Fill out this worksheet and keep it in your writing journal. Whenever you feel yourself growing bored with your work in progress, take it out and add a dash of something you love to brighten up your writing.
Your antagonist* is tired of being compared to your protagonist. Give him / her some love with this worksheet.
While this worksheet has been designed for antagonists who are characters, remember that this needn’t always be the case! Also works for your real-life antagonists…
More Ways to Understand Your Antagonist
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Whether your character is locked up in a dungeon with her hands chained to the wall, or she’s hemmed in by the walls of your plot closing in around her, this worksheet will come to the rescue!
I used this worksheet to save my heroine when she was left bound and gagged in an underground cavern in chapter 4 of The Floral Underworld!
I’m very picky with my contemporary reading choices, and my steampunk preferences tend to run contrary to the current paranormal trend, but happily there is now so much indie fiction available for consumption (combustion?), that I do find some great reads. Here are a couple of steampunk novellas (the first of their respective series) which I have recently enjoyed and heartily recommend. Both are set miles away from dreary, gaslit London…
Murder Out of the Blue by Steve Turnbull
UK: Murder out of the Blue (Maliha Anderson)
US: Murder out of the Blue (Maliha Anderson)
The heroine of this Edwardian steampunk whodunnit is Maliha Anderson, a half-English, half-Indian nineteen-year-old with a mysterious past. Contending with racism, sexism, and a leg wound, she nevertheless sets out to solve a murder on a voidship voyage from Khartoum to Ceylon.
The Author’s explanation of the series from the Amazon US page is nicely elucidatory:
These books are set in the Voidships Steampunk world.
What’s Steampunk? The quickest answer is “Victorian Science Fiction” and the pretentious answer is “Retro-futurism”. But more importantly where the “steam” part represents science and industry, the “punk” part represents rebellion. Steampunk stories tend to involve people breaking out of the strictures of society, and who needs to break out more than women?
What’s Voidships? It’s just a word we use to describe an entire world where, in 1843, Faraday demonstrated the partial nullification of gravity – and everything else is alternative history.
As someone who struggles with plot and politics, I could appreciate Turnbull’s skill in both. I think he’s chosen an excellent character to explore a complicated empire, and I’ve already begun reading the second novella in the series, ‘Blood Sky at Night’.
Flash Gold by Lindsay Buroker
UK: Flash Gold (The Flash Gold Chronicles)
US: Flash Gold (The Flash Gold Chronicles)
This is the first (free) novella in the Flash Gold Chronicles. Set in the Yukon, it’s a fast-paced adventure with zeppelins, gunfights, and compelling characters. The heroine, Kali McAlister, is an outcast in her small town, and also the keeper of her Father’s powerful invention, the eponymous ‘flash gold’. She enters her steam-and-flash-gold-powered sled into a dogsled race, hoping that the prize money will allow her to leave town for good.
The writing could use a little polishing, but it doesn’t get in the way of the story. Buroker is particularly clever to use a race to frame the story, as it adds its own impetus, suspense and resolution.
I hope you pick them up for your digital library! I welcome any recommendations on Twitter.
I rescued this collection of used nibs from among my grandfather’s possessions when he passed away in 1999. Dede was a very resourceful man who loved to mend things. From his itinerant life as a soldier, he had developed the habit of wrapping everything up in many layers of boxes, newspaper, plastic bags, rubber bands and string; we often teased him about it. As with all the possessions of dead people, they are a bit of a mystery. I don’t know why he kept them, since none of them are any good for writing, but they’ve remained in a little tin in my stationary drawer these past years, as a memento.
Thanks to the ingenuity of several Etsy sellers, I finally found a use for one of them, and turned it into a simple pendant. Writing and family, two things close to my heart. Here’s how to make one for yourself…
- Jump ring (matching the colour of your nib)
- Mole wrench
- Metal file
On an appropriate surface, lay your nib down upside-down, grip the thumbtack with the mole wrench and line the tip of the thumbtack along the centre of the nib as shown. Be careful that you aren’t too far from the top of the nib or your jump ring won’t fit.
Tap the thumbtack gently with a hammer to pierce a hole through the metal.
File away the sharp edges from the front of the nib.
Using the pliers, open the jump ring. Tip: Don’t bend the ring sideways and out of shape. Pull one end towards you, and push the other end away from you. Then do the reverse to close it again.
Thread the jump ring through the hole…
… and close it.
Smaller nibs also make lovely earrings. If you have new nibs that you use regularly, you could substitute the jump ring for a clasp to allow you to easily detach the nib, although you’ll have to be careful not to ruin the tip as you wear it. Have fun!