Archive | August 2014

Be Prepared: Here comes the villains

The essential part of any story, be it romantic, mystery, or otherwise, is the villain. The person who doesn’t like the hero’s goals and tries to stop them every step of the way. A good hero can make or break the story, can the same happen with a bad villain? Such as, there is a villain who wants to take over the world or the tri-county area, but then they meet the hero. The person that the villain has tried to destroy countless times is in front of them, so they get ready for a battle when the hero gives a speech pretty much telling the villain to stop. Instead of the world altering battle, the villain listens and gets rid of his plans. Would that make them a good villain? Should a villain have a battle with the hero or should they stop and talk about their issues?

I think in non-superhero movies, two people could try to talk it out, but I feel that type of action is better suited for a contemporary story between friends or lovers. Not that superhero movies couldn’t do something like that, I just always feel a bit deflated if an Earth shattering battle doesn’t happen. For contemporary stories a big battle can take another form such as someone stopping their bully or getting out of an abusive relationship. I admit that battles are something that I’m weak in. I’m learning more about what makes a good villain and their motivations behind their plans. In one of my stories I have a villain that is trying to get his family name in the magic world back by any means necessary.

What makes a good villain? The hammy ones that destroy the Earth with flair and pizzazz or the quiet ones all dressed in black. Does an enemy have to announce their plans to the world or just in little notes to the police? How about the mustache twirling villains? Or the ones that talk big, but doesn’t deliver. Does a villain have to go through a character arc like the heroes or should they just keep going with no change? For me, my favorite villains are a combination of a few things. They’re evil, but there’s a reason behind it like they have a lifestyle I could get behind, if it didn’t require destroying someone in the process. I’m not a big fan of villains who are evil, for the sake of being evil, like a person causing damage with no reason behind it. I try to make sure my villain has a reason behind what they do.

Another trait I’ve noticed about villains, they’re always well dressed and articulate. At least the hero can listen to their plan without much trouble.

What makes a good villain to you?

Here they come to save the day: What’s your favorite type of superhero?

With all the superhero movies coming out I started thinking about my favorite superhero or heroes. I’m a Marvel fan, but I do have some favorites in DC like Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Batgirl, Catwoman, Oracle, Nightwing, well those are a couple I can name off the top of my head. I’ve heard about comics since I was little girl and my uncle explained the Hulk, Fantastic Four, and X-men to me. Every time I heard about a hero it got me thinking about the type of powers I would like. When I was little I wanted to be invisible, only so no one could see me. Then when I got a bit older it changed to having telekinesis. I would love to have the power to move things with my mind. I thought about super strength, but I wouldn’t know how to control it. Another power I thought about was the ability to shape shift into other people. At the time I liked the idea of being someone different, but shape shifting could have other uses for saving the day.

I don’t have any superhero characters. I think it’s time to change that. I have some ideas for superheroes who have powers based on their personalities while another group would have powers the opposite of their personality. Something like a woman who’s outgoing, but can turn invisible. Another one could be a guy who is very calm, but can turn into a monster or something like that. I’m always neck deep in paranormal that I forgot about superheroes. Some of my favorite type of superheroes are the scientists that can make anything, the thief that used their powers for good, telekinesis, magic, and the ones that can find clever ways to solve a problem. I don’t mind heroes that don’t have powers, but they can still save the day. They’re one of my favorite heroes. I have a special place in my heart for anti-heroes, but that’s for another time.

What’s your favorite type of superhero?

Everything can’t be romantic

Before I start this post I would like to say how sad I am about Robin Williams’s death. He was a great performer, awesome comic, and bought many laughs to the world. I can remember getting the Aladdin video tape and watching it many times during the summer. I fell asleep to Genie’s voice on the story tapes and sang along to all the songs. He will be missed.

Since his death the topic of mental illness, particularly depression, has come up along with the varying opinions on it. I tried not to look too much into it because it wasn’t that long ago that I struggled with deep depression along with GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), but it’s hard not to see something when it’s everywhere online. One of the things that I’ve noticed in fiction and media lately is the way conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder are used as a quirk not something that can sometimes hinder life. There are too many sitcoms where the person with depression is usually used as a joke or books where the girl who has anxiety is seen as something cute. Nothing takes me out of a romance book faster than when a protagonist’s problems are solved once they meet someone. For me, it’s the opposite when I meet someone cute I clam up and my mind starts racing on all the ways I could mess up. Then my mind does a fun thing where it comes up with solutions to it at the same time. I don’t see it as something quirky or romantic.

I know that with the media there is certain creative license and everything doesn’t have to be depicted as realistic, but it’s something I don’t like to see. It’s one of the reasons many of characters have anxiety or depression that doesn’t go away when they’re in a relationship. I know that fiction is a place where it doesn’t have to be close to real life, but I would like more books where someone continues to make strides with their condition while they’re in a relationship. It’s a subject I have trouble talking about because I can never put it in proper words. For me my depression and anxiety builds like a snowball until it becomes too big to roll anymore. Writing helps along with my video games, cooking, and anything else I can use to distract my mind, but it’s there. It’s always there waiting for another moment to pounce. I know the media and fiction has to show that happily ever after, it would be nice to see someone with anxiety and depression get the same thing without having their conditions completely erased.

It’s something I hope to do with my writing.

If there are any shows or books that have it I would love to know.

I love having new things to read and watch.

Writing Confidence: Ten tips for my teenage self

I’ve been writing since I grabbed a pen off the kitchen table and wrote about my doll’s adventures, but it was high school where I really started writing. I started to write fanfics about my favorite shows and my friends really enjoyed it. They asked for more stuff and I got enough confidence to make more storylines. My confidence grew to the point where I felt comfortable putting my stuff online. I was feeling pretty good, until I got a couple of comments that wasn’t very constructive. It happened offline too. I knew I had a lot to learn, but I didn’t know about the writing world online or offline that those comments knocked my confidence down. Along with my anxiety on top of teenage and school stress my confidence lowered to the point where I stopped writing around my senior year.

I didn’t pick my writing back up, until my sophomore year in college. Around that time I convinced myself that writing wasn’t for me, but I got some good advice from a new friend who told me to keep going. Since I couldn’t get better, if I stopped completely. When I started writing again I noticed that it helped my anxiety. This may sound cliché, but it did feel that a missing piece of me came back. I fell much better after I started some original things, like my serials, along with fanfics again. Though I hated that I let my confidence fall that low that I thought of some tips I would give my teenage self and kids one day. You know, if they happen to be writers too.

  1. Don’t let someone change your mind about a genre. If there’s a genre you like, write it. You’ll feel much better than trying to listen to someone else.
  2. There’s nothing wrong with writing fanfiction. A lot of great authors did it and you shouldn’t feel bad about it.
  3. Carefully chose who you give your writing too. Everyone doesn’t have your best interests at heart.
  4. Don’t let others try to change your story.
  5. If you start to get anxious, take a break and come back to it later. You can always come back later.
  6. Don’t be afraid to write that idea you think is too weird. It may end up being a story you love.
  7. Don’t be afraid to read fantasy out in the open.
  8. Try to finish what you start.
  9. Carefully chose who you work with. That person may try to stab you in the back and take your idea.
  10. I know you think you may run out of ideas one day, but you won’t. There are so many things in the world to write about, you’ll never run out.

I’m feeling better about my writing than I have in a long time. I still have a bit of anxiety over finishing something, but I’m getting better at that.

Is there any piece of advice you have about writing?

What you would you tell your teenage self?

The castle will always welcome you: What’s your favorite fantasy setting?

Yes, I’m aware of the cheesy title, but what better way to introduce the topic of fantasy settings by referencing with one of my favorite fantasy novels Harry Potter. A series I grew up and enjoyed very much. Next to romance and paranormal, fantasy is another genre I love. One of the things that has always stood out to me when it came to Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Artemis Fowl is the setting. I love the settings in fantasy novels and the way the people in that world live in it. It’s another way for me to learn about the awesome world the writer created.

There are the huge castles, the sweeping forests, the snow filled mountain ranges, and so much more. Then there are the different types of creatures like elves, witches, dwarves, giants, and the like that have to try and live together in the same world. I’ve always liked that with the setting comes a different way to do things like the way Harry did schoolwork in Harry Potter or the way Holly got her job in Artemis Fowl or Sophie’s curse in Howl’s Moving Castle each story had a different set of rules that worked for their setting.

I try to do the same when it comes to picking a setting, but it’s hard for me to choose one. I can’t decide if I should make a fantasy race within a contemporary setting or make a fantasy setting that’s very different from our world. I wonder if a story can be fantasy if there isn’t any difference between a fantasy story or a contemporary one.

If the setting is contemporary with fantasy creatures then how do they live in our world? Can fantasy creatures live in our world without much trouble? Would the genre change if there are fantasy creatures in a contemporary setting? Is there a set of rules that someone has to follow when writing fantasy or a list of tropes? I know there are books that has the traditional fantasy setting that’s very different than our world, but I tend to lean towards books where there is fantasy in our world like magic to help with the chores or being able to fly to place to place.

There are so many choices when it comes to fantasy it’s hard to pick just one.

I’m curious to know.

What’s your favorite fantasy setting?