The power of inspiration is limitless. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be very difficult to access.
In times of trouble, consider calling upon…. your villain.
Here are three ways to adopt this as a writing exercise:
- One of the greatest challenges is that the things which give us writer’s block are often extremely mundane (though they can be deeply traumatic, like loss of a loved one, or divorce). These are “enemies” of the mind which can’t be defeated by witty scientists and sharp swords. But what if it were actually villainy? If a villain were causing your problems, what would their powers be? Why would they be using them to do this to you? Taking your real-life problems and converting them into the stuff of fictional darkness might just let some lightness into your heart… and get your typewriting clicking again. (Cautionary note: Don’t take the step of falling into the fantasy that your problems are really the result of villains. For one thing, that would make you more resistant to our plot to take over the world.)
- What Would A Villain Do? Turn your problem on its head. Unsure what should happen with your protagonist? Unsure about how to defeat that blank page? Use a favorite villain (yours, or someone else’s – and go through the mental exercise of thinking about how that villain would approach your situation. What would she do? What would she write? What would be on her mind? Try getting it out on paper (or screen) – and see if it gives you the perspective to start again.
- There is no number three. Actually, to be more specific, we’re attacking our own writer’s block using the second idea. What would our villain do? Why, she would assuredly create something that looked like a writing exercise, but was actually a subliminal trick to re-awaken the power of the imagination inside of you, thus making the world a more magical and creative place, one which would truly appreciate our villain’s flair and world-straddling ambitions.
- …and here’s an actual third tip, since you really deserve the three exercises you were promised. Every villain has an untold story. Not just a backstory or an origin, but the story of what makes them tick on a daily basis, what gets them through the day, how they feel about themselves. That story is often divorced from reality–but very real to them. What happens if you try putting that on paper? That’s a tale seldom told–so there can’t be a wrong way to tell it.
-Dark Lord Journal
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