Monday, July 5, 2021

2021 - July through September - Why They Kill List

    This year's posts will deal with "lists" (also known as Cheat Sheets) that help a writer recall necessary elements before writing (or after) that make for a marketable story, a story worth telling and selling. Such Cheat Sheets are the backbone of a producing writer's Project Bible. 



The "Why They Kill" List

Be they hero or villain, Protagonist or Antagonist, have you every thought about why they would kill or why they might loath killing? 

Disregarding them being caught red-handed or cornered with no way out of the predicament they've gotten themselves into, below are some reasons to ill that might help flesh out or better understand your Antagonist or Protagonist. They would kill for:

MONEY 

ENJOYMENT (sadistic or cold-blooded)

REVENGE 

SEX (jealousy)

JEALOUSY OR ENVY (over personal possessions, social or job status, etc.)

PERVERTED ACTS 

DRUGS

CULTISM

TERRORISTS

CHILDREN ARE A BURDEN

INADEQUACY AS A PARENT

HATE

BECAUSE THEY ARE DELUSIONAL, MENTALLY ILL, OR INSANE

BECAUSE THEY ARE ASSASSINS 

BECAUSE THEY ARE ADDICTED TO BLOODLETTING OR HOOKED ON KILLING

It should be noted that men far outnumber women when it comes to the above. And speaking of women killers, did you know that 50% of women shoot their victims while 3% bludgeon, stab, torture, suffocate, neglect, or drown victims? And then there are the 29% of woman who employ a combination of the above.

One last thing, there is little difference between terrorists and hit men (assassins), but there are types— 

The Enforcer who has a cold-blooded mentality

Those where murder is an art to them

Those that are loyal only to the person who pays them

They are vicious psychopaths— having aggressive, perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior

They are sociopaths— having a personality disorder marked by aggressive, antisocial behavior

So, under what circumstances would your Protagonist kill someone?

Under what circumstance would your Antagonist kill someone?

********************

Next posting October 1, 2021 



Thursday, April 1, 2021

2021 - April through June - The Criminal-Villain Qualities List

 

Special Notice: This year, my Writer's Cheat Sheet Blog posts will be updated on the first of every month but quarterly. The next update will be Oct. 1st.

This year's posts deal with "lists" (also known as Cheat Sheets) that help a writer recall necessary elements before writing (or after) that make for a marketable story, a story worth telling and selling. 


The Criminal-Villain Qualities List 

The Antagonist in a story is The Who or The What that opposes or thwarts the Protagonist. In this month's post, we'll be looking at only The Who type of Antagonist.

It goes without saying that the Antagonist needs to be powerful and ruthless enough to succeed in achieving their goal or goals. The Antagonist goal is to stop or defeat the Protagonist at every turn of the plot.

However, The Who Antagonist doesn't need to be truly evil-evil. Yes, people can be horrendously cruel, greedy, exploitive, and egocentric but not all psychopaths or sociopaths are criminals. Even if that Who Antagonist is a person, being, deity, extraterrestrial, etc. somewhere within them is a spec of goodness or kindness.

And of course, there can be one or more Complicating Characters who are a story's antagonists. Complicating Characters are bent on complicating the Protagonist's life and goals. Complicating Characters act individually or they may team up to thwart the Protagonist on several levels, which don't usually include murder but create a great deal of mayhem, frustration, and anxiety for the hero or heroine.

To better understand your story's Antagonist, ask your villain or each complicating character: What is your "malicious intent?" In other words, name their one, dominant, secret, deep-down desire, want, or need—and why that is.

It might help to know if your villain is AN ORGANIZED CRIMINAL who possesses several (but not necessarily all) of these qualities— 

. acts aggressively

. plans the crime or attack in detail

. personalizes the victim

. controls conversation with the victim

. controls the crime scene

. removes weapons from the victim's reach or use

. requires a victim to be submissive and/or restrained 

. leaves very little evidence that can identify them (cleverly disposing of bodies)

Or is your Antagonist THE DISORGANIZED CRIMINAL who possesses several (but not necessarily all) of these qualities— 

. acts spontaneously, emotionally

. targets people they know, or who they think have done them wrong

. depersonalizes the victim, keeps conversation with victim to a minimum (they don't want to be dissuaded from hating or disliking the victim)

. attacks victim with sudden violence

. does not use restraints

. creates or leaves a chaotic crime scene and may leave the corpse at the crime scene

. leaves weapon(s) behind along with a variety of evidence

. may have sex with a corpse

Here's something you might not know— Villains have a VICE. A vice is: 

An evil, degrading, undesirable, or immoral practice or habit 

A serious moral failing

Wicked or evil conduct or habits, may be depraved

Sexual immorality, especially prostitution, rape 

A failing, a slight flaw or an imperfection (scar, tattoo, etc.) that is visible to others

A physical defect or weakness the villain hates himself for having and perceives others are repulsed by it or he is often ridiculed for it

The above lists are possibilities to think about that can help flesh out The Who  Antagonist of your story.

Lastly, I can't be say it enough —  A story resonates best with readers when there is a worthy antagonist, one who comes across as a person, not a puppet.

 *************




Friday, January 1, 2021

2021 - January through March

 
Special Notice: This year, my Writer's Cheat Sheet Blog posts will be updated on the first of every month but quarterly (the next post will be April 1). 

This year's posts will deal with "lists" (also known as Cheat Sheets) that help a writer recall necessary elements before writing (or after) that make for a marketable story, a story worth telling and selling. Such Cheat Sheets are the backbone of a producing writer's Project Bible. 


So, now let's start this new year off with— 


THE QUALITIES OF

 A PROTAGONIST 

(HERO OR HEROINE)


Most romance and fiction heroes (those alpha and beta men) of legendary stories come across as superior to real men in many ways. The same is said for heroines versus real women.

Now, go get a pen and a sheet of paper and recall a book you really enjoyed reading that had memorable characters. As quickly as you can, write down three POSITIVE qualities of the most memorable MALE character in that story. Once done, compare your three to this list of hero-protagonist qualities:

HAS A WOUNDED SPIRIT

HAS A CAUSE /JOB (OR IS BUMMED OUT BY HIS JOB AND NEEDS REJUVENATION)

PEOPLE ARE LOYAL TO HIM

HE IS LOYAL TO HIS FAMILY AND FRIENDS

HE IS RESPECTED AND FEARED

HE IS SMART / INTELLIGENT

HE UNDERMINES THE ROMANTIC LEAD's OR HEROINE'S DEFENSES

HE CARES FOR HIS PEOPLE'S PLIGHT (FAMILY, FRIENDS, COWORKERS)

HE IS TRUSTED AND TRUSTWORTHY

HE IS REALISTIC

HE HAS INNER HONOR, A CODE OF HONOR

HE IS DETERMINED, DECISIVE

HE MAY BE A LONER

Now, list as quickly as you can, three POSITIVE qualities of the most memorable FEMALE character in a favorite story. Once done, compare your three to this list of heroine-protagonist / romantic-lead qualities:

HER INTELLIGENCE MATCHES THE HERO'S

SHE IS SMART / INTELLIGENT

SHE IS CONFIDENT MOST OF THE TIME

SHE IS BOLD, DECISIVE, OFTEN A LEADER-BOSS

SHE IS MADDENING IN SOME WAY

SHE IS DETERMINED

SHE MAY BE STUBBORN

SHE IS INDEPENDENT OR INDEPENDENTLY MINDED (SHE THINKS SHE CAN DO IT HERSELF)

SHE IS NOT OUTWARDLY OR OVERLY EMOTIONAL (MOST OF THE TIME)

SHE IS SENSUAL (NOT NECESSARILY SEXY)

SHE STRIVES TO BE FREE, TO BREAK THE CHAINS THAT BIND HER 

SHE HAS A NEED TO FEEL AND BE SOMEBODY SPECIAL

SHE DOES NOT EASILY TRUST 

Did you notice as you went through all the lists, that these are admirable traits? Well, a Protagonist, be they male or female, must be highly admirable. 

Here's the secret, show the reader their MOST ADMIRABLE TRAIT when they come on stage by announcing to the reader their name (the name they will be known as throughout the story, not necessarily their full name). After all, a story is about SOMEONE, a person, so begin with that very special person on the first line of the first page, or within the first sentence or paragraph or within 500 words of the opening of the story. 

Doing so telegraphs to the reader the story is about "someone special" who is a person worthy of a reader's investment in reading the story.

So, how does your protagonist measure up as "hero or heroine" worthy?

A new year is like a blank book. 
The pen is in your hands. 
It is your chance to write 
a beautiful story for yourself 
in this the New Year of 2021!
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