Tag Archives: antagonist

NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag (2020 Edition)

Hello Writer Bees!

National Novel Writing Month is just days away! I am both wildly excited and incredibly unprepared. Recently, I was asked to do the NaNoWriMo tag by a longtime follower of this blog. Jai Lyn is this lovely writer and blogger who is always leaving me the sweetest comments. I literally dropped everything to do this tag for her and for you guys!

The rules are simple….

  1. Thank the awesome blogger who tagged you!
  2. Link back to the creator of this tag, Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner.
  3. Feel free to use the NaNoWriMo 20 Questions Tag graphics!
  4. Answer the questions.
  5. Tag some friends who are also doing NaNo this year.
  6. And have fun!!!

Thank you to the fabulous Sophie @ Sophie’s Corner for creating this tag. And thanks so much to Jai Lyn for tagging me to participate this year!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Tell me about your NaNoWriMo project this year! Give me a blurb!

The title is ‘The Case of the Drowned Mermaid’.

Coney Island, New York, 1924. When a sideshow mermaid is found drowned in her tank, can private detective G.W. Barnaby and his associate, Oscar Fitzgerald, find her killer? Or will this case be another unsolved murder?

What’s the genre?

It’s a mystery! No, really, my WIP is in the mystery/detective fiction genre. Hopefully, one day, it will become a proper whodunit. While there is a bit of romance and drama thrown in, The Case of the Drowned Mermaid is a good ol’ murder mystery.  

Describe your MC in three words.

Oscar Fitzgerald, my narrator and dapper, young man of the 1920s, is charming, sarcastic and impatient. 

Without spoilers, describe your villain in three words.

Perfectionist. Doting. Manipulative.  

What is your goal? (the traditional 50K? 20K? 5K? or……. 100K?)

I’m aiming for 20,000(ish) words this November. Really, any amount of words will do. My real goal is to break free of writer’s block. If you want to read more about my untraditional NaNo goals, check out my last post.  

Is this your first draft? Second? Third?

Feels like more drafts than I can count. This could be the third or fourth draft. Hard to say. I’ve been working on this project for about 3 years, and it has gone through many evolutions. 

Are you starting a new project (or draft), or continuing an existing one?

Nope, I’m continuing an existing WIP. It’s already about 30,000 words in length. I’m hoping to add to that this November. 

What is your favourite time to write in the day?

I’m a night owl, writing at night is my favorite time to write. Do I get enough sleep? Absolutely not. But I can’t help if I only get inspired around midnight.

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Where are you going to write?

Probably at home. And probably a bit of sneaky writing at my cubicle. 

Computer or paper?

The majority of my notes are scribbled onto various sticky notes and notebook paper. When it comes to writing the story, I will be typing my WIP on the computer. I admire those who are handwriting their work. I tip my hat to you.

NaNoWriMo is a huge commitment!! How are you going to make time to write?

I honestly have no idea. I’m gonna try my best to make time. Use every free moment to work on this project. Cross your fingers for me.  

Are you going to participate in local or online NaNoWriMo events? (e.g. kick-off parties in your city, write-ins, virtual writing sprints…)

Unfortunately, write-ins are most likely cancelled due to covid. I’m not sure if I’ll participate in a virtual writing event. Don’t think I will, but I am available to be anyone’s buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. 

Do you write from beginning to end or skip around?

Oh, I’ve been skipping around this story for a long time. I always try to juggle too many things at once. That has been a struggle for me in the past. I’m learning how to work on one scene at a time.  

Planner or pantser? (or plantser?)

Little bit of both, so I guess that makes me a plantser. I have a vague outline I’m trying to stick to while giving myself wiggle room to be creative and wander off the path, if I need to. Best of both worlds, right?

What will be your go-to NaNoWriMo snack?

I LOVE snacking while writing. Potato chips, roasted chickpeas, salsa and tortilla chips, dry cereal, popcorn. Basically, any crunchy or salty treat. I won’t say no to a fat slice on banana bread though.

(Can you tell this is my favorite question?) 

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Choice of caffeine? (or no caffeine?)

Not much of a caffeine drinker. I know, shocking. A decaf tea is fine for me.

Any rewards for milestone achievements? For finishing NaNoWriMo?

If I reach my goal of 20k, or any significant word count goal, I plan to spoil myself with NaNoWriMo swag. I’ve never set up rewards for myself. I want to this year. Plus, I’ve always wanted a cool NaNo sweater or mug while also supporting this amazing charity.

Share a tip for other NaNo-ers!

With word count goals, don’t be too hard on yourself. NaNoWriMo is meant to motivate writers to write and to encourage creativity. Any amount you write, whether it’s 5 words or 50,000 words, is progress. Celebrate progress.

How are you feeling about NaNoWriMo? (Excited?! Nervous!? Terrified?!)

All of the above. Lately, I’ve been feeling so stuck with my WIP, I’m afraid I’ll still be stuck during NaNoWriMo. On the other hand, I’m determined to work on my WIP and excited to share my experience and connect with other writers.

Share an aesthetic for your NaNoWriMo novel!

See the source image
See the source image

Hope you all enjoyed my answers for this tag. I tag any other NaNoWriMo participants who want to share their project. Shout out again to Jai Lyn. Please go check out their blog, there’s some wonderful content to be found.

To all those attempting NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you the best of luck. Let me know in the comments what you are working on for November. As always, I love to hear for you writer bees.

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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3 Tips on Creating Likeable Antagonists

Mayday! Mayday!

You’re writing a story, minding your own business, when suddenly, a character you’re creating is taking a nose dive right into unlikable jerk territory. Let’s try to save your character from being total terror.

Whether they be hot tempered, or rude, or just have a nasty attitude,  you have created a character who is nothing but bad qualities. An unpleasant fellow in every regard. Yes, there are antagonists and villains and personified rain clouds, however, is that all they are? Just… the bad guy?

Here are some tips for creating a character we love to hate (and not hate to hate).

Changing Point of View

If your story involves multiple narratives, consider having your jerk character try on the narrator hat for a bit. How do they see the world? Are they really as nasty as they seem? What are their home lives like? Is there a reason for their misbehavior? Take a walk in their shoes. By doing this, it can give the reader insight to that character’s backstory and perspective.

Create Obstacles

Let there a be a struggle that shows another side of their character. The reader will gain a level of empathy for this character if they see them face some kind of hardship. Maybe the character learns from their past mistakes? Or feels guilt about something? Or has to face a real, serious conflict, either internal or external. Give the character a hill to climb over.

Give Them a Redeemable Trait

Anything. There has to be something good. No matter how horrible and cruel someone is, there must be some redeemable quality. Are they charming? Quick witted? Hard working? Show some level of respect or affection towards another? Like animals? (Who doesn’t like puppies?) You catch my drift. Any sort of positive trait to balance out the not so positive traits.


Don’t just have a character who is only recognized by the reader as being a terrible person. Real characters, like real people, need a balance in order to be complex.

Hope this helps some writer out there. In the comments, let me know who your favorite bad guy character you love to hate.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky.

5 Types of Narrators in Story Writing – Breaking Down the Basics

Hello Writer Bugs!

Today, we are going back to basics in story writing. What point of view is best for your WIP? Let’s break down the different kinds of narrators in a story.

(Psst! Don’t forget to check out that Patreon page! Keep this party going! )

First Person Narrator

Pronouns: I, my, me.

Example: The Narrator from Moby Dick. ” Call me Ishmael.”

First Person is a very personal perspective. The reader has a front row seat to this character’s feelings, thoughts and experience in the world. This can be either a main character or a distant observer. By using the first person narrative, it puts a limit to what the narrator, and the reader, knows and doesn’t know. This kind of narrator cannot know

Second Person Narrator

Pronouns: You, Your.

A Second Person Narrator talks directly to the audience, enveloping the reader into the story itself. Think of it like playing a choose your own adventure game, where the reader is a character. “You do this, you see that.” This one is quite rare in fiction; It’s more for technical writing. It’s difficult to perfect, but not impossible, so don’t be discouraged to experiment with this style.

Example: If I’m remembering correctly, Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern has some chapters using second person that are utterly enchanting.

Third Person Narrator (Limited)

Pronouns: He, she, they.

Another popular option that gives the writer more freedom to move around, follow multiple characters and explore multiple rooms of the house, so to speak. Usually, the third person narrator isn’t an actual character at all. It’s a more objective viewpoint, which can lead to a lack of connection with the reader. The audience is privy to more information about the plot, information the main characters may not even be aware of, but not the characters personal thoughts and feelings.

Omniscient Narrator

Usually third person. Uses ‘he, she, they’ pronouns.

With this one, the narrator knows everything, from feelings to inner thoughts. Imagine an all knowing, all seeing God-like being looking down at the world and relaying the story to the reader. Some can argue that it’s the author themselves telling the story. I’ll let you be the judge.

Unreliable Narrator

Usually first person, usually undependable.

Some narrators just can’t be trusted, can they? The viewpoint of this narrator is very biased, clouded by their own, possibly flawed judgement. Other characters in the story may not be described accurately because of the narrator’s own perception. Certain events can be skewed. Even the narrator himself could be not what he appears to be

Example: Check out the narrator from The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie. He may know more about the murder than he is letting on. Wink wink.

Choose Your Narrator Wisely

Really take the time to think about whom the narrator will be and how well they can tell your/their story. It’s important for the reader to really connect and be engaged with the character or viewpoint chosen. Think of it like this, the narrator is the reader’s vehicle as they ride the rollercoaster that is your story. That makes sense right?

If you are struggling to decide which narrative you want to use, try multiple styles. No harm in experimenting. It’s like reading an essay for school out loud before handing it in. You’ll know what fits your story best when you read it.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

4 Story Clichés to Avoid At All Costs

Hey Writer Bees!

Hope life is treating you better than usual.

Today, we are talking about clichés. Those overused and utterly boring plot devices that drag a story down into the abyss of unoriginality. Here are four clichés to avoid so your story can shine in all it’s original and spectacular glory.

Describing Self in Mirror

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I confess, I’m guilty of this one. It’s tricky to describe what a first person narrator looks like. But it is unrealistic. How many times have you looked at your reflection and described yourself to yourself? Unless your narrator is incredibly self indulgent and narcissistic, talking about one’s reflection is a cheap trick. And some find it a bit lazy.

Instead, leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Let them create an image of the character themselves. Or, have another character make a comment about one’s appearance. This will throw subtle hints to the reader about what the narrator looks like. Maybe something like, “Wow, your hair has grown so long!” or “You look just like your father.”

You know what I mean? You know what I mean.

All Hail, The Chosen One

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Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling out characters like Harry Potter and Frodo and (I’m so sorry) King Arthur. Fight me. Many fantasy stories have this idea of the Chosen One, the guy who is destined to save the world, defeat the big baddie, find or destroy the magical item. The fates have decided that this is THE guy to do all that. And he happens to still be in high school or college.

Truthfully? No divine intervention required. Your hero does not need to be chosen by destiny to be special. Heroes aren’t born, they’re created. Just because they were “chosen”, does not make them heroic in nature. It just forces a character into a role. Make your character a hero worth rooting for. Give them the motivation behind their good deeds and give their true purpose to defeat evil wherever it lurks.

What a Knockout

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Did a character suddenly fall unconscious? And they wake up in another location? That’s a weak transition. And if that were to happen in real life, you’d need to rush to the hospital, not the next scene. Having a character faint just to move to another location quickly is overly dramatic and far too convenient. There are ways to ease into a new setting and make for a more graceful transition. Try and figure out how to move the plot along some other way.

Bad Parents Make Bad People

Big cliché alert. Antagonist who are products of horrible childhoods. It’s touch to justify a jerk of a character and his or hers bad behavior. And things like abuse or cruel parents make the evil character easy to forgive. No, I’m not trying to belittle someone’s tragic backstory. And yes, these things do happen in real life. However, I’m just saying , It can’t be that simple to explain away their flaws and their poor choice.

The only way to combat this tired cliché is to really focus on characterization. Give him or her a better reason to be a jerk than their bad parents. And keep in mind, not every antagonist comes from a broken home. Think about the jerks that come from perfectly lovely families. Now that’s scary.

Only You Can Tell Your Story

While some clichés are tough to avoid, let your story speak for itself. Don’t copy parts from other books or movies. Pick those boring clichés out with a tweezer and let your originality stand on it’s own. Turn stereotypes on it’s head and leave dull plot lines in the dust.

What’s one cliché in writing you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the tip jar.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing The Hero and The Villain

As I am writing this post, I am watching my boyfriend, Michael, play a tabletop game called Warhammer. From my understanding, it’s like Dungeons and Dragons.
Watching this miniature war unfold, It’s got me thinking about heroes and villains and the importance of a good conflict. I have this pet peeve of protagonist being perfect and over powered and overcoming obstacles with little effort, very convenient. Then you’ve got villains who are evil for no reason other than the fact that they are completely rotten to the core. Literally cringing while writing these pet peeves right now.
Real characters, like actual human beings, aren’t so black and white.
Let’s start with protagonists. Here are some key things to keep in mind when constructing a hero.

  • Goal: What is the hero’s motivation? Why are they doing what they are doing? Having a purpose gives your character, and the over all plot, a direction. Also it throws fuel onto the conflict fire (if that makes sense).
  • Be Real: Being realistic means having flaws. Don’t make your character too cookie cutter perfect. Readers relate to imperfections. We want to read stories with characters who have positive and negative traits, who face obstacles with some struggle.
  • Growth: Over the course of a story arch, the character at the beginning of the must be different in some way to the same character at the end. Think of us, as people. We grow, we evolve, we change, and we learn things. Fictional characters must do the same.

There’s been a “tragic” dice roll.
I suppose that’s a good enough transition to writing antagonists.

 

  • Goal: Like your protagonist, the antagonist needs solid motivation. Have them act with purpose, not just because their evil. If your villain wants to destroy a city, it shouldn’t be because they just want to ruin someone’s day.
  • Be Real: Even an antagonist can have positive traits. No one can be completely bad. As I said before, things aren’t simply black and white. However, your antagonist should have an intimidating presence, to the hero and the audience. There are some villains we just love to hate.
  • Integrity: Put up a worthy adversary against your hero. The villain should put up a fight and carry out every threat made. When Darth Vader said he was going to blow up a planet, he blew up a planet. If at the end of the story, the antagonist loses and cries “Curses! Foiled again!” then just melts into a wimpy puddle, you may want to reevaluate things.

And here’s a question; does the hero have to win every battle?
Take note of some of your favorite hero and villain characters and really think about what makes them great.
Write with heart,
Lady Jabberwocky.

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