Writing Anti-Advice: where to get writing advice and how not to take it

Some writing advice is not for you, and some should be ignored completely

If you have just started writing fiction, then you’ll likely fall into one of two groups:

  1. People who don’t take advice and just start writing
  2. People who read up on something for a long time before beginning
  3. People who don’t readily please dichotomies

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In Defense of Villains

What does Sauron really mean for Middle Earth? What does Voldemort want?

I was browsing the Youtube Channel Write About Dragons the other day, and came across Brandon Sanderson discussing villains.  At the beginning of the discussion he mentions a problem that has plagued me since I was a child, and more as I’ve read  fantasy as an adult: what do villains want?  It’s easy to understand villains with short-term motivation, like robbing a bank and flying to Venezuela, or getting revenge, but what’s hard to understand are creatures like Sauron, Robert Jordan’s Dark One, and Emperor Palpatine.  Jordan actually deals with this question in the later Wheel of Time books, and especially (in collaboration with Sanderson) in the final showdown between Rand and The Dark One.  Palpatine is easy to understand as a dictator, who uses political power as a cover for making himself a kind of living god.  The problem does remain: what does a wrinkled old man want?  Food?  Sex?  Yuck.  What could Sauron possibly be going for when he doesn’t even have a body other than the power to gloat and watch Hobbits suffer? Continue reading “In Defense of Villains”

Elsa’s Ambivalence

Last night I watched Frozen and then started a chapter on Freud in Harold Bloom’s The ElsaPose.pngWestern Canon.  Bloom’s thesis is that Freud was dead wrong on most of his interpretations of Shakespeare, but that if we analyze Freud using Shakespearean psychology, we find some very interesting things.  The most important thing I get from Bloom’s ideas is that the quality of ambivalence is incredibly important to understanding what makes a character compelling.  Elsa, Queen of Arendelle, is a character that rivals MacBeth, King Lear, and Hamlet in her ambivalence and psychological torment, so I finally have an analytical tool to express my profound enjoyment of this great movie.

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