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May 28th, 2010

11:42 pm: Rant on loyalty
This is partially about loyalty and partially about the characterization of traitors. Because I wanted it to be.

When loyalty is (and isn’t) a virtue )

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December 1st, 2009

08:39 pm: Rant on avoiding a villain monologue
I’m sorry to have been gone so long. Major health issues as well as writer’s block on the rants meant that I had little to post. While I think I’ll be posting more regularly again, I can’t promise it.


This rant brought to you by Magic Bites, an urban fantasy novel that I read recently and liked well enough—with the exception of one major irritant. I bet you can guess right now what it is.

This is a temptation, yes, but there is a difference between feeling it and giving in to it )

Villain monologues irritate me for the same reason that idiot plots do: there’s no reason for them to exist, not when you have so many interesting tricks to avoid them.

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March 24th, 2007

05:10 pm: Non-villain rant
Both [info]digoraccoon and [info]marumae asked for a rant like this. And, after all, there’s no reason that you need to assume a villain in order to have a story. Mainstream fiction and many “classic” novels get away quite handily with having no villain, or only one truly despicable character in a populated world where many other shades of morality exist.

The only thing I do assume for this rant is that your non-villain is a fairly important character, and therefore you’ll be thinking about how his or her activities matter to the story as a whole; obviously, if they appear onstage in only one scene, your concerns in developing them will be different.

Beyond good and evil )

The next rant will probably be on ways to focus and tighten stories.

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January 23rd, 2006

07:50 pm: Rant on killing your villain without a *deus ex machina*
Um, hi.

Yes, I know it’s been a while. I just didn’t feel up to writing these for a few weeks. Stress, mostly.

But here it goes again )

It wasn’t the next one in the poll, but it was the next one I wanted to write. Hopefully I’ll be able to continue with this.

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June 23rd, 2005

07:27 pm: Writing fantasy without villains
So. Just as in fantasy without magic, I believe it’s perfectly possible to achieve books without villains. Why? Because I’ve read them. Those books still have characters who act against each other, for different goals or at cross-purposes, but they lack “Mwa-ha-ha-ha!” villains, or the kind who get conquered by LOVE, or the kind who are completely insane, or the kind who take over the world because it’s sitting outside their door. They’re just characters. (Incidentally, those books often lack identifiable author-favored protagonists as well, or at least don’t turn their heroes into blank slates of shining light).

This is, then, just a list of ways of achieving the completely possible.

Chopping away villainy )

Hmmm. This is at least half a rant on “how to write books without heroes.” But that’s all right, I suppose. If you’re giving up one, you can give up the other that much more easily.

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March 16th, 2005

08:17 pm: Rant on interesting villains
This is different from other rants I’ve done before, which mainly concentrated on avoiding clichés like Dark Lord fortresses, stupid villains who blab everything right before the hero kills them, and so on. This is on actually improving villains and making them interesting (at least, I hope so).

Villains are people too )

Next rant is on nitpicking, from the looks of the poll.

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November 25th, 2004

02:58 pm: Rant on creating non-Dark Lord villains.
For [info]readerravenclaw, a rant on creating villains that aren’t Dark Lords—or aren’t even designated villains, really.

Fantasy doesn’t need capitalized Good and Evil. Really. )

Rant on balancing description, dialogue, and action next.

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