Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 8:27 AM
I'm featuring tips from Ed Greenwood and Erin M. Evans on how to jumpstart stalled writing today. Monday, I featured advice from Shelly Mazzanoble. And Friday... tune in for advice from even more Forgotten Realms authors!
Monday, November 21, 2011, 6:29 AM
Check out Shelly on Amazon's blog today! www.omnivoracious.com/2011/11/tips-from-...
Monday, October 10, 2011, 6:11 AM
Crossing paths with a mastermind villain is like being caught in a deadly chess game in which you can only see your own pieces. If you survive, it will feel like it’s just the mastermind toying with you. And despite working as hard as you can, what limited successes you achieve will feel like they are due only to the amusement of your opponent. Even in losing, a mastermind often achieves their esoteric goal.
They are the best and the brightest, the geniuses among geniuses—and yet somehow, they always turn out so evil. We have to wonder: Is it because they see too much to identify with others, leading them to detach from the world and its petty problems? Or are they simply subject to greater temptations, having greater resources?
Because of their mind-numbing intelligence, writing masterminds is incredibly challenging. Luckily, Richard Lee Byers, best-known as the author of Dissolution, the first book in The New York Times best-selling series R.A. Salvatore Presents the War of the Spider Queen, was able to lend me a hand. Richard Lee Byers’s work with villains is always extraordinary, giving them a depth and a raw emotional realism usually reserved for heroes. But it was his vision of the manipulative genius Szass Tam in The Haunted Lands put him at the top of my list for experts on mastermind villains.
1. How would you describe mastermind villains?
The archetypal mastermind villain is a brilliant, patient schemer pursuing an intricate strategy intended to achieve some nefarious end. He has underlings to carry out his plans, and his goals appear grandiose if not impossible. For example, he’s not content simply to steal a valuable painting from a private collector. He’d rather steal the Mona Lisa, or better still, every piece of artwork in the Louvre.
But a character doesn’t have to conform to the archetype in every detail to qualify as a mastermind. Much of the time, the Joker doesn’t look like he has a long-range plan or any patience. He looks crazy and impulsive, and the audience has to infer the genius working beneath the facade. Hannibal Lecter’s ambitions are really no grander than those of a real-life serial killer. He just wants to murder and eat his victims while evading the law. Yet both these characters are clearly mastermind villains.
Monday, September 26, 2011, 8:18 AM
Excerpt from Omnivoracious Blog:
Like that tall, dark, and handsome someone in the back of the bar, antiheroes command our attention and demand we try to understand them. They're deep, man, and though they have more baggage than a circus, their inner battles are riveting--fierce enough to rival their battles on the outside.
The antihero is the answer to today's complicated world. When good and evil are not so easy to separate, and every protagonist has their share of damning secrets, the golden hero of yesterday--in his innocence and good will--is unrelatable. The modern audience demands moral complexity--heroes who face the same challenges, temptations, and questions we do. Writing antiheroes is as complex and challenging as the antiheroes themselves--and so I knew I was going to need an expert. Someone who has delved into the heart of the antihero and shown, time after time, that they can capture an audience with their antiheroes, and not drive us away with the hero's darker tendencies. Someone like Paul S. Kemp.
Best-known as The New York Times best-selling author and creator of Erevis Cale, who transformed from a cold-hearted killer into an antihero who would die for his friends, Paul S. Kemp has captivated readers with his dark but relatable characters for over a decade. And there's a reason he boasts such a fiercely loyal readership: his characters have a depth and a darkness to them that hooks right into your soul and pulls you under, into a story you'll be hard-pressed to put down.
1. What draws you to antiheroes?
I’m drawn to the anti-hero’s constant flirtation with redemption, the possibility that this horribly flawed person might, in the end, find meaning, and maybe even peace, despite the tribulations of the world and the questionable choices (s)he’s made. I love that. It’s symbolic of the tension between temptation and grace, the world and the afterlife (if you believe in that sort of thing), between surrendering to regret or finding inner peace. In that sense, the anti-hero embodies the kind of struggle and questions we all sometimes lay awake at night and ask ourselves.
Monday, August 15, 2011, 8:10 AM
You can always tell when someone’s just read a good fight scene. No matter how small, shy, or sweet he or she may be, the moment the book snaps shut, there’s a twinkle in their eyes and a fierceness to their step. They’re just waiting for someone to start something! They feel like they can take on the world.
A good fight scene is empowering, invigorating, and moving. It gives life, depth, and drama to a book, and expresses emotion, theme, and plot in a whole new, nuanced way. A good fight scene is to die for.
As an editor, I have obviously spent a lot of time and thought dissecting what makes a good fight scene (see my post from last year for Wizards), and I’ve probably read more fight scenes than heist scenes, love scenes, and escape scenes put together. But that’s nothing beside the insight of someone who has a knack for writing breath-taking, pulse-pounding fight scenes time after time.
So it is incredibly fortunate that I managed to run into the very author who first inspired my definition of a good fight scene at GenCon this year—and even more so that he agreed to be interviewed for my “Writers Don’t Cry” column on Amazon. And I was thrilled to find that, despite my years studying fight scenes (his among them!), I learned quite a bit from his analysis.
[cross-posted on my website: www.SeriousPixie.com]
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