It’s here! Sacha Black’s first book, 13 Steps to Evil, is now available – I’ve already got my copy and am looking forward to diving in! A guide to writing the best possible villains, the book uses examples from contemporary writing to illustrate the different types of villains, as well as how to avoid cliches and tired tropes, making your villains the stand-out character they deserve to be.
In Sacha’s own words:
13 Steps To Evil has been carefully designed to give writers like you, a detailed guide to creating the most kick-ass villain you can.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In the book you’ll learn all kinds of awesome stuff like,
- How to develop a villain mindset
- The step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
- Why getting to the core of your villain’s personality is essential to make them credible and believable
- What evil pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there’s a comprehensive writing guide to help you create Superbad villains. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and interviewing writers to make sure 13 Steps To Evil is tailored to your exact needs.
Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge. It will also help you master the perfect balance of good and evil as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
You’ll get the same dark humor, you find in my blog posts and newsletters and I use a ton of well-known examples to help explain the steps.
HERE’S A SHORT EXCERPT
Why Writers Fudge Up Their Villains
Villains are like newborn infants. So much glorious potential. Until we writers get our grubby mitts on them and balls it up. With the careless flick of a pen, we can turn a finely sculpted baby villain into a cringe-worthy cliché because we didn’t make him bad enough, or we create something so heinously evil it’s unrealistic.
A villain might be a plot device, but he still needs a purpose and a goal, or he’s unworthy as an opponent for your hero (See STEP 3 for motives and goals).
While researching this book, writers told me all kinds of problems they encountered while creating their villains. From getting the dialogue right and avoiding clichés, to knowing how evil to make a villain, to how to reveal her motives without using blatant exposition.
Behind all these issues lie two basic barriers that are the Achilles in every writer’s villainous heel:
- Depending on the point of view (POV) the book’s written in, the villain is usually seen through the eyes of your hero.
A solitary POV gives you a page-limited amount of time to show your villain’s best, most authentic and devilishly evil side. Page-limited to the point it makes it eye-wateringly difficult to convey her backstory effectively without information dumping. You have to be better, clearer, more tactical and more concise with your words to create superbad villains.
- Writers are hero worshippers.
We love our heroes and protagonists more than our spouses. And as a result, we spend shameful amounts of time honing our protagonist’s muscular heroics into shape. But that relegates our villain (the plot-driving conflict-creator) to the corner of our book, complete with a nobody-loves-you-anyway hat. In other words, writers don’t pay enough attention to their villain.
Intrigued? Want to read more? For one week only, you can pick up 13 Steps for the special price of just £1.99. For more info and links, head over to Sacha’s blog. Happy villainous writing! Muahahaha….
Its my currently reading book on Goodreads!!!
Yes, I’ve started it too – must add it to my Goodreads list! 🙂 It’s great, isn’t it?
Amazing!!! I foresee a change in the way I’ll be writing certain characters!!!
Yes, lots of useful info in there, definitely!
I’ll be reading it tonight!!!
Thanks for sharing this Helen. Having some villain issues myself, so that would be an interesting read! 🙂
It is a good read – lots of useful info and examples. Sorry to hear you’re having villain trouble – those characters can be quite unruly at times, can’t they?
Well, he’s proving to be a tricky chap. He’s done some very bad things (tried to kill a sibling and some pet torturing, which surely marks him as evil) but I don’t feel his presence as particularly threatening. Maybe he needs an unpleasant tick or quirk of behaviour? Was watching an old Sherlock last night and Moriarty was very evil. I need me some of that! Will be great to read Sacha’s guidance. Thanks for the link Helen
Oh, he sounds a nasty chap, Lynn! And you’re very welcome 🙂 I do find my villains, despite their awfulness, do tend to have a very likeable side despite their deeds, so maybe that’s a quirk? I don’t know, to be honest. I do know I’ll be reading Sacha’s book to get some more pointers. Hope you find your way to the heart of your villain x
Thank you Helen 🙂
Reblogged this on Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie.
Thanks so much for sharing xx
So useful…and not just for villains!
Ordered my copy!