Antagonizing Antagonists

Purpose. Almost every antagonist has a purpose.

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Are they trying the “take over the world” tactic? What got them to this point? Evil isn’t born from the black; it’s molded and crafted by life’s doing. If you’re writing a classic villain – give them the unique back story to give them epic purpose.

If your story is that of the everyday, then where is the bad guy? Are they standing right next to the main character? Are they in the cubicle next door? Are they after the same goal as the protagonist? The opposition is what gives the antagonist in this scenario purpose.

Here’s another one: your character is going against the government, or any large institution, “1984”-style. Why did this entity grow to be the way it is Why is the protagonist going against it? There shouldn’t be a “pure evil” motive because that means there’s someone behind the whole thing. It starts to blend in with other potential antagonist. Don’t confuse yourself! But there’s always…you guessed it…purpose behind the institution.

A new favorite and trend we see in writing is the internal antagonist. This mostly revolves around characteristics of the character and being held back by these traits. For the first time throughout this piece, purpose is stripped from the “antagonist” and comes to fruition out of some event or comes to light. These become more realistic because it may be an accurate portrayal of life itself.

So…take to the books and get writing your perfect, purposeful antagonist. Alright, we’re done using the ‘p’ word.

Jumping Through Time

A story can include one of two things: flashbacks or skipping to the future. We don’t think recommending the two is a great idea but if executed cohesively…sure! Why not! Let’s discuss.

Sometimes, writing flashbacks can help a story flesh itself out. Readers understand the plot better, the character better, ANYTHING! But what happens when a flashback becomes more than a flash back? Meaning, what happens when a brief moment takes up a whole chapter? Is that acceptable? There isn’t any reason why it shouldn’t be acceptable – other than not being written properly. Make sure flashbacks are quick and easy. They’re meant to be memories triggered by people or items or occurrences surrounding the character or plot. Here’s an idea: it doesn’t necessarily have to be written in the perspective where the character is brought back to a moment in time…but rather, induces a feeling, an image flashed in the character’s thoughts. Something like that.

Skipping ahead in time is also a way to get the story moving along. Readers don’t need all filler details and a story doesn’t deserve that either! A few months can pass in the story in a matter of words, as long as the reader is caught up with the characters and ongoings in their world, what else is needed? Questions should never be left unanswered, too. If they are, there better be good reason for it. Did something happen prior to the time hop that wasn’t resolved during the time not mentioned? Well, it better come full circle because then the reader will not be happy (they’ll scream, “PLOT HOLE, PLOT HOLE!” and write a whole review about how the plot hole ruined the story for them.)

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So, now that we’ve lectured about time and the relationship it has with your story – let’s build a time machine and have some fun!

(Almost) Ending the Year On Some Trendy Business

We know, we know…it’s not our last post of the year, but it’s close to it! We figured it would be good for anyone looking into getting published to get the heads up: the results are in, publishing trends are here.

Before we get started though, we want to direct you to the source in which the general info comes from. Opinions and advice are ours! But check out this blog/publishing service.

Let’s get right into it!

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  1. First and foremost, is the decline in reading going to push writers away from publishing their work?

    We vote a big fat NO. Reason being, we see the decline in reading as a way to push writers to treat their work with care (and to get into e-Pubbing, but we’ll discuss in a second.) Getting all the pre-publication shenanigans out of the way is something so many people don’t truly pay attention to – so maybe, it’s time we give our precious work some TLC and hire a few people to take a look at what we’ve got.

  2. Print books remain #1. What does this mean for you?

    While everyone (or maybe it was just me) believes that eBooks are the only way to read now, we come here to confirm: this is not true. Print books remain the champion of reading (even if less people do the act of reading.) Now, before you comment and say, “getting my book printed will cost so much money” or “I can’t seal the deal with PRH or Tor or any of those big publishers!” Don’t forget about print-on-demand: the most efficient way for a self-published author to get their book in physical format! So you can still make your way into the print market without a major publishing deal (sorry, big guys.)

  3. Audiobooks are still on the rise!

    We love audiobooks here at HRM. We talk about them enough to say we’re not surprised they’ll continue to rise come the new year.
  4. We’ve talked about it once, we’ll talk about it again: hybrid/collaborative publishing is important and will continue to rise in popularity in 2019. Why should it be important to you?

    Hybrid publishing and collaborative publishing are important mediums to self-published authors (or writers looking into self-publishing.) We want the quality of a major publisher (you know, the big tough editors and the fantastic printing jobs) but since deals from them are far and few between, we need an alternative. An alternative where we have creative flexibility and control over the work in question. These mediums are just that. They provide the quality care to your work as well as giving you the power over it – with consideration, of course. Major publishing houses ensure a bigger paycheck, but why not get your foot in the door to start?

  5. Marketing is your best friend.

    We talk about marketing a lot on this blog. It’s an important part of being a writer/author who wants exposure. If you’re interested in keeping up with a variety of marketing tactics, just use the search bar for this blog and we guarantee you’ll come across something.

 

Happy Holidays, everybody!

A Blob

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Nuppeppō Japan

“Passive, genderless blob one can eat to gain eternal youth.”

Basic Facts:

  • This yōkai has a pungent body odor because it’s supposedly made up of corpses. I knew there was a catch…Makes it that much harder to eat.
  • While other spirits have some form of origin tale…the nuppeppō doesn’t. Even though it’s been around since the 18th century.
  • You’ll most likely find this blob in deserted streets, abandoned temples, and…you guessed it…graveyards.
  • They are entirely harmless!
  • Although the blob is just that…a blob…the nuppeppō has folds all over it. Which makes it look like it has eyes, a nose, a mouth, arms and legs.

All Umbrellas Mean Bad Luck

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Kasa-obake | Japan

“Animated umbrellas that jump around on one leg.”

Basic Facts:

  • Here we have another yōkai (like the ittan-momen and bake-kujira.) This can sometimes be thrown under the same name as the ittan-momen: a tsukumogami, but not all consider it to be that.
  • Other names include: karakasa-obake, kase-bake, and karakasa kozō.
  • If you couldn’t tell by the art above, the kasa-obake have a very distinct appearance. It’s usually an umbrella with one eye, hopping around on one leg. In some rare cases, they’ll have two legs but it’s highly unlikely to find. Every once in awhile, it’ll have two arms and sometimes be described to have a long tongue.
  • Initially, the kasa-obake was simply a humanoid spirit with an umbrella on its head…but as time went on the human became an umbrella. This is why people believe it to be a tsukumogami.
  • This is the most well-known yōkai (that is an object) and has been incorprated into card games, haunted houses, anime (Japanese animated shows), manga (Japanese comic books/graphic novels), and movies.

Save or Delete?

Have you ever sat down to work on your writing project and thought, I’m not into this like I was three months ago? And how you want to dedicate your time to a work-in-progress that you actually care about? Or do you feel as though you’re working on a project and it feels forced? Are you asking yourself: should I save or delete?

Here’s what we have to say: don’t abandon a project simply because you’re not passionate about it. Some writers burn themselves out trying to write what they think needs to be done. Other times, it’s a lack of inspiration. What should you do if this happens to you?

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Our favorite suggestion is take a nap. All jokes aside, rest your brain and focus on other activities you like. Napping could be one of those things. Don’t question if you want to save or delete a project. If you’re ever leaning towards the delete option, we recommend still saving the work someplace where you can’t visually see it. Mainly because if you stumble across it later on, you may spark new interest and inspiration.

Bottom line is: give yourself a break. Stop thinking too much into it. Save it. Don’t delete.

Real Endings Need Love Too!

real boy.gifWe’re not saying there are fake endings floating around in the writing world but what we are trying to say is realism is a wonderful way to end a book. Seriously! To remind your reader their head shouldn’t be in the clouds will have them feeling a lot.

Take a moment to think about a not-so-happy ending you read and stuck with you. There’s a reason why you remember it…it’s memorable due to being different than all the rest. We also want to mention: these endings don’t have to be sad, necessarily. Just real.

Sometimes people like the chaos and fire-burning-everywhere ending to a book they’re invested in. Or the cookie-cutter romantic, hero saves everyone at the end of the day. It’s about preference.

Or shock value.

You choose.

The Least Expected Myth

This week’s mythological monster is a day late but well worth it! This week’s highlight was one for the books and a new one even I hadn’t heard of.

Keep reading if you want to hear about a bolt of cotton that will smother you to death if given the chance.


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Ittan-momenJapan

“Sentient roll of cotton that flies through the night and suffocates people.”

Basic Facts:

  • In Japanese mythology, the ittan-momen is a Yōkai, more specifically a Tsukumogami. A yōkai is a supernatural spirit in folklore while a tsukumogami is a tool that has been possessed by a supernatural spirit. Haunted items…spooooooky.
  • These spirits are more likely to be found in Kagoshima.
  • The type off cotton possessed is also what can be used to make clothes. Check your labels!
  • “Ittan-momen” literally translates to “one bolt of cotton” or “one tan of cotton.” It gives the idea of what the measurements are of the item (28.8 cm by 10 m).
  • Believe it or not…the ittan-momen has been adapted plenty in Japanese modern culture. Shows (anime, primarily) and monuments have been made in appreciation.

A Visual Tale

Originating in Japan, the visual novel has made quite the impact on interactive reading for tweens, teenagers, and new adults.

A platform designed for artists and storytellers, visual novels take reading to a new level. Some stories revolve around custom characters, while others don’t. The storylines vary but the biggest genre here is romance.

By teaming up with graphic designers or digital artists, authors can create a version of their story which would appeal to those who like visuals accompanying their story or travel down the similar route as Harry Potter. (We’re talking about the game released where you become the witch or wizard, in case you missed it!) Building the world for your readers first and building a fanbase, may make transitioning to visual novels much easier. They don’t all have to be romance stories; they’re just the easiest genre to get into!

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Overlapping Myths and Traditions

This is the first of our mythological creatures from East Asia and can we just say: we are so excited to share these!

For this week, we’re looking at the traditional Chinese dragon, also known as the East Asian Dragon. This creature is widely known within and beyond Asian history, used as symbols of great strength and honor. But let’s jump right in and see what we could possibly teach you!


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Chinese DragonChina

“Long, serpentine creature with elemental powers.”

Basic Facts:

  • Don’t be fooled! The serpent-like animal is the more commonly known dragons. They’re also described as turtles and fish.
  • The dragon usually has powers to control water, rainfall, typhoons, and floods (do you see the common trait of strength behind this all?)
  • Scholar Wang Fu of the Han dynasty recorded myths about long dragons having distinct features. It’s an interesting Google search!
  • Depictions of the East Asian dragon sometimes feature a flaming pearl. It’s symbolic of spiritual energy, wisdom, prosperity, power, immortality, thunder, or the moon.
  • Wings? Nope! East Asian dragons fly with the help of their mystical powers, nothing physical helps them soar through the sky.