average-looking, glasses, rather tall and gangly
Ellemere, the Mary Sue: ~16 years old, long flowing hair, violet eyes, etc.
Forrest (Ellemere's love interest) : ~18, stereotypical pretty boy who is too dark and broody to make a good love interest
Leon: ~17, Ellemere's somewhat dorky friend who falls in love with her but is cast off to side in favor of Forrest
Tangent: For those of you who are confused, the ~ symbol means "about." I think it comes from math.
I like to draw, so I'd probably make doodles of these characters too. Drawing characters is a great way to develop th
Character QuestionnaireCharacter Questionnaire4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Convenient location for consolidating facts (986 mg)
Useful reminders (310 mg)
Advice (127 mg)
This is a questionnaire meant for recording important information in a convenient place to facilitate consistency.
Copy and paste text into a Sta.sh Writer, .txt, or Microsoft Word document. Highlight information after the colons and type over it. When writing, record facts about your character here to keep track of them.
The questionnaire is not a substitute for proper character development.
Do not use if you have not written any scenes with this character.
Stop and ask a doctor if you find yourself uncertain about what the answers to many of these questions are.
Keep out of reach of children. If swallowed, get medical help or contact a Poison Control Center right away, and purchase a new computer.
Nobody Loves My Character!Nobody Loves My Character!2 years ago in Writing More Like This
On making characters lovable, in your story and online
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Disclaimer: This is a troubleshooting guide, and it doesn't necessarily cover every possible solution. It's based on my own experience, and not every idea may fit every character or work. Please use your common sense and personal taste when applying this information. Thanks for reading!
It's every writer's nightmare: your characters, after all the things you've put them through and all the months or years they've inhabited your head, have been eagerly displayed to the public and received an unenthusiastic response. Your audience has not been enchanted. They do not drool, fall hopelessly in love, or draw fan art in droves. They don't even pick favorite characters or whine for more information! You've failed. Nobody understands your characters. Nobody understands you.
...Wait a second. Try again?
Deviants who regularly post OC stories and art are lucky: their relationship with their audien
Knock Yourself OutKnock Yourself Out3 years ago in Writing More Like This
How to Write a [Near]-Fainting Experience
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You've probably all read books or seen movies in which a character passes out. The heroine might swoon gracefully and collapse onto the floor or into the hero's arms. People rush to bring water, a doctor, or something to revive her. She then wakes up, rosy-cheeked and a bit distressed, and she fans herself for a while while insisting that she is fine.
Fainting in real life is not nearly so beautiful. Authors, especially ones with no experience, can sometimes fall for such idealized descriptions. I am (un)fortunate enough to have experience in this area, so I will share it here.
Quick Losses of Consciousness
Usually this involves an impact or a sudden pain. The character may have no idea what happened to him or her afterwards, and later results vary depending on the severity of any injuries sustained.
Real-life example: My mom used to work as a waitress during her teenage years, and Aunt Jennifer, her
I Have Writer's Block!Don't panic. Don't bang your head against the wall. (All you get is a headache... trust me on that.) Writer's block requires a thoughtful, logical approach, so hating yourself will go nowhere.I Have Writer's Block!4 years ago in Writing More Like This
The first thing we tend to do when we have writer's block is to leave the book. We close the file or notebook and say we'll get to it later. Well, sometimes that works, but sometimes we still haven't touched it a week later. Or a month later. At that point things get a little worrisome. That's why I've compiled this list.
1. Try taking a walk or bike ride. Sometimes you just need the time to yourself. I know you've probably heard this before, but that's because it works. Let your mind drift to your characters, and an idea may arrive.
2. Think about your book before you go to sleep. Sometimes you dream about it, which can provide ideas. Sometimes you figure out the answer to your writer's block before you fall asleep. (If you're like me, you'll grab the nearest Post-it, scribble down your ideas, a
Creating a New WorldCreating a New World4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Please copy and paste this into a Word document or deviation. Then highlight the information after the colons and type over it.
Time/Era: Exact year or approximate time
Name of Country: For fun, you could alter the name of an old country to amuse more educated readers. For example, I altered the Assyrian Empire's name for a conquering people to evoke images of brutality and Mesopotamia.
Geography: Keep track of all the places you mention and their approximate locations. I find it handy to draw a rough map of the area.
Landscape: Trees, soil, water, buildings... Imagine you were flying over the place in an airplane. What would you see down below? (And no, you can't write "screaming people who have never seen airplanes before and think the apocalypse has come.")
Housing: How big are the houses that the people live in, and what are they made of? If they're members of a migrant tribe, what do they use for shelter, and how do they
Beating the BlockBeating the Block3 years ago in Writing More Like This
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Please read this list slowly and carefully, considering not only the individual prompt but ways to bend it. You'll get much more out of it. (Thinking about specific characters and/or listening to your book's theme music while you read may help.)
This list is designed mainly to give ideas for characterization-related scenes. If your issue is more along the lines of "I don't know where I'm going," then this may not be as helpful. While you can read this anyway, meditation and logic are usually the things that work best.
If this gives you an idea, write it down! It's a long list, so you don't want to risk forgetting anything.
Not all of these thoughts and ideas will apply to your story, but perhaps one can give you an idea! I encourage you to modify the ideas below to better fit your characters' unique situation. This is just meant to get the ideas flowing. Let's get started!
Two characters are stuck under a br
I Dub Thee...I Dub Thee...3 years ago in Writing More Like This
On the psychology and choosing of names
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Many authors struggle with names. After coming up with a character who perfectly fits his or her intended role, planning personality traits, clothing, hobbies, and physical descriptions, now you have to sum all of that character's being up in a name!
There is an incredible number of ways to choose a name. Often authors are baffled by the vast array of first names and surnames that could be given to a character, and it's almost impossible to start. Whether you're hoping for a name that could belong to any girl on a street or a fantasy warrior from planet Xyla, there are infinite ways of choosing a name.
The best way to find ordinary names is a list. Sometimes one might choose a name that actually means something, while other times one might hope for an ordinary name with little more meaning than "her mom liked it."
ExtrasuperfabulousExtrasuperfabulous3 years ago in Writing More Like This
(with a cherry on top!)
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This resource is outdated and has some sections that are poorly written. Several of the ideas are bad. I am working on revamping this to make it appropriate for all audiences and situations.
Here is a better guide.
When you have a story, there are characters that you like, characters that you love, and characters that you hate. Then there are those characters whom you adore. You think about them a lot. You know their personalities, zodiac sign, blood type, Myers-Briggs type, favorite foods, favorite outfits... you name it! You draw them in your sketchbooks and algebra notebooks. You imagine extra scenes from the character's childhood. You can't stop thinking about that special character!
Are you this obsessed with your characters? If you are, that's okay—I am too. However, if you have that much obsession concentrated on one particular charac
The Cracks Begin to Show: Making Flawed CharactersThe Cracks Begin to Show: Making Flawed Characters2 years ago in Writing More Like This
First of all, I freely admit that what I say isn't gospel. I am a total amateur at art and writing. I've learned everything that I know via the internet and a few books. It's just that I appreciate all of the tutorials here on dA that have helped me out, and I want to put a little bit of my own methods back in.
I've run across an odd myth about fictional characters here on good ol' deviantART: If my character isn't a Mary Sue then I've definitely written a good character. Sadly, this is not so. A Mary Sue (see here for more) is just a specific kind of bad character. Not all bad characters are Mary Sues. It would be like saying that since the movie you made isn't Birdemic or The Room, it's a good movie. Erm that's not quite the case. Maybe your skills are only OK. What's a budding writer to do?
Making a good character is a lot more complex than just avoiding
Your OC's HairYour OC's Hair3 years ago in Writing More Like This
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You have the unique opportunity to see a Writer's Guide being drafted.
Some bug of a mysterious nature decided to delete the resource text last January or so and I think the text is gone for good, so I'm re-writing it. This notice will be taken down when this is no longer considered a draft. (Yes, I'm letting you read my draft. Now you have insights into my evil mind...)
*~*~*~The Actual Guide~*~*~*
Most girls are taught that there is a standard, all-encompassing way to take care of hair. You brush it every morning and don't pull the tangles too hard. When you wash it, you use a little bit of shampoo for the hair near your scalp, and a little bit of conditioner for the rest of it to minimize tangles. You should only blow-dry it, curl it, or straighten it on special occasions, because doing so damages your hair.
So we learn the rules and follow them, perhaps tweaking them here or there if necessary. It's just like Mom
The Art of VILLAINYThe Art of VILLAINY5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The Art of VILLAINY ~ Making Realistic Villains for your Fiction ~
"People will do far more to Avoid Pain than they will to Seek Pleasure."
-- CIA Profiler Gavin DeBecker on Human Nature
When I craft a villain, I go out of my way to make darned sure that my fictional villains are as realistic as the villains we face in real life. I begin by giving them ordinary human Issues.
Within every villain (fictional and non-fictional) there's a human issue at core that drives them to BE villains in the first place. Even mass murderers have reasons (however twisted) for doing what they do.
NO villainous action is RANDOM.
The victim may be randomly chosen, but the action -- no matter how twisted -- always has a reason behind it. That reason is ALWAYS driven by a very human issue triggered by an unfulfilled and essential human need.
Key Human Issues:
* Desire for Connection
Pesky Point of ViewPesky Point of View5 years ago in Writing More Like This
DISCLAIMER: Before anyone starts screaming about this article not emphasizing the Creative aspect of writing, please understand that this information was hammered into my head by my editors. This is what I had to learn to see my work published.
That doesn't mean you have to follow it! As with all advice, feel free to take what you can use and throw out the rest.
Pesky Point of View
What is Point of View (POV)?
-- It's the view of the person telling the story.
First Person: I am telling the story.
Second Person. I am telling the story to YOU. (Diaries and letters are commonly written this way.)
Third Person: He is telling the story.
Close Third Person: He had no clue how he got roped into telling this story, but he was telling it, and by god, they better listen up!
Omniscient Distant POV: The camera's eye view. (No internal narration what so ever. You only know what the camera sees. This is the POV u
Character Description FormCharacter Description Form3 years ago in Profiles More Like This
This form works for commissions, art trades, requests, or any possible situation in which I or someone else could be drawing your character.
This form will give me a sense of how to draw your character! Please copy and paste this text into a note or deviation. Highlight and type over the parts that aren't in bold. You can jump back to this form for the links.
Please share as much information as you can think of! The more info you give me, the more easily I can draw your character how you envision him/her. You won't be pestering me if you tell me the exact hair color; instead, I'll be happier to know that I'm getting it right.
Premium members (and non-premium members?) can add thumbnails to literature deviations through Sta.sh! This is a great way to incorporate reference pictures. Otherwise just put in links, such as
On Writing: VillainsOn Writing: Villains3 years ago in Writing More Like This
Villains. Every good story has a hero, and every good story has an antagonist - be it nature, inner conflict, a supernatural force, a person, or all of the above. But the largely debated question is: what makes a good villain? And honestly, I don't believe that question will ever fully be answered. But, in this next wall of text, I'll list off the many villain types, both good and bad. But first off, before we officially begin, each type of story has its own type of villain. If you're looking to include all of the types then you're going to have a hell of a time trying to manage it, because not all of them fit well in a single story.
1. The Purely Evil Villain. If you've ever read The Lord of the Rings then you know the conflict is between the forces of Good and the forces of Evil. The Evil forces are represented by Sauron, who may very well be the perfect example of an all evil villain. Evil villains are motivated by their need to cause chaos and destruction to the forces of Good, whi
Run the Gamut: A Way to Flesh Out Your CharacterRun the Gamut: A Way to Flesh Out Your Character3 years ago in Writing More Like This
First of all, I freely admit that what I say isn't gospel. I am a total amateur at art and writing. I've learned everything that I know via the internet and a few drawing books. It's just that I appreciate all of the tutorials here on dA that have helped me out, and I want to put a little bit of my own methods back in.
Is your character feeling a little bit stilted? Do you want to find a way to flesh him out a bit so that he'll be more three-dimensional? Well, here's an activity to get you started on the right path.
I call this activity Running the Gamut .
Everyone feels the same feelings. Everyone feels happy, sad, angry, afraid, in love, etc. This activity is a little bit like those character info sheets that you may have filled out, but this is different. You don't have to write your answers down (though it really can't hurt), but you should know these answers really well. In this activit
Punctuating DialoguePunctuating Dialogue1 year ago in Writing More Like This
For non-native English speakers and young readers: If you hover over a blue word, you'll see its definition.
Punctuating dialogue can be surprisingly difficult, even for people whose first language is English. It's one of the things that you see all the time in books, but you pay little attention to, and all your English teachers assume that you already know it. Sure, if you read a lot, you pick up the basics, but even then it can be difficult to unconsciously absorb all the rules. (Until 2012, I was making heinous mistakes with commas vs. periods. I'm still weeding out errors from my novel.)
Anyhow, for the sake of my fellow spirits who bemoan the lack of proper dialogue education, I've researched the subject and compiled this little guide. I hope that it answers your questions, and that it isn't too dull.
Note: I use American English. Other English-speaking countries may have slightly different rules.
Anatomy of Dialogue
I'm going to be using these term
When the Hero is NOT a HeroWhen the Hero is NOT a Hero3 years ago in Writing More Like This
Protagonist & Antagonist ~ A Different Definition
There are Three Essential Characters in Every Story. There may be any number of side characters, but in traditional Adventures, and Romances of every stripe the main conflict is usually, if not always, a triangle of complimentary opposites.
Translation: You could tell the WHOLE story with ONLY these Three Characters; perhaps not with any real detail, but you could still do the entire basic plotline. (Yes I know, I've said some of this before. Bear with me.)
Yep. I'm sure you're familiar with: Hero Villain Heroine (or Sidekick) already. Those are pretty darn standard. So, let's define them in a more Literary, (and complicated,) fashion shall we?
Antagonist - Protagonist - Ally
ALLY? Who the heck is That?
Always there, though seldom named
HOW do you make THE END?HOW do you make THE END?5 years ago in Writing More Like This
"When will you make an end?"
- The Pope on the painting of the Sistine Chapel
"When I'm finished."
Okay, so you got this GREAT Idea for a story!
- This Great Idea...that births chapter after chaper...
- This Great Idea... that you can't seem to finish. (WTF?)
So what do you do now?
HOW do you make an End?
Fairytales and Myths were my foundational reading, so they became my base model for how a story should finish -- by ending where you began with a solution.
This doesn't mean ending a story in the location it started, or that full irrevocable transformations don't happen, but that the story ties the knot to the Emotional or Karmic place they began. -- The lost find their way, the wicked are punished, the weak become strong, monsters are faced, emotional hang-ups are dealt with, and problems are solved. What is begun - finishes.
-- Stories aren't just about characters Doing stuff, it's about cha
Basic PLOTTINGBasic PLOTTING5 years ago in Writing More Like This
A plot is the pattern a story follows, the most common being:
All successful (read: popular) stories have patterns. Sometimes it's simple, sometimes it's complex, but all of the stories read or told often enough to remain in the popular mind of any culture have a pattern, a plot.
Here are some examples of simple plot patterns
American Dream Version:
He became very rich.
The Heroic version:
He became the leader of his people.
He died in the middle of a glorious battle to defend his land, and became a legendary figure that would never be forgotten.
Aristotle's Elements of a Greek Tragedy - simplified:
Act One: He rose to glory.
Writers Notes - DialogueWriters Notes - Dialogue4 years ago in Writing More Like This
Dialogue is the speech between characters. It is when the narrator (you) stops telling the story and the characters speak instead.
Here's some pointers regarding dialogue writing:
Never write dialogue like real-life speech. Why? Because if you listen to real-life speech it is littered with umms and ahhs and errs. Anyone who has ever sat through a meeting or an assembly listening to someone droning on umming and ahhing will know just how frustrating it is. The last thing you want is to inflict that on your reader.
Real life also has moments where you completely forget what you're saying or get side tracked and run off on a tangent or get interrupted. Now all these things can be added to dialogue but in small amounts. We all know someone in life who constantly interrupts us when we talk, they can't wait for your part of the conversation to end so they talk over you. Fine, have a char
Writing BEGINNINGS for Short StoriesWriting BEGINNINGS for Short Stories1 year ago in Writing More Like This
I was wondering if you had any tips on starting a short story? Like for instance, I have the scene all laid out in my head, I know exactly what's going on and stuff, I just don't know how to begin without giving away too much info and then boring the reader. If that make any sense.
Tips on how to make a beginning...?
-- Why, yes I do!
The fastest way to start a story -- is NOT at the beginning.
Open the story within one page of Hero Meets Villain, (or Lover Meets Beloved) with the story already in progress. Action scenes and snappy dialogue are the best hooks for snaring your reader, but hints of Mysterious things yet to happen works well too. I also set the stage for the story about to begin with a few lines of Description so that the reader can SEE everything as it happens.
Here are some examples from my fan-fiction:
Opening to HERO (Naruto)
It was supposed to be a
The Secret to ParagraphingThe Secret to Paragraphing5 years ago in Writing More Like This
The SECRET to Proper Paragraphing
(NOT a punctuation article.)
Once you know what your characters and doing and saying, how do you get all that down on Paper without ending up with a huge confusing mess?
Putting the Story on Paper.
Everybody knows that when a new speaker speaks they get a new paragraph, right? In other words, you DON'T put two different people talking in the same paragraph. Okay, yeah, so anyone who has written any kind of fiction learns this pretty darned quick, (usually from their readers.)
What nobody seems to get is that the same goes for a new character's ACTIONS. Seriously, when a new character ACTS they're supposed to get their own paragraph -- even if they don't speak!
In short, you paragraph by change in CHARACTER -- not because they speak, but because they ACT. Ahem... Dialogue is an ACTION. In other words, the reason you don't put two different characters' Dialogue
Advanced Plotting-The PREMISEAdvanced Plotting-The PREMISE5 years ago in Writing More Like This
Advanced Plotting ~ the PREMISE
Could you tell me more on plotting story points? I can get the big story idea well enough, but I run into a snag deciding the whole causality thing -- A leads to B, leads to C, etc."
-- Mad about Plotting
Ah, so you wanna know how to put all the theories together to make a story, do you? (Gee, you couldn't pick the easy stuff could you?) Okay...
A story's Causes & Effects, the triggers that lead from one event to the next, comes from your Premise.
Just for the record...
A Premise is NOT a Concept!
The Premise is the theoretical / emotional problem that your story is trying to illustrate and answer. It's the glue that holds the whole thing together. It's the Purpose of your story.
A Concept is HOW you intend to illustrate that Premise, it's the story you wrap around it.
Example: The 'Matrix':
Premise: Knowledge vs. Ig