Scribe Scrawlings


Two Book Give Away--Contest Ends 10/15/09
Winner Announced: Kayla! See post below for full details!


Melissa Rose

What Do You Listen To When You Write?

Monday, January 21, 2008

If you want to study someone who knows villans. . .

Pick up George Bryan Polvika's Legend of the Fire Fish and watch for a character named Talon. Also worth mentioning is the sequel to it, The Hand That Bears the Sword, and the book that tells how it all ends The Battle for Vast Domain. You can interact with the author too at

as well as meet other fans and get immersed in the world Bryan's created.

Right, well back to what I do with villains. And yes tarbs, today is not ''tomorrow'' as promised but you all know what happened, life hijacked me at knife point.

Right now I am still held hostage. I'll try and finish the thought on villains on Wednesday as its' my day off. For now, go read Bryan's books and see how a Master storyteller give a villain a heart.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Villians, Neer Do Wells, Bad Guys, Misguided Individuals Part 2

Crawl inside a villain, try one on for fit, wear one out in public, it won't hurt a bit!
Listen to one's heartbeat, hear one sigh at night, poor misguided guy, he never wins the fight!

Okay tarbs* I'm back as promised with part 2 on the black hats!

I'm sure you've heard it in some movie---a whiny actor asks the director "What's my motivation?"---and most people roll their eyes or worse because it's such a cliche'. It's not as irritating a question as it might seem, motivation is important.

As Christians we are to examine the motives of our heart (what moves it to act) and to see if they line up with the Bible. As writers we have to examine the motives of our characters(what moves them to act) and see if they line up with their roles. The best motives for villains are pulled from the darker side of human nature. Here's a short list.


Consider a character who is rounding whole families up and putting them in ghettos, dividing them from the rest of the population of their country.

That's the action, now what's the motive behind it?
Easiest way to figure that out, because the reader is going to be doing the same thing, is to ask why are they doing that action?

-it could be that they have a personal grudge against this people group. Motive-Wrath

-it could be that they wanted the land these people were occupying. Motive-Greed or Envy

-it could be that by putting the people in the area they hope to have one of them discover the area's secret. Motive-Sloth

-it could be that they think these people are ruining the city with their low class ways and so move them to one quarter where they will not be seen. Motive-Pride.

Right so you get the idea, nail down the motive behind the actions and it will help you flush out the character of the antagonist. By the way, this works with the protagonist too. But this, this is the flaw or the broken part of the villain that is buried way down deep inside, tomorrow I'll go into what you wrap around that to make the core of your bad guy.

* take the 's' away and read it back to front. ;) You know who you are.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Villians, Neer Do Wells, Bad Guys, Misguided Individuals Part 1

Hullo all you tarbs* in aspiring authordom, this post is just for you. I've had three of you ask in less than a week "How do you write your villains?"

I haven't been published recently, but if you really are that curious, I'll go ahead and show how I do it. Mind you, there are other published authors that can give better advice but here's how I go about it.

Let's start with the words that define the black-hats, because it's fun to know the vocabulary regarding the doers of evil deeds. The technical term for anyone dead set against the hero of your tale is antagonist. Merriam Webster defines that title as 1." one that contends with or opposes another''. You can see that the word antagonize has the same root that antagonist does. Villains are also called adversaries, or enemies when referenced in the same breath as the hero. Oh and if you want to sound like you know what you're talking about when discussing what you do with people who don't write, you can always reference the hero as the protagonist.

Now, back to the bad guys.

In most people's minds bad guy=evil and dark with nothing at all redeemable about them. I don't think about them this way. In my mind, the line between antagonist and protagonist is rather thin. After all, from the perspective of the villain, the hero is the ''bad guy''. No self respecting antagonist sees the hero as the hero.

When I start writing the antagonist, I ask myself some questions:

1) What do they hold most dear?

They've got to have something they can lose to get them to act to keep it, whether it's plans of world domination, a girl/guy they love, a peanut brittle factory, it has to be something of value to them.

2) How is the hero threatening this?

It's a given that they are, because there is has to be something they both want and only one can have, that's what generates the conflict. If it helps, keep in mind the tip off in a basketball game. Both teams want the ball, only one is going to get it.

Maybe they both want to rule the world, or are both in love with the same person, or have a chance at the perfect peanut brittle recipe.

3) Could it be said that the hero in this story is really the antagonist of the villain?

Now I just said that from the villain's perspective that is true, but this question makes me check and make sure they are loggerheads with one another. Mediation isn't going to work and neither is compromise.

All right, that's all for right now. Tomorrow, getting inside the skin of your villain!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Small Mound of Stones

For anyone who was wondering, this qualifies as 'later in the week'. Ugh. I could list new grievances and irritations, but I have decided that I'm not going to do that. Instead I am going to catalog all of my blessings as an act of worship and to remind myself that while the waters are raging, they haven't come over my head. Here are some in no particular order.

I won the Suspense Technique ''Trail of Breadcrumbs'' on Wayne Batson's site
with my entry featuring everyone's favorite Archivist of mine, Mynasthoa.

I really loved every last one of the challenges/assignments whether I could pull something together for each one or not. Some of them exposed a weakness that ran so deep through my skills that I nearly hated m'lord for putting his finger on it (hey, I'm being honest and I did say nearly) and others were fun from beginning to end. Out of all the ones that I did, the one with Mynas meant the most to me and I kept thinking "If I just win one, let it be that one. Let that be my 'at bat' where I slam the ball out of the park. Please." When he and his lovely lady wife agreed that it was the front runner of the pack I was more than delighted, I was encouraged. Right then, I needed to be.

Someone who had been praying for me called me up and said "I don't know if this makes any sense to you or not, but the Lord has impressed on my heart that you are really living "The Silver Chair" by Lewis. I know that this is a little odd sounding but. . .He's really put it on my heart that is where you are this year. And that He loves you, be faithful, endure, press on."

I sobbed, because I have. I have been living that book this year, and I have been telling Him how much I feel stuck in it, just like Jill and Eustace.

I keep forgetting what He's told me, I keep doubting, I keep getting caught up in the pleasures of the world, in all the good things it can offer, I keep missing signs, and I keep failing.

Only He knew that, I hadn't told anyone else, yet here was this dear friend praying for me, and He showed that to her, and she called and told me.

My friend Rhu came out to visit in December on a Thursday(half day) Friday (all day) , Saturday(went home early in the morning) type thing. I was so jazzed about her visit, I was giddy for a week before--Christmas was coming early! The most awesome part was she was just as jazzed. We talked and IMed and schemed the week before she came out like we were eight year olds! That lovely shivery stomach feeling you had as a kid before Christmas or vacation or your birthday? I had it all week! When she finally got here I think we talked and wrote non stop, occasionally eating and perhaps drinking. Our sentences spilled over one another and it wasn't as if we were completing each others thoughts as much we were playing a friendly game of 'top this' and ideas rolled like avalanches down from our brains to our pen nibs. M'lord came in to where I work to sign copies of Isle of Fire the day that she'd arrived safely at my house. I'd just called home and talked to her when he started signing. I was practically hoping up and down I was so excited, and I'm sure he and his lovely-lady wife who came in as well, thought me quite mad. I was. Mad with happiness.

So, there is the beginning of my blessings, recognition of talent, conformation that the Lord is with me though I stumble about in the darkness unable to see Him or hear Him clearly (the fault of which lies with me) and the fellowship of a friend who has been true and solid and unchanging in her friendship now for seven years.

There are my stones, mounded up, lest I forget what the Lord has done for me.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Scribe Lives Scribe Loves Scribe Outlines

Thanks to everyone who emailed or rang to see what in the name of all that made sense happened to me. I can't remember who I've told what, so think of this as a massive information drop that will hopefully will enlighten those who know nothing and bring up to date those that talked to me the third week of December.

Around the first week of December something happened at work that necessitated involving the local police. The repercussions of that are still being felt, but the long and the short of it was that my work schedule was shot to pieces because of what happened, and I nearly got the chance to take a polygraph test. Anyway, after that lovely excitement I came into work two weeks ago and was told by one of the managers that a co-worker of mine, one that I am extremely close to though she is from a more mature generation, lost her husband the day before.

I was dumbfounded. I couldn't think, couldn't talk, could only feel this really suffocating constricting of my throat and heard my pulse thrashing through my ears. He'd been doing badly earlier in the year but he'd turned the corner, he'd been making great progress, everyone was rejoicing and then--he was dead. If I hadn't been at work, I'd have screamed. As it was, I cried through my entire shift and wanted nothing more than to go home. Thankfully as busy as it was (Christmas time, and seeing as I worked with her we all were desperately scrambling to cover her shift hours), I was able to attend one of the viewings the next evening and there I saw why it is so desperately important to have fellow Christians around.

My friend was literally being carried through the event. People clustered around, family encircling one another, everyone talking about knowing where her husband was, for he too was a Christian. You could just sense the Holy Spirit there, in the hands, in the words, in the tears of the saints that rallied around her.

Hang on, I'm not done yet. One police involved incident and one sudden death at Christmas time was more than enough for me, but the month wasn't over yet. The very next week we had a problem of a technical nature where I work and sorting it out fell to my friend/manager, which put alot of extra work on me because he was busy unsnarling that, so I was coming in early, not getting days off, and just about ready to drop when another coworker unexpectedly had a family member die. This time, it was a daughter-in-law (different coworker) who died the day after Christmas. This too was violently unexpected and again I scrambled to help and covered shifts so she could go down and be with he son, and her granddaughter who is just turning eleven and now has buried and mourned two mothers.

These are some of the reasons that I haven't been around much, and when I have been around I've not felt like posting or sharing anything. I encourage you to go over and check out m'lord's blog and Brian Davis, Christopher Hopper's, and Sharon Hinck's too. They've got some marvelous things going on.

Oh, and for those interested, I've not broken from the outlining, still plodding away and planning and not just writing because I feel like it. It's been just over a month now, and things are still clicking. I'll try and share more later this week.

Poll Results

What Do You Notice First About A Book?
RESULTS! Closed 11/11/09

My attention's always grabbed by the cover-53%

I look on the spine for the author's name-6%

The thicker books are the one that grab my notice-26%

I open the book up to the middle and burry my nose in the pages, sniffing. Scent is important-0%

I flip the book over, ignore the cover and the spine and get to the book blurb-13%

Pick Your Weapon! RESULTS! Closed-11/03/09

Hand and Half Sword-16%
Long Bow-25%
Pen-25 %

What Kind of Fan Are You? RESULTS! Closed-10/22/09

Shy. I like reading books but I don't want to meet the authors-15%

Avid. I've read everything my favorite author has written!-38%

Curious. I've e-mailed my favorite author or left comments on the blog and asked them questions-38%

What Kind of Word Smith Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/15/09

I focus on setting-22%
I focus on dialogue-22%
I focus on action-22%
I focus on characters-33%

What Kind of Reader Are You? RESULTS!-Closed 10/07/09

I try and guess where the story is going to go-44%
I read the book and think how I would have written it differently-0%
I race through the story, riding the words like a rollarcoaster-22%
I race through the book and then go back and read my favorite parts again and again-33%

What Kind of Writer Are You? RESULTS!

Character first--1%
Plot First--4%
Balanced Between Plot and Character--5%
All Over The Place--5%

So All Over The Place and Balanced Between Plot and Character tie for the win! All I can say is that there must be some wicked stories out there. I can't wait to read them!

Scribe is Listening to:


Chronicles of Narnia Prince Caspian Sound Track.

Books on CD: The Moving Finger Read by Martin Jarvis. Original story by: Agatha Christie

Scribe is Reading:

I am? COOL!

I'm apparently referring to myself in the third person too. Go figure.


Nightmare's Edge by: Bryan Davis

The Invention of Hugo Cabert (Caldecott Book) by: Brian Selzinck-FINISHED. Mind blowing! Every storyteller should read this book.

FEARLESS by: Max Lucado-FINISHED. Excellent!

NLT Chronological 24/7 Bible paperback
NASB Online at Bible Gateway


Psalm 49

Psalm 49
A Psalm of Repentance

About Me

My photo
I tell stories all day long. Some with my pen, some with my keyboard and if you can find me, buy me a coffee and I'll tell you one too!