Posted in Blogging, Reading, Writing Wednesday

Writing Wednesday: Likable Villains

In almost every good fantasy story, I sympathize with the villain in some way. Or just outright adore him. Note that I said good fantasy story; in many books, unfortunately, you may find a villain/antagonist who does bad things because… you know, just because apparently, his moral compass broke when he/she was a fetus or something.

When I’d started writing, it was definitely a problem. I dedicated all my planning and character building to my protagonists and then, after trying to write the story, I spent hours wondering why it seemed like a crappy piece of fanfiction. It took me a long time, lots of writing AND reading as well as a bunch of Limyaael’s fantasy rants to get that no, my antagonists didn’t have to be soulless individuals who existed just to spawn their EVUL on the world.

After all, some of my favorite characters are antagonists.

Anakin Skywalker. Corrupted? Sure. Selfish? Uh-huh. Relatable? Definitely.

Another instance is the wonderful novel by Guy Gavriel Kay, Tigana. There, a bunch of rebels try to overthrow Brandin of Ygrath, who used to magic to erase the very memory of a province named Tigana (because they’d killed his son). I as a reader understand that this is bad, yes. He essentially destroyed a whole nation… but he came across as more likable than the obvious protagonists. His character is built perfectly, his motives are clear and relatable, and he is very charismatic. Kudos for that.

And finally, my favorite of all favorites. The eventual antagonist of the Chronicles of Amber tries to literally destroy the world and remake it in his own image. He is arrogant, power-hungry and mad. But the few descriptions of him from the viewpoint character, the several pages I had to get acquainted with him ‘personally’ were enough to make me fall in love with him and sympathize with him until the very end.

Credit: coupleofkooks on DeviantArt

So what I try to do with my ‘villains’ (although I try not to have those and am more in favor of antagonists with their own motives, it’s sometimes unavoidable because evil is needed, lol) is I get into their heads and figure out why they’re doing what they’re doing. The novel I’m working on right now has to have a finale where the antagonist tries to kill billions, if not trillions, of people, and although he is under the influence of a power which makes him mad, I couldn’t attribute his actions solely to this force.

So yesterday, I sat down and wrote his speeches to the people he would be rallying to support his evil cause. In this essay manner, sort of like free writing, I’d discovered so much about his childhood, his career, his motives and ultimately, I figured out how he persuades the masses to follow him. I will admit I was inspired by Donald Trump’s persuasive skills and thus got my own practice at writing populist messages. And it was a great experience. Have I mentioned how much I love writing?

Do you have any particular way in creating and refining your antagonists? Do you sympathize with them in any way? Do you have any favorite antagonists from fantasy books/films/TV shows?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Posted in Blogging, Writing, Writing Wednesday

Writing Wednesday: Procrastination

I love writing. Writing brings me joy. Writing is a necessity if only to restore some order in my chaotic ocean of thoughts. But for a long time, I couldn’t start writing any major works (although I had, and still have, several ideas for novels). The reason? Mr Procrastinator:

Mr. Procrastinator is a thief of time
Do you know the aftermath of his actions?
Pain, regret, self-pity and failure…

Read the rest of the poem by Simpledimple

Yeah, he’s my arch-nemesis. At first, he kept me from schoolwork but that’s manageable. When he’d keep me away from writing, though, I’d always feel depressed.

However, as I’d mentioned, I love writing, so why would I put it off? The reason is, I had very low self-esteem. Mostly, I’d write poetry and prose. And think of novel plots. But actually getting past the second chapter of a novel draft? That was a no-no, because I’d convinced myself I’d inevitably fail and wallow in misery with an unfixable manuscript a la Twilight.

For me, it’s always been a process of trying to convince myself that what I’m doing in a first draft isn’t important.

Neil Gaiman

It took a second attempt at NaNoWriMo (the first was about 1K words and downfall) to get me to click off my inner editor, convince myself that what I’m doing right now doesn’t have to be perfect, and simply write. I can’t express the relief I feel when I actually see more than fifty pages in my current draft. And though some sentence constructions do make me cringe, I calm myself by this simple affirmation:

The sooner I finish the draft, the sooner I can edit the **** out of it.

And these golden words:

No one is ever going to see your first draft. Nobody cares about your first draft. And that’s the thing that you may be agonizing over, but honestly, whatever you’re doing can be fixed.

Neil Gaiman

Now I suffer from procrastination occasionally, but at least I get the writing done more or less on time.

Do you encounter this problem in writing? In other spheres of life? If so, how do you deal with it? Feel free to share in the comments!

Till next time=)

Posted in Blogging, Humor, Writing, Writing Wednesday

Writing Wednesday: Outlines

Since this is a writing blog, it seems logical to post a little about my writing process. Though here, I post mostly poetry and short fiction, I am (finally!) working on a (fantasy!) novel. As in, writing the first draft, and I must say, Camp NaNoWriMo has done wonders in battling my procrastination.

However, there is one, problem-not-quite-problem that I’ve faced when writing the novel, and that is outlining. I’m one of those writers who doesn’t do that, and, apparently, judging from my tumblr rant which begins like this

I’m one of those people for whom outlining just doesn’t work.

The ‘outline’ for my current project is the product of several years of thinking and overthinking what the story is going to be about, delving (in my mind) into the past of the main characters and exploring them by imagining all the scenes they’re involved in prior to the beginning of the actual novel. The book’s idea, at first, was a mix of cliché magical academy/dragons/normal-boy-finds-out-he’s-a-mage plots, and now that I’ve spent so much time thinking about it and trying to make it original, it actually seems original and whole now, and writing with no outline is perfectly fine.

What I’m hoping for is that this doesn’t blow up in my face and I won’t get stuck in the middle of the novel and fail at NaNoWriMo, letting the claws of procrastination tighten around my life. D is for dramatic.

What kind of author are you? Is an outline essential? If not, is it still preferable to use one, in your opinion?

Feel free to share your thoughts (and advice) in the comments below.

Till next time!