Memorable Characters and Their Flaws

Every reader has a certain character whose name, when mentioned, elicits a reaction. Those heroes we cheered on, those antagonists we hated with a passion—we know their worlds and their likes and dislikes. We understand and humanize them, and wish we could invite them over for pizza-and-poker night. Or we curse the gods that we … Read more

How to Write Captivating Villains

This article is by Anne Marie Gazzolo. There would be no Lord of the Rings without the title character and the galaxy far, far away would certainly be less dramatic without Darth Sidious. But the most interesting villains are those who are more than just plain evil. Darth Vader in Return of the Jedi is … Read more

5 Ways to Build Stronger Characters

Frodo and Sam

This article is by Anne Marie Gazzolo. It’s possible to build characters who achieve a secondary reality, and become people who live in their own right in our hearts and minds. It jars me every time someone says Frodo Baggins and Sam Gamgee are ‘characters.’ I want to shout, “They are not characters! They are … Read more

Writing a Great Villain


When it comes to villains, we’ve seen the clichés.  Dark lords.  Psychopaths.  Petty super villains who kill their own henchmen. We’ve also heard the advice.  Villains need personal goals.  Villains need depth.  Villains need to be the heroes of their own stories. In my experience, conversations about villains get overshadowed by the question of whether … Read more

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