Today I’m excited to have over blogger, friend and new author Sacha Black.
Sacha is a prolific blogger who blogs about all things writing in her Writespiration – 52 words in 52 weeks blog series where you will find her weekly word prompts for writers challenging to write a short story in 52 words, no more, no less, and many other articles pertaining to the craft of writing. Her debut nonfiction book 13 Steps to Evil – How to Craft Superbad Villains, was recently released as a writing guide for writers who write in the fiction genre. I haven’t read this book yet, but I can guarantee that Sacha’s style of writing and instructing will have a unique voice filled with fact, distinct humor and directness that Sacha is known and appreciated for by all of her readers.
Sacha is also a fiction writer and has been working tirelessly these past few years writing, and will soon be publishing her other books in the dystopian and YA fiction genre
Sacha Black has five obsessions; words, expensive shoes, conspiracy theories, self-improvement, and breaking the rules. She also has the mind of a perpetual sixteen-year-old, only with slightly less drama and slightly more bills.
Sacha writes books about people with magical powers and other books about the art of writing. She lives in Hertfordshire, England, with her wife and genius, giant of a son.
When she’s not writing, she can be found laughing inappropriately loud, blogging, sniffing musty old books, fangirling film and TV soundtracks, or thinking up new ways to break the rules.
Get this book on Amazon! Also available at: Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Tolino, Barnes and Noble, inktera
Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Are you fed up of drowning in two-dimensional villains? Frustrated with creating clichés? And failing to get your reader to root for your villain?
In 13 Steps to Evil, you’ll discover:
- How to develop a villain’s mindset
- A step-by-step guide to creating your villain from the ground up
- Why getting to the core of a villain’s personality is essential to make them credible
- What pitfalls and clichés to avoid as well as the tropes your story needs
Finally, there is a comprehensive writing guide to help you create superbad villains. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned writer, this book will help power up your bad guy and give them that extra edge.
These lessons will help you master and control your villainous minions, navigate and gain the perfect balance of good and evil, as well as strengthening your villain to give your story the tension and punch it needs.
If you like dark humour, learning through examples and want to create the best villains you can, then you’ll love Sacha Black’s guide to crafting superbad villains. Read 13 Steps to Evil today and start creating kick-ass villains.
Why Writers Fudge Up Their Villains
Villains are like newborn infants. So much glorious potential. Until we writers get our grubby mitts on them and balls it up. With the careless flick of a pen, we can turn a finely sculpted baby villain into a cringe-worthy cliché because we didn’t make him bad enough, or we create something so heinously evil it’s unrealistic.
A villain might be a plot device, but he still needs a purpose and a goal, or he’s unworthy as an opponent for your hero (See STEP 3 for motives and goals).
While researching this book, writers told me all kinds of problems they encountered while creating their villains. From getting the dialogue right and avoiding clichés, to knowing how evil to make a villain, to how to reveal her motives without using blatant exposition.
Behind all these issues lie two basic barriers that are the Achilles in every writer’s villainous heel:
- Depending on the point of view (POV) the book’s written in, the villain is usually seen through the eyes of your hero.
A solitary POV gives you a page-limited amount of time to show your villain’s best, most authentic and devilishly evil side. Page-limited to the point it makes it eye-wateringly difficult to convey her backstory effectively without information dumping. You have to be better, clearer, more tactical and more concise with your words to create superbad villains.
- Writers are hero worshippers.
We love our heroes and protagonists more than our spouses. And as a result, we spend shameful amounts of time honing our protagonist’s muscular heroics into shape. But that relegates our villain (the plot-driving conflict-creator) to the corner of our book, complete with a nobody-loves-you-anyway hat. In other words, writers don’t pay enough attention to their villain.
Now let’s delve inside the talented mind of Sacha, the busiest multi-tasking writer I know, and get some insight as to how she separates her fiction and nonfiction writing and what her further plans are in her writing world.
Your blog is wildly popular. Writers look forward to your weekly ‘writespiration’ writing prompt challenge. Do you expect to be adding more to your blog with informational posts about writing?
Wildly popular?? Me?? *toe nudge, foot shuffle* aww shucks.
I took a break from my ‘tips’ blogging back in April because I was burning out. I was doing loads of ‘stuff’ every day and so exhausted, but I wasn’t achieving anything. I had to prioritize completing my books because I sure as shit hadn’t spent that many years writing not to publish.
Am I coming back to regular Monday posts? Of course. But perhaps not quite as frequent as before, I need to continue to prioritize book writing, and it’s easy to get sucked into blog admin. I’ll never quit blogging. I can’t; it helped me on my writing journey. But likewise, I also can’t spend hours and hours every week on blog admin. The good news is, the break has given me the time to build up lots of ideas and a ton of lessons I need to share.
I know that besides just publishing 13 Steps to Evil, you’re also preparing to publish your first fiction book (spoiler alert) Keepers, part of a six-book series. As a nonfiction writer myself, I’m wondering what is your perspective on writing in two different genres?
Now that is a cracking question. It’s taken me YEARS to finish Keepers, yet 13 Steps was written, edited and edited again after beta feedback in about 14 weeks.
You could argue loads of reasons why like the fact 13 Steps was my second book, so I knew my process a little better. But I honestly think it’s because I’d spent so many years blogging I already had my non-fiction voice nailed. Lots of people say I write like l speak when they meet me, and I really do. But because of that, I could dictate most of 13 Steps, which helped speed up the process and meant it didn’t need anywhere near as much editing as Keepers. I’ve genuinely re-written that sodding book from scratch three times. Villains, however, wasn’t far off the final product first time round.
What inspired you to write 13 Steps to Evil?
Honestly? I was pissed off with the lack of decent female villains. They were all so clichéd. So, I started investigating villains and learning everything I could about them. And like everything I’ve learned on my journey to ‘authordom,’ I’ve blogged it. I was fortunate enough my series of posts on villains proved really popular. That told me something. It told me that I wasn’t alone in wanting to create better villains and if people were visiting little ol’ me to get the knowledge then there clearly wasn’t enough knowledge out there on it. So, the seed was sown for 13 Steps To Evil.
What made you feel there was an open niche in the market for this type of book?
Research. I know there’s that whole awkward should-we, shouldn’t-we on ‘writing to market’ buuuuuuut I want to write full time, and if that means doing a bit of writing to marketing to fund the dreamy fictional worlds that fill my brain, then so be it. I looked at the market and discovered that although there were lots of blog posts about writing villains, there were only a couple of books out there that covered the topic specifically. None of which were as in depth as I would have liked as a reader.
Do you feel there’s a particular issue writers struggle with when writing about villains that you address in this book?
I think so. It comes at villain-creation from a different angle. For a start, it’s based on a myth-busting concept. Your hero is not the most important character in your book. Your villain is.
Most writers have hero-worship syndrome. Blindly concentrating on their hero and forgetting that a novel isn’t just one character. 13 Steps To Evil tries to blow that concept apart by suggesting the villain is actually the most important character in an author’s book. Why? Because a villain is the source of conflict, and without conflict, there is no story and no need for a hero.
Regarding the issues, it covers everything step by step to help writers build their villain from the ground up.
I love your sense of and writing style. Can readers expect to find some of your ‘witty’ narration you are known for in this book?
Abso-fucking-lutely. Haha! I’m like the queen of awkwardly odd metaphors. I genuinely considered putting an ‘explicit lyrics’ label on the cover. It’s less bad words and more the unusual way of describing things that might get people’s backs up.
The point is, this isn’t a stuffy textbook. I purposely use really well-known character examples from books, film, and TV because most people will have heard of all, or at least most of the examples and examples make things easier to understand. But without a doubt, I sprinkle and splash a little of my humor and sarcasm all over the book!
How will your book benefit other writers?
The book is an easy to understand, step by step guide to creating Superbad villains. Each step has bite size chunks of info a summary and a couple of useful questions/exercises. There’s also a free checklist to go with the book. Eventually, I’m going to finish the short course I’m creating, and I also have a Facebook group for readers/subscribers where they can discuss their ideas/feedback with each other, and I will be in there helping as well. 13 Steps To Evil will take writers from the basic thief all the way up to their ultimate warlord.
Do you have a favorite villain?
SUCH a hard question. I’m going to cheat because I secretly favor anti-heroes over villains. The first anti-hero I ever fell in love with was Beetlejuice; I secretly wanted to wear his stripy suit! But recently, I fell in love with Deadpool too; I love his ego and outrageous sense of humor. Then there’s Loki, Patrick Bateman, Dexter, argh. There are so many. If I answer the actual question and we talk pure villain, then one of the best has to be Hannibal Lecter, surely?
Do you see yourself writing more ‘how to’ nonfiction books in the future?
Hell yeah, I’m bringing out a workbook version of 13 Steps To Evil shortly. After that I’m not sure, I considered a ‘hero’ companion book, but I want to make sure I’m writing books people need and want. Whatever happens, I’m not stopping with 13 Steps. There will be more!
I hope you all enjoyed learning about Sacha and her writing and works. And I would highly recommend her book How to Craft Superbad Villains – 13 Steps To Evil for all writers who want to fine tune their hero and villain writing. It was a treat having Sacha over here today!
Connect with Sacha:
Non-fiction Website: www.sachablack.co.uk
Fiction Website: www.sachablackbooks.com
Facebook: Sacha Black author page
Pinterest: Pinterest profile
Instagram: Sacha Black profile
Goodreads non-fiction: Sacha Black profile
Goodreads fiction: Sacha de Black profile
Tumblr: Sacha Black profile
Google+: Sacha black profile
Linkedin: Linkedin Profile
Information About The Book
Title: 13 Steps To Evil – How To Craft Superbad Villains
Where is it published: Amazon, Kobo, Nook, iBooks, Tolino, Barnes and Noble, inktera
No of Pages: 222
Release Date: 30th May
Formats: Paperback and eBook
Purchase from: All good retailers, but universal link to all bookstores is here.
Amazon Author Page
And I would love to add that Sacha runs one of the most newsworthy newsletters for writers. Check out her newsletter and subscribe HERE