Villainous Writing Advice From Chris Pavesic (Unquiet Dead)- Writing Advice From The Pros

Villainous Writing Advice

I like reading advice on writing from other authors. Many times I find really great ideas that help improve my own writing abilities. For example, in On Writing, Stephen King (2001) recommends listening to music to help a writer block out the world and focus on the work at hand. I have multiple dedicated writing playlists for just this purpose. Certain advice, though, does not resonate with me. For example—certain writers suggest modeling villains after people in your own life that you dislike. I would find that difficult advice to implement in my writing.

First—there is the time factor. Writing a novel generally takes time. Even if a writer aims for a thousand words a day of good, solid prose, the writing stretches into months. Imagine this time actively thinking about people you do not like. This would not be an enjoyable activity in my perspective.

As a writer, I want to like my villains. Not everything that they do—many of their activities to me would be morally objectionable. But I need to understand them—to know why they are doing certain activities so that I can put this down on the page. I need to sympathize with their motivations and to realize that, in most instances, the villains do not see themselves as evil. These characters need the same depth as the heroes or, in my opinion, they will never be more than a caricature.

In Witches Abroad, Terry Pratchett (1991, p. 185) has the villain of the story, Lilith, makes the following comparison: “She wondered whether there was such a thing as the opposite of a fairy godmother. Most things had their opposite, after all. If so, she wouldn’t be a bad fairy godmother, because that’s just a good fairy godmother seen from a different viewpoint.” Later in the story, readers learn that Lilith firmly believes she is the good fairy godmother and is not the villain. It’s a matter of perspective, and in her viewpoint, those working against her are evil. She’s trying to improve people’s lives, and those working against her are trying to impede progress.

This is not the only type of villain in literature, but it is the type that I tend to find the most interesting. It is why I can sympathize with Khan in Star Trek (both in Into Darkness and in Space Seed) and Loki in The Avengers while at the same time being morally appalled by many of their actions.

There are obvious exceptions to this—Sauron in The Lord of the Rings trilogy does not generate sympathy for many readers, (although Tolkien does give him a fascinating history in The Silmarillion that explains his fall into darkness) but the Nazguls always had a touch of sympathy to their story for me because they were tricked by Sauron into becoming the Ring Wraiths. The detail and care that Tolkien invests into the story keeps these characters from being caricatures.

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Thank you, Chris, for sharing your writing wisdom with us!

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Easy Summer Dessert Recipe From Author Chris Pavesic

This slightly more sophisticated version of a no-bake cookie is a perfect treat to make this summer. Any cookie I can hold in one hand while I hold a book in the other is already a winner. Add peanut butter and oats and it is on!

Ingredients:

12 pitted dates

1/3 cup old-fashioned oats

1 tablespoon reduced-fat peanut butter

Materials:

Measuring cup

Measuring spoon

Food processor/chopping blade

SpatulaSmall mixing bowl

Waxed paper

Heart-shaped cookie cutter or sharp knife

Directions:

1.  Place the dates in food processor fitted with the chopping blade.  Process until the dates are very finely chopped and stick together.

 2.  With a spatula, transfer to a small mixing bowl.  Add the oats and peanut butter.  Using your hands mix well. 

3.  Divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts. 

Shape each into a ball.  Place one ball between two sheets of waxed paper.  Flatten the ball to a 3″-diameter cookie.  Repeat with each ball. 

Remove waxed paper and cut out a heart using heart-shaped cookie cutter or a knife. 

With remaining cookie dough repeat process of rolling into balls and flattening in between waxed paper. 

Serve immediately or return to waxed paper and store in an airtight plastic container.  Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Makes 4-6 cookies depending on shape of cookie cutter.

Visit Chris Pavesic’s website for many more wonderful recipes and books!

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Apple Pancakes With Guest Author Chris Pavesic (Revelation Chronicles)

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Breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but it doesn’t always feature the most delicious dishes. People are rushed and will grab just about any type of convenience food on their way out the door.
These Apple Pancakes take only a few minutes, are healthy, and I hope you will agree are worth the wait!
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 small McIntosh apples, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • Cinnamon (optional)
  • Vegetable Oil or Butter
  • Honey (optional)
Materials:
  • Measuring cups
  • Medium bowl
  • Spoon
  • Frying Pan or Griddle
  • Spatula
Directions:
1.  Mix flour, milk, and eggs until batter is smooth.  Fold in apples and sprinkle with cinnamon if desired.  To cook–heat a lightly oiled frying pan (or griddle). Place a heaping tablespoon of batter in the frying pan. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
Top with honey if desired.

After you enjoy your breakfast, why not read a good book?

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Chris Pavesic continues the amazing story of Cami Malifux with Book 2 of the Revelation Chronicles.

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Escape from a world of darkness into a magical realm of limitless adventure.

In Starter Zone Cami kept herself and her younger sister Alby alive in a post-apocalyptic world, facing starvation, violence, and death on a daily basis. Caught by the military and forcefully inscribed, Cami manages to scam the system and they enter the Realms, a Virtual Reality world, as privileged Players rather than slaves. They experience a world of safety, plenty, and magical adventure.

In the Traveler’s Zone magic, combat, gear scores, quests, and dungeons are all puzzles to be solved as Cami continues her epic quest to navigate the Realms and build a better life for her family. But an intrusion from her old life threatens everything she has gained and imperils the entire virtual world.

Time to play the game.

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Thank you for making pancakes in our virtual kitchen today, Chris!

Author Chris Pavesic’s (Traveler’s Zone) Classic Minestrone Soup

Minestrone - C.P.

 

Classic Minestrone

 

As the weather starts to turn colder, my family starts looking for more hot soups and stews to fight off the chill.

This traditional soup recipe is both vegetarian and vegan.

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for serving
1 large onion, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 russet potato, peeled and cut into bite size pieces
6 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
1 teaspoon dried savory
1 cup ditalini pasta
1 (15.5 oz can) white beans, rinsed well
2 cups baby spinach or 1 package frozen spinach thawed
Materials:
Measuring cups
Measuring spoons
Knife
Cutting board
Dutch oven/Large stock pot
Large sauce pot for cooking pasta

Directions:
1. The night before put frozen spinach in the fridge to thaw, if using.

2. Heat the oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion, season with 1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until very tender, 8-10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes.

3. Add the carrots, celery, potato, thyme (if using) and 8 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

4. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions.

5. Discard the fresh thyme. Stir the spinach, beans, and savory into the soup and cook until the spinach and beans are heated through, about 3 minutes. Then add pasta and heat for about 3 minutes. Serve with additional olive oil to taste.
Looking for a good book? Check out my review of Starter Zone. 

C.P. Books

Available in print, ebook, and Audible at Amazon.

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Thanks for the time we spent together today and please share your thoughts on this soup in the comments. I’d love to hear what you think.

 

Gina