3 ways to create a relatable bad guy

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Photo Credit: Aaron Burden at Unspash

A Facebook friend posted the question: what makes the perfect villain?

Another friend chimed in with, “The villain thinks they’re right.”

And that’s true. The villain probably should think they’re right. After all, a villain acting with little purpose might seem evil but not terribly believable. So, the responding writer made a good point, and yet the answer missed something.

A perfect villain needs even more complexity. But what qualities generate this complexity? When revising my own work, I realized that the perfect villain needs moral motivation.

Normally we think of the hero as needing motivation, but we understand the…

Three things I learned the hard way

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Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

In January of 2020, I was flying high. I’d finished losing 170 lbs. the month before and I felt more confident than ever. In fact, I felt like I could take on anything.

I meant to channel that confidence, deciding that anyone who can lose 170 lbs. take the world by storm. I would channel that confidence into becoming the successful fiction writer I’d dreamed of being. I was up to the task!

Yes, I started a new project and I even tweaked my process. I was on fire!

And then the pandemic hit.

Oh yeah, Covid-19 hit me like…

Easy to find read alikes for horror fans

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Stephen King. Credit: Pinguino Kolb at Wikimedia Commons

When I was young, I would worry about what I’d do once I’d read every Stephen King book. The notion of re-reading hadn’t yet occurred to me, so I badly wanted to find authors who were like my favorite writer.

You can read listicles and scan Goodreads for answers to this, but that will most likely give you a list of authors somehow in his genre. That’s not the same as being like Stephen King.

To be specific: Anne Rice is not like Stephen King. Neither is Stephanie Meyer, Laurell K. Hamilton or Charlaine Harris. They all write peripherally in…

Ditch Technology and Slang to Write Convincing Teenagers

A young adult reading. Credit Aaron Shephard at Unsplash
A young adult reading. Credit Aaron Shephard at Unsplash
Credit: Aaron Shephard at Unslpash

When I published my first young adult novel, I found myself sitting on children’s and young adult panels at writer’s conferences where a question trend appeared: how do you manage writing accurate technology and slang for believable teen characters?

This question and its variants appeared so frequently I soon worried that those asking had missed the most important aspects of writing a believable younger character. Here we’ll discuss what really matters in writing believable teens and tweens while navigating the pesky specter of technology and slang.

Technology changes but kids don’t


Derek Clendening

Derek Clendening is a writer and artist and unapologetic Bills fan from Southern Ontario. Lover of fine horror movies and books.

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