The Art of Seduction; THE FEMME FATALE

Having an array of characters makes each story unique and fun. Today, I want to dive into a foxy lady we all love to hate, the one who almost always gets her way: the femme fatale.

Before we dive into the deadly one, we first have to talk about where she stems from: a seductress. Describing a seductress is one thing because beauty is subjective. As the saying goes, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” So, how can you make your lovely lady appealing to the masses outside of her looks? It’s the obvious!

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Make her free-spirited. This is important to her. She is care-free, curious about the world around her and open to those people surrounding her. This is what keeps her interesting. She comes off naive. Those who grow to be fond of her only want to show her the “right way.” This lady will always have some form of charm she uses to get people looking her way, or looking twice. This is a must. Ask yourself: does she have any intention with her ways? This is a great time to sit back and map out what made her this way and to make the plan of what you are going to do with her in your story.


One thing is for sure; she will want to be in the spotlight. Maybe not celebrity-status, but you can certainly do that if you want. Ultimately, she wants to be the center of attention – she wants everyone to turn their head when she enters a room. If she isn’t, she will certainly make it known she has entered the building. By the end of the scene, everyone will be quiet and staring and if they aren’t, there will be consequences. But, we are dipping into other territory there. The seductress isn’t harming anyone else in any way; she is simply hoping for something or someone to come into her life. So, once again we ask: what is her intention? What is her purpose?

The art of seduction comes with, in some way, the purpose of love. Or lack thereof. She could easily find it with her looks and charisma but your seductress is living a life, going 100 miles per hour for the sole purpose of finding The One. The catch is…even if she finds a suitable mate, that person would never be enough. And she will start all over again. Stability is not in her name; not just in love, but in life. Sometimes, it’s not about the person. It’s about the journey and, once again, the art of seduction.


When people think of seduction, the first thing that comes to mind is sex. Don’t get too caught up in the seductress’ sexual habits or even her sexuality itself. It isn’t the point of her character, it’s a part of her. She is more than who she does and does not allow in the bedroom. It shouldn’t be highlighted how many she’s allowed into her open arms; it should be brought to the readers’ attention why she does so. She doesn’t see anything wrong with her sexual appetite so neither should you. And sometimes, her sexuality has nothing to do with the storyline so cut it out of the picture.

If her sexual nature is a part of the storyline or a part of her character, her relationships and friendships with other heterosexual women could be strained. The seductress finds it hard to have platonic male friends, so she strives to have female companionship. However, this could be tough for her. She may not be able to secure these friendships because of her nature with men, and potential partners for those in which she wishes to surround herself with. The threat is there for those other women and they may try to cast her out. Though, this may not be the case for all and she could find a few who will understand her and try to nurture her. She will not get along with those similar to her in the way of seduction…mainly because they’re after the same thing in the same manner. Posing another threat.


Now, let’s get down to the point as to why you’re here: the femme fatale. The seductress is a great starting point for this character, but you will need to take this a step further. She is not only a seductress, but more so a seductress bathed in darkness. She is a user, potentially a black widow; she is out for blood and uses her charm and her looks to her advantage. She utilizes the “good” parts of the naive and carefree seductress and twists into a game that could end badly. Her backstory should be tragic, giving reason for her way of being and why she wants to end the trapped fly.

Literature holds some of the greatest and slyest women in the femme fatale archetype. Norma Bates from Psycho, Amy Dunne from Gone Girl, Gloria Denton from Queenpin, and Celaena Sardothien from Throne of Glass are all great examples of this particular archetype.

Do you have any characters who come to mind who fall into this category? We would love to hear!

Jokes On You; The Trickster

Lucky day for you! Today we are going to dive into trickery and deception to write my favorite fluid character archetype: the trickster.

Now, this can be on of the protagonist’s friends or one of the antagonist’s henchmen. Or, plot twist, they don’t have any firm association with either and bounce around from faction to faction. Most tricksters are written into a narrative simply for the fun of it. Typically, an experiment for a writer, which is why you’re here…no?

One thing you’ll need to draft out for your mighty jokester to be effective is: their goal. Or goals, if you’re feeling crazy. This character is going to have the most obscure goal, no one is going to know it other than your reader (maybe). No one in their immediate life should know what they’re after. It’s for them…and them alone.

Let’s talk about what the essentials are to writing the ideal trickster. They have tropes, as any character archetype does!

  1. Obfuscating Stupidity/Insanity

    Here’s the thing about the tricky one: they are trying to manipulate someone in order to achieve their goal. In order to do so, they are going to make it seem as though they are incapable of doing anything. By doing so, they will be able to act more freely and move towards what they are aiming for. Appearing dumb and out of their minds to their “allies” is probably the smartest way to manipulate them into thinking they won’t have to worry about them as much as they may other, more useful allies.

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  1. Being a Pro at Analyzation

    This particular character needs to know who their working with. What I mean is, they need to be able to analyze their ‘victim’ efficiently and know how to take advantage of them. The best way to take down the ‘enemy’ is by taking note of their weaknesses. Once they have access to that, they will be able to relentlessly use it against their target. They don’t have any care in the world about the person’s feelings…they care about getting what they want!
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  1. A Master of Disguise

    What happens If your character is in the game of deception for a long time? Those people around them start to see right through them. Being a master of disguise goes beyond physical appearance. Will the trickster be able to deceive their way into a group of individuals? Can they be able to both look and act the part? Being able to hide themselves is important. Staying hidden can make for a very fun and interesting reveal once the trickster meets their goal!
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  1. Lie is a Lie

    Being obscure is fun and all, and practically the whole point of this character. However, you want your reader to know something is fishy with this character. It can be a bit confusing if the trickster comes out from left field with an “A-ha!” moment. You want those subtle hints in actions and dialogue so your reader can look back and say, ”Oh, it was right in front of me this whole time!” Or take note of something being strange about this particular character. Keep this in mind: a lie is a lie. Let your reader catch this character in a lie, or doing a shady act…but use their charisma and cunning tongue to hide the truth. Your reader will be impressed.
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These are the basics behind the tricksters. Some prime examples from literature are Tom Sawyer, Skeeter (from The Help), Matilda, The Cheshire Cat (from Alice in Wonderland), Tyrion Lannister (from the Game of Thrones series.) The list goes on!

Do you have any trickster in mind that has done a great job with manipulating those around them? Let us know!

Know Your Characters!

I was recently watching Best Wishes, Warmest Regards: A Schitts Creek Farewell on Netflix, and I strongly recommend it to any fans out there, but they made a lot of really great points in terms of character development. 

No one knows better than authors and writers how important a good backstory is. And for a show like Schitts Creek, from the first episode until the last, you are still learning new things about the characters and I think that is what made it so addicting and real. In the documentary they discuss how they worked on the backstory for weeks before they started filming because they didn’t want to move on until they knew exactly who these characters really were.

As writers and authors I encourage you to do that with your work. List out your characters attributes and their individual backstories to fully understand who they are, perhaps before you even start writing. As readers we want to consume an emotional investment on the characters, and in order to do that we need more than x, y, and z! We need to fill in the cracks!

Think about it as if you were casting your own show for your book. How would the character portray themselves in a room, what would they wear, and how would they talk? All of these things play such an important role in a reader’s mind. 

And as always have fun in creating them! They are a piece of your own imagination afterall!

Happy Writing!

Writing The Anti-Hero

The Anti-Hero
We are living in a time where escaping the confines of our home is what we want to do more than anything. Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, etc. can only provide so much entertainment. The plots become predictable, the characters lose their shine…yada, yada. You know the drill. My favorite stories, both on the screen and between the pages, are the ones following the “most loved”
character wrestle their moral high ground, and ultimately fail. These characters feel real. I feel like I know them, have met them in my day-to-day life. Truth is: I probably have and so have you. Instead of listing off characters you can base your own character off of, how about we talk about making your character unique to you?

  1. BACKSTORY IS VITAL
    Backstory to characters who strive for the ultimate good makes sense. But what about the characters who are angry? Or who are evil? Do not forget one of the more important things in writing: evil can be created. Explore that. Whatever was done to this character can introduce so
    many more things about them, such as personality traits, nervous ticks, complex behaviors, and beliefs. Your reader doesn’t need to know this information right away, too. Write it out on a new document on your computer and in your notebook before you begin your tale. Uncovering
    the backstory as the story progresses is the best part about the antihero.

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  1. ANGRY OR NOT; THE OUTCOME OF THEIR ACTIONS ARE…
    Good! For them, at least. It’s a satisfaction for them to do the things they do, because they feel it’s right. They may hurt some people along the way, mentally or physically, but they have a goal in mind. This character could be ruthless. This is what sets them apart from your regular hero. It’s also what sets them apart from being a total villain. They don’t want good for everyone, they want good for them. Which, once their background seeps into the story, sympathy will be created for them by the reader (if they have heart, that is.)

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  1. REDEEMING QUALITIES BUILD SYMPATHY
    Okay, so what if the character in question likes to kill people. Simply because they like to do that doesn’t mean they don’t have a soft spot for Grandma or Grandpa who raised them through their chaotic upbringing. They’ll always make it home for dinner every night, so they don’t upset
    them. See that? That’s a redeeming quality. Piling up the negative can be emotionally exhausting. Not everyone is as terrible as that. I can think of a few, but we won’t go there. Overall, if the character has a laundry list of negative qualities and zero good ones and they still win in the end, that’s going to be one upsetting story and you’re going to have a laundry list of
    unhappy readers. Give them traits to make them likable. You’ll have your readers’ hearts in your hands.
  1. YOUR ANTIHERO IS HUMAN (OR CLOSE TO IT)
    Point is, we are flawed. You and me. Your antihero should be too. Lean towards realism. They have their own moral code, their own inner conflict, and they will always face difficult decisions to meet their end goal. Don’t we all? That’s what makes us each unique in our own personal journey so why not give that to your antihero as well. We aren’t all terrible…right?

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So, get to it! We’re done here. Nothing more, nothing less. Antiheroes are far more fun than regular heroes. It’s nice to see a good two-shoes every once in awhile, but I like characters who commit heinous acts (to a certain degree!) and have purpose to their wrongdoings. Who are some of your favorite antiheroes in the literary world? My all-time favorite will always be Dexter Morgan. Not because of Michael C. Hall’s adaptation (although, major plus, albeit), but because of Jeff Lindsay’s creation of him. A serial killer with conscience? Absolutely brilliant.

Happy Writing!

Mickey Mouse Monday!

Today the most popular mouse in the world celebrates his birthday along with millions of others! He made his way onto the screens spreading smiles and laughter for years to come. 

This made me think of how impactful we can be, and how our talents and creativity can spark a whole new world. Walt Disney, the creator of Mickey Mouse and many more characters that we cherish, all started by simply doing what he loved. He has bottled happiness and spread it worldwide, and it all started with a mouse. 

Let Mickey Mouse be a remembrance that we all have to start somewhere. Develop your strengths and work them toward a goal. We are still drawn to this mouse after 91 years because of what he reminds us of and all the feelings that go along with it. 

Find your Mickey Mouse!

Carve into Literature

You can always add a little book inspiration with whatever you do! Including Halloween! Pumpkin carving has always been a must do fall activity in my house and each year we like to spice it up with a creative theme of some sort. This year…book inspired jack o lanterns!

How fun will it be for you to share your favorite stories with others as your pumpkin lights up the night? 

Here are a few of my inspirations taken from a couple of my favorite stories throughout my childhood:

Don’t be afraid to be creative! Come up with your own inspiration through your favorite book or character.

 Feel free to comment your ideas below!

Happy Spooktober!

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Blushing Language

We all know the writing motto: show, don’t tell.

But don’t we all get overwhelmed when we think we need to show everything? Are there certain categories of showing emotion or a character’s feeling towards something versus telling? Well, you can answer those questions because we’re going to share a quoted post. The original author is MIA but we do want you all to know – it wasn’t our idea. We’re simply adding a bit of input!

How to write ‘they blushed’ without writing ‘they blushed’:

  • They took a step backwards.
  • They shifted their weight from one side to the other.
  • They hid their face in their hands.
  • They shifted their glance to something else in the room, all around the room for that matter.
  • Their eyes widened.
  • They crossed their arms.
  • They leaned into themselves.
  • They scratched the back of their head.
  • Utilize hand motions. When people are nervous or embarrassed, they tend to use their hands to declare their frustration.
  • Quirks! Each character should have their own quirks even before you begin writing. It’s their go-to and displays some of their negative traits sometimes.

 

Foot Traps

caltrops.jpgCaltrops

 

  • This was a weapon used to maim or kill infantry, and/or others not shielded with armor. Caltrops specifically had two or more sharp nails. In the past, caltrops were used against foot troops and cavalry. Today, caltrops are used against wheeled vehicles. We’ve all watched high speed chases!
  • The name of this device if from Latin. The original meaning is “foot-trap.”
  • Caltrops have been used in heraldry. Mainly as charges in the shields!

Top Tier Polearm

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Glaive

  • It is a European polearm. It’s decorated with a single-edged blade at one end of the pole. The blade is similar to that of an axe head – not a straight blade or as curved as cutlasses or swords.
  • Some of the blades were crafted with a small hook somewhere on the blade-end of the pole. Sometimes on the opposite end of the blade. This was used to catch riders. (This is a running theme in our weapons of choice!)
  • The glaive was a highly rated weapon in the polearm class/other hand-to-hand combat weapons of the time. This rating occurred in 1599.

All Aboard!

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Italian Boarding Sword

  • The Italian boarding sword was a tool used by sailors or pirates. When ships collided and one crew needed to get aboard another vessel, this sword was used to cut rope with ease or hack closed doors.
  • Although considered a tool, it was also used as a weapon. It could pierce a victim and the fighting style is very similar to fencing (except with a shorter blade.)
  • We are accustomed to seeing sailors and pirates with curved blades (cutlasses for example) but this particular sword has a straight blade.
  • It is also called a Genoese boarding sword because of a captain who hailed from the Republic of Genoa.