Life in progress


Likeable Villains – Opinions Wanted

I’m back home from my weekend in Ottawa where I had a chance to do some writing. With the work I accomplished, I’ve arrived home with a question for all my followers who are fiction lovers. But first a little information.

I have a new villain in the sequel to my novel and I’m finding I like her. She’s as sharp and witty as she is rotten to the core. So far, 40,000 words into the novel, she has yet to show how bad she can be. My question to you is, have you ever loved a villain despite the fact that they’re cruel and horrible people? Is what I’m doing a no-no?

In the comments, please let me know if you’ve ever read (or seen in a movie) a villain you’ve liked – who you’ve been excited to see when they turned up in a scene.

P.S. I’ll be answering all the comments from the weekend and reading as many of the SoCS entries as I can after I put Alex to bed. Thanks to everyone for your contributions to both!



The Most Important Thing in Fiction

The mark of an excellent novel, in my opinion, is made by how much I fall into the story and its world and how much I care about the characters. There’s really nothing quite like a book that I don’t want to put down. You know the kind – they’re the ones that leave you sad when they end.

I was thinking about the elements that go into such a story and it occurred to me that for me, it’s the author’s ability to leave things out. Description, in too much detail, takes away my need to imagine them. But having said that, it’s only certain things I don’t want described to me.

If a land, for instance, is extremely foreign then I need as much detail as I can get. But certain actions… Take sex scenes for instance. I find them much more erotic if they are sparsely described than if they are laid out like a users’ manual, unless there is something particularly unusual about the scene. Another one for me is the description of characters. Even if someone is described in minute detail, I tend to get my own impression of their appearance and I think a lot of what I imagine has to do with their character itself, for instance whether they are a villain or a lover. It’s like when I talk to someone on the phone on a daily basis – I get an idea of what he or she looks like based on their voice and the way they talk. It’s usually a shock to see what the person actually looks like!

The point is, it’s the lack of description in many cases that makes me think–makes me imagine more–and this is what draws me in. If I’m able to place a modicum of my own experience into a world I’m reading about, it becomes mine. It becomes a place I love to be, populated with people I can truly envision.

What do you like left out of the stories you read? Do you have a favourite thing you like to envision for yourself?