10 December 2012

Creating Villains - Part III

Here are some of the villains from my childhood.


I know not very threatening, unless you're the Road Runner, Laura Ingalls, or Captain Kirk. I've never gone for the supper scary stuff in tv, movies or books. One night, when I was about 10, I flipped on late night tv. The Exorcist was playing. I started watching it, not knowing it was a horror movie. I got so scared I turned it off,  went to bed, and
started to cry. My dad heard me. He turned the t.v. back on and we watched the rest of the movie.The whole timed he pointed out the special effects and cinematic details that go into film making. He was a smart and patient man. He knew if I (and he) were to have any peace that night (and probably many nights to come) I has to see the final outcome to the demon possession, but at the same time he took the horror out of it.

Here's the final part of the some the best advice I've gleaned on how to make memorable villains.


A MIRROR – often the villain will reflect the hero’s flaw back at himself and shows what could happen if the hero fails to solve his problems. A villain can show “…what could happen [to the hero] if they gave into the temptation that rests within all heroes’ hearts. And it is the hero seeing their own darkness reflected in the villain—and the villain seeing the remnants of their virtue in the hero—that causes such killer chemistry” Think Darth Vader and Luke or even Laura and Nellie. [http://www.omnivoracious.com/2012/09/creating-villains-and-heroes-with-killer-chemistry.html]

HERO OF HIS OWN STORY – “The villain is the hero of his own story.”
“Heroes, by their very nature, have to REACT to trouble. Villains get to CREATE it.  They’re active, they have plans and plots and all sorts of schemes up their sleeves.  The villain has a master plan, and the hero’s job is to stop them.” [http://www.scott-tracey.com/2010/03/26/how-to-create-a-villain/]

“A worthy adversary is —a smart, wily, dangerous creature who tests your protagonist’s courage and prowess. Stupid, bumbling characters are good for comic relief, but they make lousy villains. The smarter, more invincible the villain, the harder your protagonist must work to find his vulnerability and the greater the achievement in bringing him to justice.” [http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/3-techniques-for-crafting-your-villain]

Which villains have stuck with you from your childhood days? 
Today, who is the villain you just love to hate?

03 December 2012

Creating Villains part II

POINT OF VIEW – “no one sees themselves as mean or evil or bitchy or insane or stupid. Your villain won't either. To him, his actions and his logic are perfectly justifiable.” [http://www.writing-world.com/fiction/villains.shtml]

“Consider the standard motives like greed, jealousy or hatred. Then go a step further. Get inside your villain’s head and see the crime from his perspective. What looks to law enforcement like a murder motivated by greed may, to the perpetrator, be an act in the service of a noble, even heroic cause.” [http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/3-techniques-for-crafting-your-villain]

“…In the real world, people rarely think of themselves as evil. Most of us imagine ourselves to be good people, or at least people whose circumstances in some way excuse their less savory actions. When you look at real-world figures who have done the things to which a mastermind villain might aspire--Alexander the Great, Attila the Hun, Hitler, etc.--I don’t see any evidence that any of them doubted the rightness of his actions. His behavior made sense to him within the context of his worldview.” [http://www.omnivoracious.com/2011/10/smarter-faster-meaner-richard-lee-byers-on-writing-mastermind-villains.html]

ADMIRAL QUALITIES or PRINCIPLES – a villain often has a redeeming quality or two, devoted to her little brother, an avid recycler, a highly competent boss or a hard working employee. “Did you know Ted Bundy didn’t like to steal cars that were uninsured? He thought it was cruel.” [http://wildrosepress.us/publisher/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1641&Itemid=203]


Who are some of your favorite villains- those characters you just love to hate?
Can you guess the female villains pictured above? You are a real sci-fi geek if you get the last. 

29 November 2012


Terrisa, office manager for Dr. Hinckley, a dermatologist, called last Wednesday afternoon.  “I have one question I forgot to ask you…” She asked, I answered and then she said, “With that we’d like to offer you the job.”

ME – REALLY? I got the job!

Yeah, sure I applied for the job. I knew they liked me at the interview. I also knew that I had NO experience working for anything other than hugs and kisses and eternal joy for the last twenty-four years.  

Do I want to work outside the home? No. I love being home. I want to write and decorate the house and work in the yard. But at this point, though Mr. W says I don’t have too, I feel strongly that I must work. There are strange twists happening in the national economy and we have some added expenses by way of medical and mission with our kids. 

So, I’ll be a part time office assistant. I’ll do the typical medical office assistant stuff with the added l designation of “social media specialist”. Yep, I get to make sure Dr. Hinckley is properly and dynamically connected throughout the internet world.  All the stuff I’ve been learning about building a platform, creating a brand, connecting with an audience to help further my writing career I get to also apply to a medical office. I think it is cool how information and skills (though minor I feel mine are) can translate into an entirely other field. 

Some things I love about this position:
- It is the only job I applied for and I got it like that [snaps fingers]

- It is part time four days a week four hours a day
- It is medical, but most patients aren’t contagious
- It is a friendly harmonious office with no gossip or cattiness
I get a lanyard and name badge
- I get to wear scrubs with my name embroidered on them

Have any of you gone to work after a long stay at home?
How did you balance all your responsibilities?
What were your greatest challenges and biggest joys?

[here is a link to the doctor's website, no I'm not on it yet, next week I get my hands dirty fixing up the website http://www.hinckleyderm.com/]

26 November 2012

Creating Villains, Part I


DISCLAIMER – “The creation of a truly villainous character can become especially intense. Try writing about them in smaller chunks than you ordinarily would. If you don't take a small break every half-hour or so, you may find yourself absorbing a portion of the villain's negativity, which can affect your relationships with the people you care about  [http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-Credible-Villain-in-Fiction]
Disclaimer 2- everyone writes as if the villain is a “he” feel free to substitute “she”, some of the best villains are female ie: the White Witch in Narnia, Bellatrix Lestrange
DEGREES OF VILLAINY – The genre you are writing in will dictate the type of villain you create. The degrees of villainy range from the nosy next door neighbor to the psychopathic killer to the mastermind wanting to take over the world and many levels in between. Pick a style that is a good balance to your hero. “Your villain has to have enough power, of whatever nature, at his disposal to make him a credible threat to your hero… David wouldn’t have gotten nearly the press he did if Goliath had been 5’9” and asthmatic.” [http://www.magicalwords.net/really-i-mean-it/how-to-build-a-villain-by-jim-butcher]

BACKSTORY – every villain needs one, even if the reader does not see their whole story. You as the writer need to know where the villain came from.
“Think about what happened to make that character the way she is. You may never share your villain’s life story with your reader, but to make a complex, interesting villain, you need to know.”  [http://www.writersdigest.com/writing-articles/by-writing-goal/improve-my-writing/3-techniques-for-crafting-your-villain]
Consider these points while keeping in mind that villains are broken:
-What motivates him?
- Why does this particular desire drive this character?
- Is there anything that would satisfy this desire?
                Ask yourself:
                                How far would you go to achieve this goal?
                                What if you didn't care who you hurt?
                                How would you rationalize your actions?
-What traits and talents must he have to perform his role in the story?
-What additional traits, talents, or back story should I give him to create the sense that he is a real person and not just a cog in the plot machinery? 
 -What would make him interesting? [http://suite101.com/article/creating-memorable-villains-a43842]

23 November 2012


The last eight months have held a lot of changes for our family:      


-In April we found out we were being transferred to Utah from Oregon
-We finished the remolding the master bath of our Oregon house and got it sold in the required three months
-We found a home to buy in Utah
-BAM and BLM sold their condo and moved in with us. ALW finished his semester of college and moved in with us. Eight people now live in the house.
-WRW enrolled full time in at high school and NAW enrolled in an online charter school thus putting an abrupt end to our twenty years of home schooling
-A change in Church policy is letting HMW go on a mission now, having just turned 19, instead of at age 21. She leaves for New York January 9th.
-We have found doctors and are progressing in getting ALW the jaw surgery we have known for ten years he will need to have once he stopped growing.

There has been many twist, turns and challenges, but even among all the chaos there is an overriding feeling of peace with us.  Though we don’t really know why we are to be in Utah and all the different opportunities being here has presented to us we do know it is part of a larger master plan. We feel the hand of Providence guiding us and are grateful for His presence.

What has helped you through big life changes? 

22 November 2012

Washington's Words

I thought this was a lovely bit of writing. The new President of a new nation calling upon the new citizens to set aside a day of Thanksgiving. The first Thanksgiving of the United States of America. 
Have a blessed and joyful day my dear readers.

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.
Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor-- and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.
Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be-- That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks--for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation--for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war--for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed--for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted--for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.
and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions-- to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually--to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed--to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord--To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us--and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
G Washington

17 November 2012


Kaleidoscope, twist and turn, the colored bits tumble about. Stop. The pieces settle into a dazzling image. My life tumbles, the pieces haven’t settled – yet – in this move from a small Oregon town to the megalopolis of Utah. I see the colors and paint them on the once vanilla walls of this home: blue in the kitchen with a stunning red in the pantry, lush mossy green in the family room (which once painted every family member said looked like the color of the outside of our Oregon home), a warm welcoming orangey-yellow in the entrance (Mr. W picked it out, Sherwin-Williams calls it afterglow). I leave the neighborhood and the cars rush and swirl and shift. I peer into the newly placed coop and watch the hens peck and scratch, hear their soft clucks and coos. One piece clicks into place. I work in the kitchen with so many cupboards some are still empty, place dinner on the table. On most nights eight of us gather. We eat, we plan, we laugh. Another bit clicks into place. To the left of the chicken coop, between the apple and peach tree, we deep mulch over the grass. In the spring herbs will be planted and the bee hives placed amongst their sweet blossoms. Click, click, click. One by one the colored bits will stop tumbling.

13 May 2012

Breakfast Together Twenty-Seven Years Later

The other week I attended a breakfast honoring all the new Eagle Scouts in our Scouting District. Seated at the table with us was a man with his wife and son. Turns out Ron S. and I graduated from the same big suburban high school in 1985. Neither of us recalled the other. We laughed and said we’d have to dig out our year books. 

As we sorted out the garage this week, deciding what to trash, donate or move with us Mr. W unearthed the plastic tote with our yearbooks. Yes, we’ve schlepped these book with us on every move (expect to Germany where they stayed in government storage stateside). Silly as the only time we look at them is when we pop open the box and skims through them each time we move. I pulled out the book for my senior year, flipped the pages and there smack next to my photo, the last two on the page, sat Ron S. Not a glimmer of recognition at seeing his youthful face. Yeah, it was the same guy I ate breakfast with, but as far as I know our paths never crossed twenty-seven years ago. 

What funny twist and turns it took for Ron and I after we crossed that graduation stage those many years ago (I with about sixteen moves and having lived in five states and Europe) to end up in Portland, Oregon having breakfast together. 

me 1985