Books and Affiliated, From Writing to Publishing, Writing Prompts

We’re Here!


I’ve bounced around an idea of starting a series of blogs titled “We’re Here!” – the search for characters and what makes a character-driven story.

Today, I thought we’d focus on villains. What makes a villain and what makes a good villain so bad.

In our very first post for “We’re Here!” we’ll explore villains from multiple angles and discover the antagonists all around us.

PS LOVE the new additions to the WordPress app. šŸ˜€

Bad to the Core

There are, of course, people in the world who are simply bad. They seek only to please themselves. They run after pleasures of the flesh and the physical, always chasing that which they believe will make them feel happy and fulfilled.

You can use this in a story. You can have a villain who is simply selfish, and every reader will understand their motive and cringe at the injustice of it all.

There are other levels to selfishness too. Some people have a specific skill set, such as gambling, swindling, lying, stealing, and they take pride in those skills. Give your villain a defining skill, something to make him realistic in your reader’s mind.

Bad by Default

Wouldn’t you agree some people just strike on bad luck? They were born in the wrong place at the wrong time. This can be discouraging for the human soul, which strives to believe everything it does is for good.

Now this villain needs a place to belong. They’ve given up on life and got caught up in whatever racket has been chasing them down. It could be a gang. Maybe they’re a follower for an evil ruler. Maybe they’re simply so hurt, all they care about is hurting others. Hurting people hurt people.

So give your villain a strong emotional connection on the negative side. Make them angry or bitter, resentful, unfulfilled. But try to strike for something specific – their father left them/beat them/etc. Their only friends were the neighborhood gang who treated them terrible but promised them a place to belong. Be creative, but try to stem from real-world examples if you can. Maybe they were kidnapped, human-trafficked, or simply raised by plain old mean people.

Usually these villains can have a great redemption moment. Play with that. Maybe in your story, you want to save people, not simply create an environment for your hero to be heroic. We all love stories of forgiveness.

Bad for the Sake of Good

This is a tough one. There are people in the world who believe what they do is for the good of humanity. Conquers of old were good examples of this. In those days, it was conquer or be conquered. So as ruler, you sent out to battle local countries to display your power. This in turn kept your own people safe, because no one dared challenge you.

This villain believes they are good. They are completely justified in their mind. One could almost write the story from their point of view and make them the hero!

One of the best ways to write this villain is to make them so believable even the hero begins to falter. Make your readers question everything they thought they knew about right and wrong. This is a powerful villain, because if the readers believe for even a second that their hero could fail, you’ve added the perfect element to any story – RISK.

A good way to find villains is to look at people, politicians, religious leaders, and anyone you don’t like. Dig into questions of why you don’t like them. Do they challenge your way of life? Do they cause you personal harm? Are they resisting your cause for good and well-being?

Now hop the fence and study your personal antagonists. Read up about them and their values. Discover why they do what they do. Why they believe what they believe. In doing that, you’ve just researched material for a great villain.

Now go write about them.

This has been,

Fan T. C.

in “We’re Here! – Villains”

Books and Affiliated, Le Shorts

Something to Share

I’m going to share my fairy poetry with you.

They shared it with me, and I don’t feel it’s right to keep it to myself.

Who gave it to me, you ask.

The fairies, of course.

* * *

“Deep in the hollow
Of an ancient wood
Mystical lanterns
At one time stood.”

* * *

“This road you’re on
Does it ever end?
These twists and turns
Each hidden bend
What made you walk
The path you took?
Was it fairy love
Or love forsook?

* * *

“The fairy glade is where you’re at
Where dreams are made in a great big vat,
And in this land you’ll never find
A grain of sand left out of time.”

* * *

“Don’t you wake by bird’s light song?
But all is dead in winter’s frost.
Can life begin at journeys end?
Or is snow the mark that all is lost?”

* * *

“Hush of night
‘Neath a violet sky
Moonlit waves
Have sung goodbye.”

* * *

On the isle of wonder
Where enchantment reigns
Where walls fall asunder
And set free their chains
Give worry to the sea
And stress to the winds
For on the isle on wonder
Your adventure begins.”

* * *

The passage of time
A mysterious thing
When you hear the bells chime
Then you must leave the ring.
Be warned.”

Mind & Body, Raw

Love is a Choice; Love Matters

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There’s a reason we say “I love you” even when we’re angry. Just because we are experiencing intense, unpleasant emotions toward someone or a circumstance incurred by them, does not mean we don’t continue loving the people in our lives.

Love is important.

Love matters.

Anger is a natural reaction that occurs when we believe a person, object (yes, object. I get angry and punch objects all the time,) or event upsets our personal order or does us some injustice. Anger is natural. It is also dangerous. In our anger, we might do or say something brash. We lash out, pick fights, get defensive, or even go so far as allow ourselves to hate the offender.

That is why we choose to continue loving the people in our lives. That’s why when your spouse or significant other is being dumb, it’s important to say – out loud – “I love you.”

Even when you don’t feel it…

You’re letting them, and yourself, know it’s going to be okay. You remind them, and yourself, what’s really important. You speak a conviction and uphold a promise you made to them, and yourself. 

I love you.

And I always will.

Even when I don’t feel like it.

Because you’re worth the choice.”

Because you matter. 

And I love you.

*Usual disclaimers apply. Seek help in the event of unlawful abuse, mental or physical, or detriment of health is incurred on your person as an act of violence or malicious intent by someone else.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

Books and Affiliated, From Writing to Publishing

New Year; New Novel

(C) FanTCBooks; All rights reserved

Me: I can totally finish editing this book by tonight!

*Glances down at page bar. Pages read out of total page count – 53/147.*

Also me: I’m never going to finish…







Editing is when a writer becomes inundated with her own work. The read-through, rereading, excessive reading, looking-up/looking-back/looking-through, not to mention shipping it off to an editor who will instruct you to go through his edits carefully, after which you really should follow up with a polish read, then send off to a beta reader (or two or three – not all at once, mind you. You really should only send to one beta at a time in order to keep all edits concise.) Once they’re through, you’ll find yourself going over their edits, which means more reading.

Does it ever end?

This part can be discouraging for writers. It’s a well-known truth that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing. You might find yourself getting bored with your own work. Certain scenes may sound useless and trivial. The ending might feel muddled, confusing, or just plain bad. It’s tempting to give up sometimes. But sometimes, this is where the rubber meets the road and you’re faced with the awe-inspiring realization that you have created something spectacular.

This is the moment every writer lives for. Acknowledgment for oneself that the work is indeed good. You might think the “moment every writer lives for” is when readers first get their hands on a copy of the book, but I say that’s an inaccurate statement. In order to believe what others might say about us, we must first believe it for ourselves.

A hundred people can call you pretty/handsome, but until you look in the mirror and believe it for yourself, those compliments fall on deaf ears.

Your parents may call you brave and stalwart, but until you face down your own fears and see the hero within, you will simply think “they’re beingĀ nice.”

A teacher might say that you’re intelligent, creative, but until you review the work of your hands and see the product for what it is – intelligent, creative – you will say, “They’re just trying to be encouraging. They don’t believe it.”

See? If you don’t believe in yourself, you won’t believe in others either.

Because this book I’m working on is the sequel in a two-part series, I reread the first book to refresh my memory on the characters and working of the plot. It has been perhaps two years since I published the first book, so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I had forgotten. It took me three days to read it.

Maybe that’s a small book. Or maybe I simply couldn’t put it down.

Arrogant? I think not. There’s nothing wrong with getting excited about your own work. If you don’t, no one else will. There’s a difference between bragging excessively and wanting to share something you are passionate about.

Forgetting and rereading the first book cemented in my mind that, yes, I had created something spectacular. You see, after publication, I revert to this overwhelming phobia that my work wasn’t polished up to par, or that I didn’t describe the world well. Sometimes I fret that the characters aren’t true to themselves, or that readers will discover all my plot holes. I become paranoid. My work isn’t good. My writing is terrible. Now everyone will see it.

(Admittedly IĀ wouldĀ like to polish up the first book more, just because I’ve learned so much about editing in the past two years, and I would like to fix the esthetic appeal of the read.)

In my rediscovery, I found the story flowedĀ exceedingly well. I was impressed with my own characters. I cheered for their growth and successes. My heart began to pound everytime they encountered danger, and the horror of the cliffhanger left my palms sweaty and my hands shaking.

This was everything I dreamed it would be.

Now I’m 53 pages into the second installment. I have been meticulously editing, molding, reshaping the words so that they are their clearest, so that they speak their best, describe their best, and read their easiest. I have been merciless, cutting out anything that detracts from the story. And the most surprising realization is that there is no pain in editing.

People like to say that editing feels like your heart being torn out, but I’ve never experienced that – thank the Maker. My purpose in writing is to tell a story and introduce these characters – these delightful little people I’ve imagined – to the world. I want them to look their best, so I wipe off their smudges, scrub the dirt off them, polish and shine them, and proudly look on as they make their way across the stage.

Editing should not beĀ allĀ painful.

Editing should be the proudest moments of your project. When you can honestly look down at the work and say, “Yeah. This is really good. And it can be better.”

I want to encourage you – whatever you’re working on – that this can be an exciting and rewarding time. If you enter the editing mode with grudging and fear, you will experience grudging and fear. But if you enter with positivity, excitement, and hope, then you will experienceĀ those feelings instead.

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin

Le Shorts

The Squid from Quid

The Squid from Quid
A short story poem

Once upon a time
in the land of Quid,
there came a strange
and peculiar squid.

He had no ink
or cloud to spread.
Truth be told,
he'd rather be dead.

Because all his peers
they teased him bad.
He had no friends,
which made him sad.

And so one day
when he was down,
he explored on his own
and got out of town.

Deep in the ocean
away from his home,
he had time to think
and be on his own.

He saw all the coral
and moved through the weeds.
He saw all the many
variety of reeds.

It made him think
since no plant was the same,
that maybe his peers
were really quite lame.

To think that all squids -
the young and the old -
should all be the same,
not to shy, not to bold.

He thought he was broke
all his life he felt so.
But now he felt changed
and now he felt whole.

The next time squids laughed
or called him mean names,
he reminded himself
he was not to blame.

Each squid has a purpose
though some may not see it,
and maybe one day
he would grow up to be it.

The end