1. Awesome Sites and Links for Writers

    ghostflowerdreams:

    Just about every writer out there has several go-to websites that they use when it comes to their writing. Be it for creativity, writer’s block, to put you in the mood or general writing help. These are mine and I listed them in hopes that you’ll find something that you’ll like or will find something useful for you. I’ve also included some websites that sound interesting.

    Spelling & Grammar

    • Grammar Girl — Grammar Girl’s famous Quick and Dirty Tips (delivered via blog or podcast) will help you keep your creative writing error free.
    • The Owl — is Purdue University’s Online Writing Lab (OWL) it’s a great resource for grammar guides, style tips and other information that can help with your writing, especially academics.
    • Tip of My Tongue — have you ever had trouble of thinking of a specific word that you can’t remember what it is? Well, this site will help you narrow down your thoughts and find that word you’ve been looking for. It can be extremely frustrating when you have to stop writing because you get a stuck on a word, so this should help cut that down. 
    • Free Rice – is a great way to test your vocabulary knowledge. What’s even better about this site is that with every correct answer, they donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. So, please disable your adblock since they use the ads on the site to generate the money to buy the rice.
    • HyperGrammar — the University of Ottawa offers up a one-stop guide for proper spelling, structure, and punctuation on this site.
    • AutoCrit — the AutoCrit Editing Wizard can check writing for grammar errors, clichés and other no-no’s. It also provides a number of other writing resources as well.
    • Writer’s Digest — learn how to improve your writing, find an agent, and even get published with the help of the varied blogs on this site.
    • Syntaxis — it allows you to test your knowledge of grammar with a ten-question quiz. The questions change every time you take the quiz so users are sure to be challenged each time around. It definitely helps writers know if there’s something that they need to brush up on.
    • Word Frequency Counterthis counter allows you to count the frequency usage of each word in your text.

    Tools

    • Copyscape — is a free service that you can use to learn if anyone has plagiarized your work. It’s pretty useful for those that want to check for fanfiction plagiarism.
    • Write or Die —  is an application for Windows, Mac and Linux which aims to eliminate writer’s block by providing consequences for procrastination.
    • Written? Kitten! — is just like Write of Die, but it’s a kinder version. They use positive reinforcement, so everytime you reach a goal they reward you with an adorable picture of a kitten.

    Information & Data

    • RefDesk — it has an enormous collection of reference materials, searchable databases and other great resources that can’t be found anywhere else. It’s great to use when you need to find something and check your facts.
    • Bib Me — it makes it easy to create citations, build bibliographies and acknowledge other people’s work. This is definitely something that academics will love. It’s basically a bibliography generator that automatically fills in a works cited page in MLA, APA, Chicago or Turbian formats.
    • Internet Public Library — this online library is full of resources that are free for anyone to use, from newspaper and magazine articles to special collections.
    • The Library of Congress — if you’re looking for primary documents and information, the Library of Congress is a great place to start. It has millions of items in its archives, many of which are accessible right from the website.
    • Social Security Administration: Popular Baby Names — is the most accurate list of popular names from 1879 to the present. If your character is from America and you need a name for them, this gives you a accurate list of names, just pick the state or decade that your character is from.
    • WebMD — is a handy medical database loaded with information. It’s not a substitute for a doctor, but can give you a lot of good information on diseases, symptoms, treatments, etc.
    • Google Scholaris an online, freely accessible search engine that lets users look for both physical and digital copies of articles. It searches a wide variety of sources, including academic publishers, universities, and preprint depositories and so on. While Google Scholar does search for print and online scholarly information, it is important to understand that the resource is not a database.
    • The Old Farmer’s Almanac — this classic almanac offers yearly information on astronomical events, weather conditions and forecasts, recipes, and gardening tips.
    • State Health FactsKaiser Family Foundation provides this database, full of health facts on a state-by-state basis that address everything from medicare to women’s health.
    • U.S. Census BureauLearn more about the trends and demographics of America with information drawn from the Census Bureau’s online site.
    • Wikipedia — this shouldn’t be used as your sole source, but it can be a great way to get basic information and find out where to look for additional references.
    • Finding Data on the Internet — a great site that list links that can tell you where you can find the inflation rate, crime statistics, and other data.

    Word References

    • RhymeZone — whether you’re writing poetry, songs, or something else entirely, you can get help rhyming words with this site.
    • Acronym Finder — with more than 565,000 human-edited entries, Acronym Finder is the world’s largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initials.
    • Symbols.com — is a unique online encyclopedia that contains everything about symbols, signs, flags and glyphs arranged by categories such as culture, country, religion, and more. 
    • OneLook Reverse Dictionary — is a dictionary that lets you describe a concept and get back a list of words and phrases related to that concept. Your description can be a few words, a sentence, a question, or even just a single word. 
    • The Alternative Dictionaries — is a site that you can look up slang words in all types of languages, including Egyptian Arabic, Cherokee, Cantonese, Norwegian and many, many others.
    • Online Etymology Dictionary — it gives you the history and derivation of any word. Etymologies are not definitions; they’re explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago.
    • MediLexicon — is a comprehensive dictionary of medical, pharmaceutical, biomedical, and health care abbreviations and acronyms.
    • Merriam Webster Online – the online version of the classic dictionary also provides a thesaurus and a medical dictionary.
    • Multilingual Dictionary – that translate whatever you need from 30 different languages with this easy-to-use site.

    Writing Software

    • Open Office — why pay for Microsoft products when you can create free documents with Open Office? This open source software provides similar tools to the Microsoft Office Suite, including spreadsheets, a word processor, the ability to create multimedia presentations, and more.
    • LibreOfficeis a free and open source office suite. It was forked from OpenOffice.org in 2010, which was an open-sourced version of the earlier StarOffice. The LibreOffice suite comprises programs to do word processing, spreadsheets, slideshows, diagrams and drawings, maintain databases, and compose math formula.
    • Scrivener — is not a free program, but it’s certainly a very popular one. It’s great for organizing research, planning drafts, and writing novels, articles, short stories, and even screenplays.
    • OmmWriteris a free simple text processor that gives you a distraction free environment. So you can focus only on your writing without being tempted or distracted by other programs on your computer.
    • Evernoteis a free app for your smartphone and computer that stores everything you could possibly imagine losing track of, like a boarding pass, receipt, article you want to read, to do list, or even a simple typed note. The app works brilliantly, keeping everything in sync between your computer, smartphone, or tablet. It’s definitely a useful app for writers when you have ideas on the go.
    • Storybook — this open source software can make it easier to manage your plotlines, characters, data, and other critical information while penning a novel.
    • Script Frenzy — scriptwriters will appreciate this software. It offers an easy layout that helps outline plots as well as providing storyboard features, index cards, and even sound and photo integration.

    Creativity, Fun & Miscellaneous

    • National Novel Writing Month — is one of the most well-known writing challenges in the writing community, National Novel Writing Month pushes you to write 50,000 words in 30 days (for the whole month of November).
    • WritingFix — a fun site that creates writing prompts on the spot. The site currently has several options—prompts for right-brained people, for left-brained people, for kids—and is working to add prompts on classic literature, music and more.
    • Creative Writing Prompts — the site is exactly what it says. They have 100+ and more, of prompts that you can choose from.
    • My Fonts — is the world’s largest collection of fonts. You can even upload an image containing a font that you like, and this tells you what it is.
    • Story Starters — this website offers over one trillion randomly generated story starters for creative writers.
    • The Gutenberg Project — this site is perfect for those who like to read and/or have an ereader. There’s over 33,000 ebooks you can download for free. 
    • The Imagination Prompt Generator  Click through the prompts to generate different ideas in response to questions like “Is there a God?” and “If your tears could speak to you, what would they say?”
    • The Phrase Finder – this handy site helps you hunt down famous phrases, along with their origins. It also offers a phrase thesaurus that can help you create headlines, lyrics, and much more.
    • Storybird – this site allows you to write a picture book. They provided the gorgeous artwork and you create the story for it, or just read the stories that others have created.
    • Language Is a Virus — the automatic prompt generator on this site can provide writers with an endless number of creative writing prompts. Other resources include writing exercises and information on dozens of different authors.

    Background Noise/Music

    • SimplyNoise — a free white noise sounds that you can use to drown out everything around you and help you focus on your writing.
    • Rainy Mood — from the same founders of Simply Noise, this website offers the pleasant sound of rain and thunderstorms. There’s a slide volume control, which you can increase the intensity of the noise (gentle shower to heavy storm), thunder mode (often, few, rare), oscillation button, and a sleep timer. 
    • Coffitivity — a site that provides three background noises: Morning Murmur (a gentle hum), Lunchtime Lounge (bustling chatter), and University Undertones (campus cafe). A pause button is provided whenever you need a bladder break, and a sliding volume control to give you the freedom to find the perfect level for your needs and moods. It’s also available as an android app, iOS app, and for Mac desktop.
    • Rainy Cafeit provides background chatter in coffee shops (similar to Coffitivity) AND the sound of rain (similar to Simply Rain). There’s also individual volume and on/off control for each sound category.
    • 8tracksis an internet radio website and everyone can listen for free. Unlike other music oriented social network such as Pandora or Spotify, 8tracks does’t have commercial interruption. Users create free accounts and can either browse the site and listen to other user-created mixes, and/or they can create their own mixes. It’s a perfect place to listen to other writer’s playlist, share yours or find music for specific characters or moods.
     
  2. 5 Character Points You May be Ignoring

    writingbox:

    You don’t need to describe your character down to the finest detail; let your reader do some imagining of their own (they seem to enjoy that!) But there are a few character points that affect how they interact with their world which you can reveal through action.

    1. Height: Do they need to duck through doorways, or bend to speak to their friends? Do they struggle to reach the top shelf in the supermarket? The way they cope with these things reveal how they feel about their height. Do they compensate by wearing heels or by slouching?
    2. Weight: Do they easily slip through small spaces and crowds? Or do they avoid sitting on flimsy-looking furniture? Do they suffer backache from pulling their stomach in all day, or do they wear layers to try and look bulkier?
    3. Eyesight: How well can they see distances or read small print? Do they proudly wear glasses, do they go more subtle with contact lenses, or are they in complete denial?
    4. Smell: Do they douse themselves in perfume or do people shy away from their sweaty smell? Do they realise what they smell like, or are they oblivious?
    5. Walk: Does the way they walk make them stand out, or blend in with the crowd? Do they look ahead or walk looking at their feet? How big is their stride, how big are their feet, and how does this affect the way they move around their world?

    These are all things that can be used to reveal character, impact plot and affect the setting.

    Think about how happy your character is with their physical attributes. Do they hide them because they’ve suffered years of bullying, or are they proud of who they are and have little care for what others think?

     
  3.  
  4. ilovereadingandwriting:

(via Writing)
     
  5. If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.
    — Anais Nin  (via ilovereadingandwriting)
     
  6. image: Download

    (Source: mariannapaige)

     
  7. image: Download

    (Source: unboundbooks)

     
  8. thewritingcafe:

Every good story needs a villain, whether it’s a physical or a metaphorical villain.
Name:

If you really want your villain to stick out, give him or her a good name. It should be something that strikes a chord with the reader, something that fits with the story. It can be mundane or it can be unique, but it should still fit.
A lot of villains will have an alias, but be careful when using these. There are two main types of aliases:
Epithet: These aliases aren’t actual names and can be tricky to master. “The Dark Lord” is really overdone and stuff like “The Annihilator” is just…lame. Then there’s also nicknames like “scarface” that have a specific story behind them. If you give your villain a name like this, there should be a reason for it.
A Name: Some villains have a fake name or two. They can use it in their daily life to get around without notice or they can be known as the villain under this name. Voldemort reigns under that name and not his legal name, Tom Riddle. But he also had a reason for choosing Voldemort (it was an anagram of his real name).
The name should match the setting and time. If your villain was born in America during the early nineteenth century, his or her name should be relevant to that time and place.

If you want the name to have a meaning that matches the character, do some research. Using this method is a bit harder because if you want the name to have a specific meaning, it still has to match the setting, time, and possibly the background of the character. However, in worlds other than our own, you can play around with this as much as you want.

If you want your villain’s name to sound like the character’s personality or appearance, try naming your characters with alliterations before you settle on a name. For example: Sly Severus, evil Elvira, ripped Rocky, etc. You can also make the name sound similar to a certain aspect of the character, such as Hannibal Lecter, or you can use a pun within the name.

But then you also have the mundane and common names that end up being memorable such as Annie Wilkes and Michael Myers.

Background:

If your villain is an actual character, he or she will have had a childhood (if the character is not a child). Your character’s upbringing it vital. While your readers do not have to know everything, it helps the writer to know as much as possible about his or her characters to write them accurately and in character.
The background of your villain may establish fears or reluctant behavior. It could even be the source of anger or revenge.

Personality:

Your villain can’t be a stock character. It’s boring and it’s lazy writing. Your character needs vices, virtues, quirks, and morals. The villains need a personality too.
Think of your villain’s background to establish personality and use your villain’s personality to establish how he or she carries out evil deeds. If your villain is violent, he or she may torture other characters. If your villain is charming and persuading, he or she may use the psychological approach to strike fear or hatred.
Traits of Effective Villains (2) 
3 Traits Your Hero and Villain Should Share
Finding Your Character’s Shadow

Morality:

All villains will be corrupt in the eyes of the opposing force. To understand what makes a great villain, you must understand that morality is the key to your villain.
Establish the Morality: If your story takes place in another world, another culture, the past, or the future, the morality will be different from what it is in your culture. Either research the culture you’re writing about if it is a real culture or make a morality scale if you’re writing about a fictional culture.
Moral Developments: There are three levels of moral development and six stages within those. The idea behind this theory of moral development is that morality continuously changes throughout life. The same should be true for your characters, especially your villain. You should know all about your villain’s morality and how they got there. When filling out character questionnaires that involve moral questions, think more about why your villain would give that answer than the answer itself.
Level One, Preconventional:
Stage One: The first stage is obedience and punishment. Those in this stage obey rules to avoid punishment. This stage is most common in children, but may occur in adults as well.
Stage Two: The second stage is individualism and exchange. Those in this stage base moral decisions on whether they get something out of it or not. Individual needs are considered above all.
Level Two, Conventional:
Stage Three: The third stage is interpersonal relationships. Those in this stage fill expectations for how they are supposed to act. The “goody-two-shoes” personality is common in this stage and moral decisions are based on how those choices will affect relationships and social expectations.
Stage Four: The fourth stage is maintaining social order. Those in this stage consider society as a whole while making moral decisions. Decisions are based on what follows the law and respects authority.
Level Three, Postconventional:
Stage Five: The fifth stage is social contract and individual rights. Those in this stage recognize differing opinions and values and base morality on the majority of what society agrees on.
Stage Six: The last stage is universal principles. Those in this stage base decisions on their own morals and ethics even if it goes against the law.
The Nine Alignments: If you know anything about D&D, you probably know about the nine alignments. Or if you known about the alignment meme, then you know about the nine alignments.


The Lawful: Lawful characters are honorable to their values whether those values are ethical or not. They believe everything has a set of rules and that those rules should be followed no matter what. Lawful characters put the needs of the group in front of the needs of an individual. However, these characters may be small minded and stubborn to change. For example, Hank Hill from King of the Hill is a lawful character because he greatly respects authority, the law, the government, and a hardworking person. Another character, Lucky, who is from the same show is also a lawful character because he has a set of personal values and morals that he follows, but they differ greatly from Hank Hill’s morals and values.
The Lawful Good, “The Crusader”: The lawful good character is essentially a saint. These characters act how one is expected to. Serving justice is a main priority of these characters, but so is helping those in need and following a set of morals or values. Castiel from Supernatural would be considered this type of character when he makes his first few appearances. Other characters include: Batman, Indiana Jones, and Captain America. More Information
The Lawful Neutral, “The Judge”: This character strongly believes in the law, honorable values, and a personal set of morals. These characters are disciplined and strictly adhere to the law to maintain order. The moral consciousness of these characters is neutral in regards to what the law or tradition calls for. For example, someone may feel as though same-sex marriage is wrong due to their religion, but he or she may also agree that religion should have no say in government affairs and will therefore be in favor of same-sex marriage as a legal bonding. More Information
The Lawful Evil, “Dominator”: These characters follow their own set of morals, values, and ethics no matter what the law is. They work around the law and find loopholes, even when taking instructions from authority. These characters are selfish and do not care for the rights or freedoms of others. Rules are important to these characters, but the consequences of harmful laws are not as long as they do not affect the character. These characters are often tyrants and rulers. More Information
The Chaotic: Chaotic characters have freedom and flexibility, but reckless. The “rebellious teenager” is a typical chaotic character, as they stand up against authority and prefer personal freedom. However, these characters may also be egotistical and irresponsible. They are more likely to make mistakes because they think too fast and disregard others. These characters do not believe in coincidence and they believe the law is meant to be broken.

The Chaotic Good, “Rebel”: These characters listen to their gut and their conscience. These characters are good in nature and do not let others influence their actions. While these characters do what is right and good for social improvement, they disregard the law, the rules, and societal expectations. More Information
The Chaotic Neutral, “Free Spirit”: This character is similar to the chaotic good, but is more about the individual than the group. These characters are promoters of freedom and work with those who happen to share the same values and motives. While these characters are most often disorganized, they may have a main goal in mind. More Information.
The Chaotic Evil, “Destroyer”: These characters are selfish and will do anything to get what they want. They are often violent, unpredictable, and have no regard for the lives or freedoms of others. These characters are considered the quintessence of evil. More Information.

The Neutral: Neutral characters are a balance between lawful and chaotic. This is the yin and yang of morality. Neutral characters believe the forces of good and evil must work together.

The Neutral Good, “Benefactor”: These characters are kind, generous, and do all they can to benefit the world. These characters have no favor for or against laws, rules, guidelines, or tradition. More Information
The Neutral, “Undecided”: These characters do whatever seems good and right. These characters are either the balance between all or the absence of all. More Information
The Neutral Evil, “Malefactor”: These characters do not intend to harm, do not follow rules if it is not beneficial to them, and do whatever they can get away with. These characters think of themselves more than the group. Sawyer from Lost is an example. More Information

Alignment Test (2) (3)
Another Chart
Final Notes: Moral development is not strictly social. There are several factors that influence a person’s morality and psychopaths are aware of morals and the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t care.

Motive:

Your villain needs a motive. You can’t just have some angry dude who wants to take over the world with no explanation.
Here are some basic motives:
The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few: Some villains have the motive of serving the greater good or serving what they believe is the greater good. These villains work toward a major goal for a group of people rather than an individual.
Every Villain is a Hero: Some villains are the heroes. In A Song of Ice and Fire, many of the POV characters view themselves as heroes although other characters view them as villains. These villains are more neutral in terms of morality and often fail to see the harm they do. The motive behind these characters is for personal or group needs and morals.
Everyone is a Hero in their Own Way: These villains like to image of being a hero, but are underlying villains. They parade around as heroes and great people and many believe that they are. Only few know their true nature. Therefore, these characters have the motive of being a hero, but do not care how reckless they are. The version of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight Rises is this type of villain even though he is dead. A few people knew that he was a villain while the majority of Gotham City viewed him as a martyr.


Off Screen Time:

If your villain only shows up when convenient for the plot and is never heard of again, you might have a problem. What are they doing between appearances? Do they have other enemies or duties to take care of?
If your villain spends all his or her time plotting against your protagonist, your villain will probably have a large advantage when it comes to defeating the protagonist.


Avoid:

Words and Phrases:
Minions
Fools
Weakling
Appearance:
Wearing all black all the time (unless you have a good reason).
A visible scar for no reason at all.
So super sexy that no one can resist his or her evil ways.
Always looks good no matter what.
Mannerisms:
Hissing
Cackling
Laughing maniacally 
Other:
Let Me Tell You About My Plan: Sometimes this is done well, but most of the time it’s not. When your protagonist is in the grasp of the villain, the villain shouldn’t go on about his or her evil plan in great depth. A quick mention is all you need. The Joker does this really well because it just works with him. He doesn’t have any premise he just improvises and he’s good at it.
Speeches: I think we’re all sick of villains who gather their minions and then give a massive speech. Again, sometimes this is done well if there is a purpose behind the speech, but other times it’s used as an info dump.
More Things to Avoid (2)


Why? How?

The most important question you must answer is why this character is a villain. You must answer why this character opposes the protagonist and why this character does what he or she does.
Refer to the points above about morality, personality, motive, and background to map out why your villain became a villain.
But you also have to answer why your villain is a villain to the protagonist. Your villain, if deliberately chasing the protagonist, needs a reason. There needs to be a great need and motive.
You must also answer how this character became a villain. Was it gradual? Sudden? Was there one final event that pushed this character into become a villain?

Sympathize:

Put a hint of doubt in your reader, make them sympathize with the villain. Give them good qualities that are admirable to make your readers and other characters question what they once thought. Put both your characters and your reader in a state of crisis by showing that your villain has humanity.

Make your villain as complex as your protagonist. Make your villain change. Challenge your villain just as you do the other characters. There are no excuses for flat, static, and stereotypical villains.
More resources:
Villains
Creating Villains People Love to Hate
Complex Villains
Nine Villains in Literature and Film
Sympathetic Villains

    thewritingcafe:

    Every good story needs a villain, whether it’s a physical or a metaphorical villain.

    Name:

    If you really want your villain to stick out, give him or her a good name. It should be something that strikes a chord with the reader, something that fits with the story. It can be mundane or it can be unique, but it should still fit.

    A lot of villains will have an alias, but be careful when using these. There are two main types of aliases:

    • Epithet: These aliases aren’t actual names and can be tricky to master. “The Dark Lord” is really overdone and stuff like “The Annihilator” is just…lame. Then there’s also nicknames like “scarface” that have a specific story behind them. If you give your villain a name like this, there should be a reason for it.
    • A Name: Some villains have a fake name or two. They can use it in their daily life to get around without notice or they can be known as the villain under this name. Voldemort reigns under that name and not his legal name, Tom Riddle. But he also had a reason for choosing Voldemort (it was an anagram of his real name).
    The name should match the setting and time. If your villain was born in America during the early nineteenth century, his or her name should be relevant to that time and place.
    If you want the name to have a meaning that matches the character, do some research. Using this method is a bit harder because if you want the name to have a specific meaning, it still has to match the setting, time, and possibly the background of the character. However, in worlds other than our own, you can play around with this as much as you want.
    If you want your villain’s name to sound like the character’s personality or appearance, try naming your characters with alliterations before you settle on a name. For example: Sly Severus, evil Elvira, ripped Rocky, etc. You can also make the name sound similar to a certain aspect of the character, such as Hannibal Lecter, or you can use a pun within the name.
    But then you also have the mundane and common names that end up being memorable such as Annie Wilkes and Michael Myers.

    Background:

    If your villain is an actual character, he or she will have had a childhood (if the character is not a child). Your character’s upbringing it vital. While your readers do not have to know everything, it helps the writer to know as much as possible about his or her characters to write them accurately and in character.

    The background of your villain may establish fears or reluctant behavior. It could even be the source of anger or revenge.

    Personality:

    Your villain can’t be a stock character. It’s boring and it’s lazy writing. Your character needs vices, virtues, quirks, and morals. The villains need a personality too.

    Think of your villain’s background to establish personality and use your villain’s personality to establish how he or she carries out evil deeds. If your villain is violent, he or she may torture other characters. If your villain is charming and persuading, he or she may use the psychological approach to strike fear or hatred.

    Traits of Effective Villains (2

    3 Traits Your Hero and Villain Should Share

    Finding Your Character’s Shadow

    Morality:

    All villains will be corrupt in the eyes of the opposing force. To understand what makes a great villain, you must understand that morality is the key to your villain.

    Establish the Morality: If your story takes place in another world, another culture, the past, or the future, the morality will be different from what it is in your culture. Either research the culture you’re writing about if it is a real culture or make a morality scale if you’re writing about a fictional culture.

    Moral Developments: There are three levels of moral development and six stages within those. The idea behind this theory of moral development is that morality continuously changes throughout life. The same should be true for your characters, especially your villain. You should know all about your villain’s morality and how they got there. When filling out character questionnaires that involve moral questions, think more about why your villain would give that answer than the answer itself.

    Level One, Preconventional:

    • Stage One: The first stage is obedience and punishment. Those in this stage obey rules to avoid punishment. This stage is most common in children, but may occur in adults as well.
    • Stage Two: The second stage is individualism and exchange. Those in this stage base moral decisions on whether they get something out of it or not. Individual needs are considered above all.

    Level Two, Conventional:

    • Stage Three: The third stage is interpersonal relationships. Those in this stage fill expectations for how they are supposed to act. The “goody-two-shoes” personality is common in this stage and moral decisions are based on how those choices will affect relationships and social expectations.
    • Stage Four: The fourth stage is maintaining social order. Those in this stage consider society as a whole while making moral decisions. Decisions are based on what follows the law and respects authority.

    Level Three, Postconventional:

    • Stage Five: The fifth stage is social contract and individual rights. Those in this stage recognize differing opinions and values and base morality on the majority of what society agrees on.
    • Stage Six: The last stage is universal principles. Those in this stage base decisions on their own morals and ethics even if it goes against the law.

    The Nine Alignments: If you know anything about D&D, you probably know about the nine alignments. Or if you known about the alignment meme, then you know about the nine alignments.

    The Lawful: Lawful characters are honorable to their values whether those values are ethical or not. They believe everything has a set of rules and that those rules should be followed no matter what. Lawful characters put the needs of the group in front of the needs of an individual. However, these characters may be small minded and stubborn to change. For example, Hank Hill from King of the Hill is a lawful character because he greatly respects authority, the law, the government, and a hardworking person. Another character, Lucky, who is from the same show is also a lawful character because he has a set of personal values and morals that he follows, but they differ greatly from Hank Hill’s morals and values.

    • The Lawful Good, “The Crusader”: The lawful good character is essentially a saint. These characters act how one is expected to. Serving justice is a main priority of these characters, but so is helping those in need and following a set of morals or values. Castiel from Supernatural would be considered this type of character when he makes his first few appearances. Other characters include: Batman, Indiana Jones, and Captain America. More Information
    • The Lawful Neutral, “The Judge”: This character strongly believes in the law, honorable values, and a personal set of morals. These characters are disciplined and strictly adhere to the law to maintain order. The moral consciousness of these characters is neutral in regards to what the law or tradition calls for. For example, someone may feel as though same-sex marriage is wrong due to their religion, but he or she may also agree that religion should have no say in government affairs and will therefore be in favor of same-sex marriage as a legal bonding. More Information
    • The Lawful Evil, “Dominator”: These characters follow their own set of morals, values, and ethics no matter what the law is. They work around the law and find loopholes, even when taking instructions from authority. These characters are selfish and do not care for the rights or freedoms of others. Rules are important to these characters, but the consequences of harmful laws are not as long as they do not affect the character. These characters are often tyrants and rulers. More Information
    The Chaotic: Chaotic characters have freedom and flexibility, but reckless. The “rebellious teenager” is a typical chaotic character, as they stand up against authority and prefer personal freedom. However, these characters may also be egotistical and irresponsible. They are more likely to make mistakes because they think too fast and disregard others. These characters do not believe in coincidence and they believe the law is meant to be broken.
    • The Chaotic Good, “Rebel”: These characters listen to their gut and their conscience. These characters are good in nature and do not let others influence their actions. While these characters do what is right and good for social improvement, they disregard the law, the rules, and societal expectations. More Information
    • The Chaotic Neutral, “Free Spirit”: This character is similar to the chaotic good, but is more about the individual than the group. These characters are promoters of freedom and work with those who happen to share the same values and motives. While these characters are most often disorganized, they may have a main goal in mind. More Information.
    • The Chaotic Evil, “Destroyer”: These characters are selfish and will do anything to get what they want. They are often violent, unpredictable, and have no regard for the lives or freedoms of others. These characters are considered the quintessence of evil. More Information.
    The Neutral: Neutral characters are a balance between lawful and chaotic. This is the yin and yang of morality. Neutral characters believe the forces of good and evil must work together.
    • The Neutral Good, “Benefactor”: These characters are kind, generous, and do all they can to benefit the world. These characters have no favor for or against laws, rules, guidelines, or tradition. More Information
    • The Neutral, “Undecided”: These characters do whatever seems good and right. These characters are either the balance between all or the absence of all. More Information
    • The Neutral Evil, “Malefactor”: These characters do not intend to harm, do not follow rules if it is not beneficial to them, and do whatever they can get away with. These characters think of themselves more than the group. Sawyer from Lost is an example. More Information

    Alignment Test (2) (3)

    Another Chart

    Final Notes: Moral development is not strictly social. There are several factors that influence a person’s morality and psychopaths are aware of morals and the difference between right and wrong, they just don’t care.

    Motive:

    Your villain needs a motive. You can’t just have some angry dude who wants to take over the world with no explanation.

    Here are some basic motives:

    • The Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few: Some villains have the motive of serving the greater good or serving what they believe is the greater good. These villains work toward a major goal for a group of people rather than an individual.
    • Every Villain is a Hero: Some villains are the heroes. In A Song of Ice and Fire, many of the POV characters view themselves as heroes although other characters view them as villains. These villains are more neutral in terms of morality and often fail to see the harm they do. The motive behind these characters is for personal or group needs and morals.
    • Everyone is a Hero in their Own Way: These villains like to image of being a hero, but are underlying villains. They parade around as heroes and great people and many believe that they are. Only few know their true nature. Therefore, these characters have the motive of being a hero, but do not care how reckless they are. The version of Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight Rises is this type of villain even though he is dead. A few people knew that he was a villain while the majority of Gotham City viewed him as a martyr.

    Off Screen Time:

    If your villain only shows up when convenient for the plot and is never heard of again, you might have a problem. What are they doing between appearances? Do they have other enemies or duties to take care of?

    If your villain spends all his or her time plotting against your protagonist, your villain will probably have a large advantage when it comes to defeating the protagonist.

    Avoid:

    Words and Phrases:

    • Minions
    • Fools
    • Weakling

    Appearance:

    • Wearing all black all the time (unless you have a good reason).
    • A visible scar for no reason at all.
    • So super sexy that no one can resist his or her evil ways.
    • Always looks good no matter what.

    Mannerisms:

    • Hissing
    • Cackling
    • Laughing maniacally 

    Other:

    • Let Me Tell You About My Plan: Sometimes this is done well, but most of the time it’s not. When your protagonist is in the grasp of the villain, the villain shouldn’t go on about his or her evil plan in great depth. A quick mention is all you need. The Joker does this really well because it just works with him. He doesn’t have any premise he just improvises and he’s good at it.
    • Speeches: I think we’re all sick of villains who gather their minions and then give a massive speech. Again, sometimes this is done well if there is a purpose behind the speech, but other times it’s used as an info dump.
    • More Things to Avoid (2)

    Why? How?

    The most important question you must answer is why this character is a villain. You must answer why this character opposes the protagonist and why this character does what he or she does.

    Refer to the points above about morality, personality, motive, and background to map out why your villain became a villain.

    But you also have to answer why your villain is a villain to the protagonist. Your villain, if deliberately chasing the protagonist, needs a reason. There needs to be a great need and motive.

    You must also answer how this character became a villain. Was it gradual? Sudden? Was there one final event that pushed this character into become a villain?

    Sympathize:

    Put a hint of doubt in your reader, make them sympathize with the villain. Give them good qualities that are admirable to make your readers and other characters question what they once thought. Put both your characters and your reader in a state of crisis by showing that your villain has humanity.

    Make your villain as complex as your protagonist. Make your villain change. Challenge your villain just as you do the other characters. There are no excuses for flat, static, and stereotypical villains.

    More resources:

     
  9. Fiction is about feeling, which is to say that short stories are about all of us.
    — Tom Bailey (via writersrelief)
     
  10. katy-133:

123 Ideas for Character Flaws