I am delighted to feature Sacha Black today. For those of you who don’t know Sacha, she is the founder of the Annual Bloggers Bash and Bash Awards. (More about the Bash at the end of this post). Please join me in congratulating Sacha on the release of her first book, 13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains, a step-by-step guide to creating multi-dimensional villains and much more.
Why did you write this book? This book started out as a couple of blog posts. Everything I’ve learnt on my journey to publishing, I’ve blogged. I guess as both a consolidation of my learning and a way to give back and share the lessons and mistakes I’ve made so others don’t have to. When I was studying villains it was no different. I wrote up the things I’d learnt as blog posts and I was fortunate enough they proved popular. But that told me that kind of content was not only wanted but needed too. So the seed was sown for 13 Steps To Evil.
Did you feel there was a gap in the market for this type of book? Absolutely, because of the popularity of the posts, I did some research and discovered that although there were lots of blog posts, there were only a couple of books out there that covered the topic and none were as in depth as I wanted. So absolutely there’s a market.
Does the book shed new light on a common issue? I think so. It comes at villain-creation from a different angle. For a start, it’s based on a myth busting concept. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Most writers have hero-worship syndrome. Blindly concentrating on their hero and creating his or her depth of character and forgetting that a novel isn’t just one character.
So 13 Steps To Evil tries to blow that concept apart by suggesting the villain is actually the most important character in an author’s book. Why? Because a villain is the source of conflict, and without conflict, there is no story and no need for a hero.
Is it a topic that a lot of people can easily relate to? Absolutely. This isn’t a stuffy textbook. I purposely use really well known character examples from books, film and TV because most people will have heard of all, or at least most of the examples. I try to sprinkle a little humor and sarcasm into the book and provide a couple of thought provoking exercises at the end of each chapter.
How will the book help writers? The book is an easy to understand, step by step guide to creating Superbad villains. Each step has bite size chunks of info a summary and a couple of useful questions/exercises. There’s also a free checklist to go with the book, a short course and I’m also opening up a Facebook group for the short course completers where they can discuss their ideas/feedback with each other, and I will be in there monitoring it as well.
It will take writers from the basics all the way up to their ultimate warlord.
Who’s your favorite villain? Can you ask me that? That’s totally not fair! Honestly, I have a penchant for anti-heroes. The first anti-hero I ever fell in love with was Beetlejuice, I secretly wanted to wear his stripy suit. I love Deadpool too, with his ego and outrageous sense of humor, Loki, Patrick Bateman, Dexter, GAH there are so many. If we’re talking pure villain, then one of the best has to be Hannibal Lecter, surely?
Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.
Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.
When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.
Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
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 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
How to develop a villain’s mindset
A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.
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:
1. 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.
2. 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.
Learn more about Sacha: Non-Fiction Website Fiction Website Amazon UK Amazon US Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Tumblr Google+ LinkedIn Goodreads Non-Fiction Goodreads Fiction
Sacha organizes the #AnnualBloggersBash along with Ali Isaac, Geoff LePard, and Hugh Roberts. This year, the Bash will be held on June 10th in London. If you haven’t yet voted for your favorite blogger, you can do so HERE. But hurry, because voting closes on June 2nd at 12 p.m. BST.
Thanks so much for stopping by ❤
Debby Gies had fired up our excitement in anticipation of attending the annual Bloggers Bash in the UK this June. I’m looking forward to meeting all of my wonderful new friends and giving them a hug in person. Hoping to see you there! ️
Oh yes, it’s coming back, The Annual Blogger’s Bash will be held this June 10th in London, England! Are you going? Although I live ‘across the pond’ a fair distance away from here in Toronto, you bet your sweet bippy I’m doing everything in my power to get there!
I must get there! Why? I’m overdue to expand my horizons and step out of my writerly perimeters and go where many of my friends reside behind my computer screen, the friends who often keep me sane.
Writers need hugs too! Blogging friends are the ones who can identify with a writer’s struggles, the friends we can turn to when we need a dose of inspiration, or a smiley face and a heart to remind us they get what we do, what we go through as writers. These are the friends we can bounce ideas off of, rant to about our work, and WordPress and computer woes. And these are the friends who cheer us on for our accomplishments, pick us up when we’re in self-doubt mode, and share our work.
That said, how long do we have to know someone before we could burst from wanting to share a real cup of coffee (or wine?) with our friends, the ones we spend most of our writing days communicating with?
Well, this blogger wants more than just virtual hugs! It’s no different when geographically-crossed lovers build a relationship online and reach that point where they have to meet in person because virtual is no longer enough. There’s just too much to say that our fingers couldn’t possibly type as fast as our mouths can gab when we crave the real-time human interaction. This is why I’m going to meet my long-time close friends for the first time, and make new friends with others I’m not already acquainted with.
It’s time to hug my virtual pals and bring their characters to real life! I’m especially excited to meet my good friends, like my great galpal Sally Cronin
Hoping my dear friend Tina Frisco with the beautiful soul can make it
My sweet as Sherri pie friend Sherri Mathews
My feisty, firecracker of a friend, Sacha Black
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