Saturday, March 30, 2013

How to Write a 3D Villain Part 2: What Event(s) Made Your Character Evil?

Hey, readers! Here's part two to my How to Write a 3D Villain post! Today I'm going to talk about background. What events led up to your villain being evil or was it one big event that sent him/her down that path of wrong doing? Even if you don't ever tell every detail of your villains background in your book, it is good to know them in your head because it'll help you know how your character is going to act.

Background: What Event(s) Made Your Character Evil?

People just don't wake up one day and decide they want to destroy the world or cause someone unspeakable misery. There is one or more factors that motivates your character to be evil, which I covered in Part 1, but now I'm going to cover how these factors came about. You don't want to make your readers care too much for the villain because he is the villain and all, but if the reader at least understands the villain, the villain comes off as more human and realistic.

Warning: There are some spoilers about the following example characters below. 

Childhood - Childhood is a big molding period for anyone including your villain. Abuse either verbally or physically can effect your character. The villain's parents disliking them or not being supportive of that character or people in general looking down on that character can cause a little seed of darkness too.

Example: Lex Luthor from Smallville - Lex's father disapproved of him and a lot of  kids made fun of him as a child. The influence from his father and anger built up for people including Clark Kent contributed to his eventual turn to the dark side.

On the other hand, there are villains that've been loved too much almost. Their parents expected too much of them or spoiled them.

Example: Amon from The Legend of Korra - His father wanted to push his legacy onto Amon which made him rebel and want the opposite of his father's ambitions, which set him on his quest to rid the world of benders.

The Protagonist - Now those were other people from the past, but sometimes a sin committed by the protagonist to the villain in the present or near past can incite a turn to evil. The protagonist may apologize, but he hurt that character so badly, it's too late.

For Example: Syndrome from The Incredibles - Syndrome formally Buddy idolized Mr. Incredible, until he was cruel to Buddy which scarred him against heroes.

Or there could be a combination of events that happened when the character grew older ... At times it's a big immediate change and other times it's more gradual.

Example for Catalyst Change of Sides - Cora from Once Upon A Time. Kora was a simple, poor miller's daughter, but when the King and a snobby princess humiliated her in the king's court, that incident tipped the scales to the villainous side.

Example Gradual Change of Sides - Rumpelstiltskin from Once Upon A Time. People always Rumpelstiltskin looked down on him, even from childhood partially because of the sins of his father. People laughed at and shunned him. That burden on his back propelled him to do horrible things when that anger built up. He lashed out against his bullies and a lust for power grew to compensate for the power he never had growing up.

It took time for these villains to become evil. You may have a character who begins good and then becomes evil in the books. Background and a good motivating factor will help you have a realistic villain your readers will both fear and understand.

What event or series of events caused your villain to be evil? Was it gradual? Was it one catalyst event? Who is your favorite villain? Why do you like him/her so much?  Do you have any questions about writing a villain?

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Go Teen Writers and Giveaway!

Hey! I just wanted to let you all know about this really cool group for young writers called Go Teen Writers. At a book signing, I met Jill Williamson and she told me about it. I've been a member for nearly a year now with the community and awesome blog posts have really helped my writing and inspired me to make this blog. ^ ^

On the Go Teen Writers blog, you can read lots of neat posts about writing such as plotting, brainstorming, outlining, and more. They also cover being a writer with topics like avoiding procrastination, motivating yourself to writer, what's it like to be an author, and such. 

On the Facebook group you can interact with the founders Stephanie Morrill (author of Me, Just Different), Jill Williamson (author of The Blood of Kings Trilogy) and many other young writers.

Networking is really important for writing, so if you're a young writer check out this great Go Teen Writers group!

They also have their new book, Go Teen Writers: How to Turn Your First Draft into a Published Book, coming out which I'm so psyched to get!

Here's the back cover copy:

The question we hear most from new writers is, "How do I get published?" And the answer is: Respect your dream Every writer's journey is different, yet as we've reflected on our experiences and those of the writers around us, we've seen time and time again that those who are successful are the ones who had the patience and endurance to stick with this writing thing. They didn't look for shortcuts (at least, not for long), nor did they quit after five, ten, or one hundred rejections. We can't make the process easy for you, but it's our hope that this book will be a tool you can turn to time and time again when you're thinking, "Okay ... what's next?" Includes tips for: -Getting published -Finding the right agent -Book surgery -Thicker plots -Deeper characters -Richer settings -Weaving in theme -Dealing with people who don't get your writing

You can pick up your copy here or have a chance to win an Ebook copy below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

Saturday, March 23, 2013

How to Write a 3D Villain Part 1: How Did a Factor Cause Your Villain to Become a Villain?

So this week someone asked me, "How do I write evil?" That got me thinking, "How do you write evil? What makes a bad guy?" and I was inspired to write these two posts on "How to Write a 3D Villain."

Now I'm not talking about how to plot evil plans or what villains do when they're really hard core, I'm talking about: How does a regular person become bad? What makes your bad guy tick?

Villains are human (most of the time) or at least have feelings. So what made them become evil? Why would someone do such horrible things to get their goals?

So with part one I will be talking about your villains emotional motivation to become evil.

Handling Emotions: How Did a Factor Cause Your Villain to Become a Villain?

Let's draw the line ...

One huge difference between good guys and bad guys is conformity or giving in. A bad guy gives in to his negative desires, crossing the moral boundary, and a good guy resists, keeping his moral stand. With that in mind and observation of books, shows and movies, I've come up with the five emotions or frames of mind that primarily motivate villains.

Warning: A few spoilers if you haven't seen/read the shows, movies or books below. 

1.) Fear - It can drive people do some terrible things when they are afraid of losing their lives or their loved ones.

For example: Anakin Skywalker from Star Wars. What made that cute little kid in episode one become a menacing man-machine in the later episodes? His fear for his mother's and Padme's lives. Now fear for your loved ones isn't a bad thing, but what he did with that fear was wrong. It made him do horrible things therefore corrupting him because he gave in to his fears.

What a good guy does: Now good guys have these emotions too. I'm sure you've felt afraid for your family before, but we choose how to handle our fears in a good way that doesn't hurt others thus drawing the line between us and the bad guys.

2.) Greed - Want for power, money and other things is a big corrupter.

For example: President Snow from The Hunger Games. He probably was a regular politician until he got a craving for power. Then nothing could stop him from getting it until he got to the top. Now his desire is to keep his power no matter what it costs.

What a good guy does: A good guy resists that urge for power or gets it in a righteous way by running for president or getting money an honest way depending on your story's society or his wants.

3.) Grief - The horrible pain of losing a loved one can make someone want to bring that pain to the one who caused their pain sometimes in the delusion that it will bring them peace.

For Example: Regina from Once Upon a Time. Regina was a sweet woman who loved her father and just wanted freedom and to be with her true love. When Snow White accidentally caused the death of her lover she let grief consume her and turn into revenge which ultimately made her evil.

What a good guy does: A good guy can grieve, but not let it turn into hatred and vengeance. That takes strength and courage.

4.) Bitterness - Anger that sticks inside someone and they never let it go. It builds in someone's heart and eventually corrupts.

For Example: Magneto from X-men. He once was a regular Jewish boy, but after his time in a concentration camp that seed of bitterness started against humans. When he came to America and saw how people treated him and other mutants, he could no longer see the good humans and just thought every human was evil.

What a good guy does: A good guy may be angry at someone and it may take them a long time to forgive, but if they let that bitterness consume them, they'll become like the villain. Letting it go is difficult and forgiving the person or persons is difficult, but it shows the strength in your good characters.

5.) Distorted Righteousness - Moral principles twisted in someone's mind to become what they want them to be. This is a complicated one. A character with this factor may believe what they want is right for the world or right for other people when it's obviously wrong and crazy. It's wanting to do something really bad for "good reasons".

For Example: Loki from Thor. He was the adopted child of the Ruler of Asgard who only wanted to please his father. But in his child-like innocence to want approval from Odin, he almost caused a genocide on a planet. He wanted to do a good thing, but he wanted to do it in a very bad way.

What a good guy does: Good guys sometimes give into this tendency to do a bad thing for a good reason if a loved one is threatened, but they shouldn't do this often or they will be no different than the bad guy.

A villain most likely has more than one of these factors that made him/her evil, but usually there is one primary one as stated above.

For example: Magneto had grief (for his dead family) and distorted righteousness (his want for a perfect world for mutants but at any cost), but bitterness primarily motivated him.

Your good guy may sometimes give in for a time to these factors in a time of weakness, but him/her doing the right thing will keep that line between good and evil drawn. I've seen some movies or shows that the good guy steeps almost as low as the bad guy. I believe there should be a good solid line drawn between the two sides.

I hope this post can help you make a deeper villain and look out next week for the part two: 
Background: What Event(s) Made Your Character Evil?

What factor primarily motivates your villain?

Friday, March 22, 2013

10 Questions about Subsapien Biomech

So I got tagged in a blog hop! Thank you Caitlin Hensley and Hannah Mummert for tagging me! :) Be sure to check out their blogs. I've never done one of these before, but there's a first time for everything.

So on to the questions ...

1: What is the working title of your book?

Subsapien Biomech. I've been toying around with the title for some time, but last year this one hit me and I really feel like this is the one. "Subsapien" is taken from the Latin word "sub" meaning "under" and "sapien" from homo sapien meaning "human." I combined the two words to make "under human" because in the books Subsapiens are treated as higher than animals but under humans. I feel like it really embodies the series since the books are about Subsapiens.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?

Well, one half of it actually came from a dream I had several years ago. The dream was about a bunch of kids running away from something in a super market and after that I wondered, "Why were the kids running from these people?"

The dream hung around all day until I got to my Biology schoolwork and on my school book was a picture of a chameleon and that made me think, "What if animals and humans could be combined?" Then that half of the story was born. The other half was inspired by Iron Man, my first Marvel movie. Originally the ideas were for two different books, then I put them together and Subsapien was born. :)

3: What genre does your book come under?

Science fiction with elements of post-apocalyptic and dystopian. I've written it for YA primarily people ages 13-21.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I've probably thought about this too much. ^ ^' I'd like Colton Haynes to play Bryce since he can convey the emotion I'd want him to express. Callan McAuliffe ( I Am Number Four ) would be a great Caleb. Saxon Sharbino (Touch) looks a lot like Pro, but I'm not sure how her acting skills for her personality would be. Ted Whittall (Tower Prep, Once Upon a Time) practically is Judah.

Colton Haynes
5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

In order to be free and see his little brother again, a teen lab experiment must learn to be the thing he hates most: human. 

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?

I'm working on getting an agent right now. :) I've gotten three permissions to send. Now to actually send and get a yes or no.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Six months give or take. I could pull it off faster now. :)

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Maximum Ride by James Patterson, Insignia by S.J. Kincaid, The New Recruit by Jill Williamson, and The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins have similarities.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

The Marvel universe. Marvel movies and shows got me into sci-fi. :) I hadn't really delved into it before I started watching them. Now I love sci-fi. :D

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My characters have cool superhuman abilities, the book has lots twists are turns in the plot, and some butt-kicking all with Christian elements sewn through it. The characters go through a journey of trust and discernment as they interact in a corrupt future. So if you like futuristic, butt-kicking, superhuman, deep characters in a clean book with lots of twists and turns on the way and a dash of romance, then you'd probably like this one. :)

I tag:

Well, this was a lot of fun! :) Be sure to check out bloggers I tagged! :) Thanks for reading! :)

What are some of your answers to these questions? Have you done this tag?

You May Also Like:

Saturday, March 16, 2013

On Bettas and Pinterest

Epsilon Shu

So this week I decided to do a sort of random post just to mix things up. ;)

I got a Pinterest months ago because a friend invited me, but I never knew how cool it was until I started pinning. If you don't know what a Pinterest is, it's basically a site where you pin pictures of different things. It's a great tool, especially for writers since I've made boards for my books.

If you have a Pinterest or want a Pinterest check out my Pinterest and if you like what you see follow me. The more followers I get the bigger my writers platform gets. :)

On to the other topic ...

This week I got a betta for an early birthday present since I've been wanting one for a year. I'm going to be twenty next month. Craziness. I digress. His name is Epsilon Shu. "Epsilon" coming from the Greek alphabet (Alpha, beta, gamma, delta, epsilon ... ) and Shu coming from my favorite anime, Guilty Crown. If you're into anime, you should totally watch it. It's an awesome show. The character arch is so moving. I digress again ...

After I got him and before I got him, I did some research on bettas and they are a pretty cool type of fish and I learned some pretty cool things about them. If you got a betta, are thinking about a betta or just like to absorb random knowledge like me check out the facts below. :D

Here are five cool facts about bettas:

1.) Betas Hate Small Containers - Many people say that bettas like small tanks. Well ... they don't. They can survive in small bodies of water because of a special organ they have called a labyrinth organ which is similar to a lung as in they can breath straight air. They prefer at least a gallon tank if not bigger. It's sort of like ... as humans, we can live in a tool shed, but we're not happy in a tool shed.

2.) Plants - Bettas like to hide and rest near the surface so plants are a good idea to get your betta. But plastic can rip their fins, so live plants or silk plants are the way to go. I got Epsilon ones from his home country Asia so they'd be compatible with his water temp and so that his tank would be more authentic. Getting a fish plastic plants would be like getting a backyard with plastic trees. You'd feel jipped.

3.) Pellet size - I guess a lot of fish food manufacturers don't actually have fish because sometimes the pellet size for your betta's food is too big. You can tell when a betta spits out its food, so make it easier for your pet and cut the pellets in half with a razor. You wouldn't want to be given a big old steak with no knife. You'd choke ... and die.

Betta Bubble Nest
4.) Bubble nests - Male bettas can make these really cool things called bubble nests. :) They're for their babies if they get them, but they're also just something they do on instinct and they show if your betta is happy. If they don't do it, don't freak out. I heard some don't do it very often, but I was lucky to get a betta that made one for me. :)

5.) Fish Can Be Fun - So this fact I knew for years. You can play with your fish with a laser pointer that can be purchased at a pet store. They'll follow it. I did it with a big tank of fish once. Very fun. It's basically like playing with a cat ... except its under water ... and scaly ...

Well that's all I got. As always, thanks for reading and keep an eye out for more posts! :)

Would you guys like to read some more pet posts?

Update: I obviously had no clue about audience when I wrote this post. XD This is a writing blog not a pet blog. XD

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)

Saturday, March 9, 2013


Campus of the Florida Christian Writers Conference
Hey everyone! :D I know it's been a little while since my last post, but I've been super busy with editing and the conference I attended.

I've been going to this particular conference for four years now and doing so has improved my writing dramatically. I highly recommend going to a conference. I'll tell you more about attending conferences in a moment, but first I have some big news.

At the conference I had the opportunity to pitch to agents and three out of three I pitched to want to see my book! :D So in less than a month I'm going to be sending full manuscripts and proposals to these three agents! I'm totally psyched! But even if these don't work out, at least I know that some people are interested in my work.

Writers conferences are amazing. I've yet to branch out from the Florida Christian Writers Conference, but I plan on it. Here are four things I have to point out about conferences:

1.) Community - One of the coolest things about writers conferences is that everyone there is a writer! I've made instant friends with dozens of people and some of them have become my best friends. You may have another fellow writer living thirty minutes away from you and not even know it! Sometimes it's tough to keep in contact with those friends after leaving the conference, but Facebook is a great way to do that. Make a group for your writer friends. It's awesome to have a group of buddies to help you brainstorm, critique and grow as a writer.

Teen Track of 2013 taught by Bryan Davis.
I'm the one doing the funky Ninja pose

2.) Networking - At conferences you can meet a lot of professionals by just walking up and talking to them, sitting in on their classes or sitting with them during meals. My connections to publishers, editors, and authors have really helped me. I've even had an author tell her agent to look for me at the conference! Career aside, it's really cool to be able to know published authors. They do book signings. ;)

Friend (Left), Author Steven James
 (Middle), Me (Right)
3.) Hands-on Professional Teaching - You get to go to classes taught by professionals in the industry and talk to them after classes. It's a really neat opportunity to be able to learn from professionals directly. Blog posts are cool to learn from, but it's really awesome to be there and meet them personally.

4.) Publishing and Agents Opportunities - You can set appointments to speak one-on-one to agents, authors and publishers. You can get advice from authors or critique on your book and pitch to agents and publishers. I know an author that got published that way and that's what I did to get three permissions to send. :D

If you're a writer and you haven't been to a writers conference, I totally recommend you do. It's an awesome opportunity. :) Keep an eye out for more posts and thanks for reading! :)

Have you ever been to a conference? Did you have a cool experience there?

If you liked this post, come back every Saturday for more writing advice, character interviews, book reviews and more! On Sundays I have Soundtrack Sundays where I post a new score piece, Tuesdays are Tea Tuesdays with tea reviews, Wednesdays I have Wonderful Word Wednesdays where I post a new vocabulary word, and Fridays are Fan Fridays where I post tags and other goodies. To help support my dream to be an author follow this blog, like me on Facebook, watch me on deviantART, and follow me on Pinterest and Twitter. If you want to know more about my books check out them out here. Thank you! :)