Villainous intent. Tips on writing the person we love to hate.

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I’ve crafted some seriously vile villains over the years. From them I’ve learned a few good guidelines. If you’re having trouble coming up with a convincing villain try out some of these:

#1: A villain is just a person with a differing viewpoint than your main characters.

One of my greatest Villans was a Shapeshifter by the name of Klide. He had a way to sink so deep underneath my players skin that they would have the urge to curse every time they mentioned his name. But Klide was never “Evil”. On the contrary he was developed as a Lawful Neutral person. He had the same goal as the player group “Find X bad guy and kill them” But Klides actions and methods were so severe that it would impede on the players work. Imagine that! A person who is just intermittently annoying and hampering was labeled a worse evil than the baddie they were hunting! It also didn’t help that he was naturally a jerk in conversation.

Being a villain is a perception. All you need to do is create that perception in the minds of your readers.

#2: No villain thinks they are evil.

Being evil is not a motive for a villain. Revenge, greed, hate, envy, lust, embarrassment, loyalty, racism, sexism, opportunity, status, love, politics, power, obsession. These are some good motives!

And usually it’s not just one. Pick two or three major ones and craft them into the backstory of your villain.

I specifically left out insanity as one of the motives from the list because of its difficulty. There have only been a handful of villains that use the insanity motive well. Mainly because it takes being mentally unstable yourself to write insanity at it’s best.

#3: Villains are highly motivated.

You must possess a high amount of motivation in order to influence a large amount of people. This is usually the big reason the villain influences the main character as well. Make certain that your villain is not just an army of one.

#4: Villains are highly organized and rarely dumb.

This one comes from the Evil Overlord List: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EvilOverlordList

This rule is what separates a sub-par villain from a great one. The reason we love to hate a great villain is that despite the fact that they did everything perfectly, the main character found a way to overcome. It’s a difficult thing to write, but strive for it! This can only happen if the villain is neither dumb nor disorganized.

#5: Villains can become heroes and vise versa.

Don’t for a second think that it’s cliche for a villain to turn tides. When written properly it’s an amazing read. My favorite villain I wrote was a Dark Elf by the name of Shade. He was given a meticulously crafted backstory and intended to be taken down by the players. But once the players learned of his plight and how low the other major players in the story were willing to go to kill the guy, they decided to join him instead! The good guys, joined the bad guy. And it was amazing! The campaign lasted three years after that. If a villain is written well enough, anything is possible. Sometimes not killing the villain can be just as satisfying!

 

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Can’t think of a conflict? Map it out!

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If you think your characters motivation is lacking or unoriginal, try assessing the world around them. In the real world we are influenced by the highest levels of power. From world governments, local government, society and individuals, we all are connected to the conflicts that arise on any of those levels. It’s difficult to notice sometimes but if you’re not a hermit in a mountain cave somewhere on a typewriter, you hear and see the effects of global conflict around you. Sometimes it’s in the news, sometimes it’s the technology we develop, most likely it’s your family and friends.

Create a map of the region, or space station, or underground vault, if there are other beings (intelligent or otherwise) you will have a conflict that is influencing your characters and their development.

In this post is a rudimentary map of Luterra, the island continent of Corgi Knight. There are plenty of map creation apps and sites out there. If you wanted to use this one head on over to: http://rollforfantasy.com/tools/map-creator.php

With a bird’s eye view of the land I can begin to see how the separate races interact with each other. Are they at war? Are they at peace? How long have they been in this state? Will this time change my characters? Villains? Ancestors?

People enjoy depth to a character. When you understand the world around them and how they interact, you can write accordingly. And your audience will notice!

 

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Magic? In my writing? It’s more likely than you think.

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When choosing to use magic in a fantasy setting it helps to create a functioning system for you to base a spell or magic event off of. Without it, you tend to run into situations where a conflict could be solved by a simple snap of the fingers. Here I have an example of the magic system in the Corgi Knight Series. It’s written in a Magic Guide for Dummies format.

Silver’s beginner guide to magic.

Energy = Matter = Magic.

Magic is the bonding force between all realms. It sits in a space of its own partially on our reality and on the realities of all other realms of existence. Academics have come to call this The Source. Archmagi Spotty Hindzel described it as “A vast sea of energy. As if you were standing at the bottom of the ocean and could see the eddy’s and currents flowing around you that are expanding forever”. Magic is everywhere. It has different consistencies in certain areas but otherwise considered universal.

The first rule of magic: Magic will always return to the source.

Magic can be converted into energy or matter. All three are interchangeable with one exception, magic will eventually return to its source. If you craft a solid object out of magic, it’s magical components over time will attempt to deconstruct and return to the source. Even the oldest long-lasting spells will eventually end if not given a new enchantment. Energy has the quickest return rate to the source. If you craft a ball of fire in your paw with magic, the magic components of the ball will return to the source within seconds if it is left without craft or bond.

 Not all life uses magic.

All life influences magic. Anything living will change, shift, consume or condense magic. From the smallest blade of grass to the mighty whales of the sea, all life has an impact on the source. Despite all living things influencing magic, not all living things utilize it. For example, dogs are separated into three different categories depending how their bodies react to magic: R+, PR and R-. R+ stand for positive reaction. Dogs whose body actively utilize the source are capable of crafting and casting magic. Less than one percent of the population has been recorded being R+. PR stands for partial reaction; most dogs fall into this category. While their bodies do utilize magic in some way, it’s usually not universal across all parts. This makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible to craft magic. R- stands for rejection. An extremely small percentage of dogs reject magic and shift it away from themselves. These people used to be incorrectly labeled “Magic Eaters” when scholars witnessed the voids of magic these people would create. Some creatures condense magic into their biology, Dragons and Unicorns are excellent examples of creatures that have evolved to condense magic and can craft magic naturally. For most living beings, the nature and flow of the source will never be noticed throughout their life.

Condensing and Conduction.

Magic rarely exists in a naturally condensed form, with two exceptions. Crystalline structures and bones. Crystalline structures of any material have a unique clustering effect on the source. Like a sponge in the ocean, crystals naturally collect magic and hold it. Bones possess a similar quality but seem to require a biological component to function. Bones, wood, and certain metals have a unique quality to facilitate the movement of magic across them. Some materials can also reduce or stop movement of magic, the most notable one being lead. When first learning magic a novice is taught the somatic movements of spells or crafting. This is because of the bones within the body. Often large amounts of magic must be moved across the body to cast or craft.

Casting, Crafting and Enchantment.

Using magic is classified into three actions. Any combination of the three can also be attributed to using magic. Crafting magic is creating or utilizing magic within one’s own biological body. This is the precursor to the second two forms of magic. Casting magic is projecting or manipulating a craft into the environment, your own body or another body around you. Most spells fall into this category. Enchanting is placing a crafted magic into an object or material that does not naturally contain magic. This is commonly done with weapons and armor.

Your body and magic.

While every part of your body can hold magic, there are certain pieces that are far more efficient at it. The dog brain is the powerhouse for magic in the body. The brain is estimated to hold 50% of the magic within a body. The muscles are next, housing close to 35%, the bones contain 10% and the remainder is held in the blood. The amount of magic a body can hold stays relatively constant throughout a dog’s adult life unless there is constant magic fluctuation. Therefore, it is always important to practice magic often and keep your body in top shape. Archmagi level of casting is achieved by years of diligence and exercises expanding body magic capacity.

Power, Backfire and Focus.

Wizarding communities classify how powerful a spell is by how much magic is used to perform the spell from start to finish. One level is equal to the same amount of magic a 200-milligram diamond can contain. The highest recorded level cast by an individual dog is 9. At some point all beginners experience backfire. It is most commonly witnessed at tiny pin pricks in one’s arms or paws after attempting to cast a spell. If a crafted spell is improperly done the resulting magic can cluster and detonate within the body. The more powerful a spell the more catastrophic the detonation. Practice and precaution is your friend when dealing with backfire! A focus is referred to as any tool crafted to assist with the casting of a spell. The materials used are often bone, wood and crystal. Holding the focus at the end of your paw helps facilitate the movement of magic out of your body. There are even some foci that can amplify certain spells if used properly.

The components of a spell.

When first learning magic a beginner is introduced to three separate types of spell components to assist in casting: Somatic, Verbal and Material. Do note that it is possible to train yourself to a point where you no longer need spell components. The Somatic component is precise moments and gestures with the paws and arms. These movements help facilitate the magic from a crafted state in the body to a spell. It’s possible to use your legs and hind paws to accomplish the same thing, but with the restricted movement range it becomes considerably harder. The Verbal component of a spell is a distinct word or phrase coupled with the casting. This is primarily used as a mental focus to keep one’s mind attuned to a certain feeling. Much like muscle memory when learning to use a weapon, the mind too can be trained to react quicker and more efficiently when casting. Material components help with connecting the kinesthetic crafting with physics. Shaping air directly into a flame is a difficult task on its own but with the help of pinch of sulfur and some potent guano an explosion can be crafted and controlled with ease. Understanding the feel and use of material components within an environment trains the brain into taking the necessary steps to properly cast a spell.

Your brain and magic.

The dog brain is the body’s main connector to the source. From it flows the power of magic and with it the capacity to create. In the infinite ocean of magic our thoughts cast an ever so subtle ripple. The capacity from which the brain holds magic differs in every individual but can be trained to expand. Emotion also has a large impact on spells. It’s been recorded that a person in state of great emotion can have exceptionally potent spells but tend to have looser control of them. While individuals who can suppress their emotions have a nearly fluid control of casting, their potency of the spell can fall short. Scholars will feud indefinitely as to which style is more efficient. I suggest developing your own style and sticking with it. When first learning magic it is common to experience headaches, this comes from your brain becoming accustomed to crafting. Every brain has its unique way of condensing magic, a differing pattern that it comes to recognize as its own. Because of this unique pattern the brain can identify foreign magic and create a defense.

Like what you read here and want to use it? Go ahead, steal it and edit any way you like. I’m not the police. I would appreciate some acknowledgement, but I’m not about to hunt you down for it.

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

 

 

 

What is Corgi Knight?

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Corgi knight is my response to the question: “How do you become a man?”. Three months ago I was approached by an English teacher at my college while I was having a loud debate with my friends about controversial subjects in our western society. I don’t mind voicing my opinion but it does sometimes tick people off. This was not the case. She instead engaged me and tried to add to my argument. Afterward she sat down and invited me to speak in front of a large group of students about these social issues. When I pressed why she admitted that she had two boys at home who were having difficult times. They… Were afraid? Somehow they believed that they had become targets and villains because of their gender and race. I was dumbfounded! I started researching and found that this was NOT an uncommon thing. But what am I suppose to do about it? I’m a dirt poor, disabled college student with NO credibility except for writing a darn good fantasy tale about magic and war. The speech didn’t go very well, and not for lack of trying. Just… Nobody wanted to listen. So I decided it was time to tackle this thing from a different direction. LET’S WRITE A BOOK! YEAH! And Corgi Knight was born.

At the publishing of this post I’m now a little over 50% finished with the raw writing. This blog will continue to express and show my wacky and crazy journey through world crafting. And if you’re reading this now, and I get good later, you can tip your hipster hat in the future and say you where there from the beginning.

 

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

King Lord.

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Meet Lord. King of Dogonna, the White Wolf.

Age: Old enough to know better.

Gender: Male

Race: Wolf

Hometown/Region/Country: Unknown, Unknown, Unknown?

Height: 1.9 Meters.

Occupation: Public figurehead. King. Ruler. All around great guy.

Likes: Dogonna, His people, Government, Exercise, Vacations, Technology, Comedy, Those little teeny tiny weenies on toothpicks.

Favorite music: The Wanted – Chasing The Sun, Fall Out Boy – Centuries. (He couldn’t pick just one.)

The near immortal leader of Dogonna, people don’t know where he’s from because he’s been around before writing became a thing. Generally liked by his people, he recently invented Democracy and appointed himself a public figurehead. But still kept his king title. Growing tired of the loss of chivalry in the current age, Lord has now sought to groom a new breed of knight to serve his people.

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Ed Howlard.

 

 

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Meet Ed Howlard.

Age: 26

Gender: Male

Race: Dog (Great Dane)

Hometown/Region/Country: Pumice Point, Dogonna, Luterra.

Height: 2.1 Meters.

Occupation: King’s squire.

Likes: Things, Stuff, People, Places.

Favorite music: Sia – Alive

It’s The Giant himself! Formally a combatant in the Command Pits, Ed was forced to retire after his defeat to The Flea Kurby. Luckily Baxter was there to offer him a job under the king. Ed is a quiet guy but unmistakable in a crowd. You can still hear dogs whisper of his epic fights. Boom giant… Boom giant… Boom giant…

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Cleft Barkley.

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Meet Cleft Barkley.

Age: 23

Gender: Male

Race: Hyena

Hometown/Region/Country: Lemonwood, Ziguiza, Grand Plains.

Height: 1.8 Meters.

Occupation: King’s squire.

Likes: Sports, People Watching, Reading, Relaxing, Soap Making.

Favorite music: Delta Heavy – Ghost

Cleft is the right guy in the wrong situation. Originally an outlaw of Dogonna, Cleft was recruited by Baxter when he was wrongly accused of starting a tavern brawl. He is a refugee Hyena from the exodus of the Grand Plains. Many dogs don’t consider him or his kind to one of their own, just foreigners that leech off of society. Jokes on them! He works for royalty now!

 

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Sendo Dogami.

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Leo BoneReguard.

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Meet Leo BoneReguard

Age: 21

Gender: Male

Race: Dog (Fox)

Hometown/Region/Country: High Moon, Dogonna, Luterra.

Height: 1.6 Meters.

Occupation: King’s squire.

Likes: Girls, Parties, Money, Booze, Mirrors.

Favorite music: Ylvis – The Fox (What Does The Fox Say?)

Meet Leo the silver tongued of the group. Previously the leader of the street group The Silver Foxes (Only 4 members) he was convinced to “Volunteer” to become a squire under the king of Dogonna by Baxter Pawson. Leo likes to talk a lot. Leo thinks he is the most important person on this blog. Leo likes it when I type his name. Leo hates it when people call him Chad.

 

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

Bella Pawson.

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Meet Bella Pawson.

Age: 20

Gender: Female

Race: Dog (Husky)

Hometown/Region/Country: High Moon, Dogonna, Luterra.

Height: 1.5 Meters.

Occupation: King’s squire.

Likes: Sports, Work, Art, Sailing, Cooking.

Favorite music: Sara Bareilles – Brave

Meet Bella. The adopted sister of Baxter (They both are). Some might claim she is the leveling factor to her brother and his shenanigans, but they would be wrong. Bella is eventually shanghaied into her brothers adventure to become a knight but soon proves to be her own force to be reckoned with.  Bella did earn the title of first female squire ever in Dogonna, so she has that going for her.

-Silver the Bard. If you haven’t heard from me, assume I’m dead and avenge me.

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