Posted On August 16, 2011 by Print This Post

So BAD They’re Good! – CJ Lyons talks about villains

Have you got a villain in your story? CJ Lyons will show you how to make him bad, bad to the bone. =) Check out below for the fabulous (and I DO mean FABULOUS) giveaways CJ has for our readers today!

Creating a very good bad guy is one of the most important things an author needs to do no matter what genre you write. Most of our hero’s character arc will be driven by how he/she responds to the antagonist. Because of this, creating the right bad guy is essential.

I’m going to give you three examples and three techniques you can use to develop a villain so compelling he’s irresistible.

(Keep reading to the end, because I’m also going to give you a chance to win a critique from my uber-agent, Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency!)

In the mystery/suspense/thriller genre our plots are ultimately driven by how bad our bad guy is. The villain is responsible for getting the story started, whether it’s a dead body for our sleuth to investigate or an end-of-the-world doomsday our hero must prevent.

That doesn’t mean that you can’t be spontaneous—at least in the first draft.

Surprise Yourself

Since I’m a seat of the pants writer, I sometimes don’t know my bad guy at the start of the book. This happened in my current release, BLIND FAITH, which recently received a Top Pick from RT Book Reviews because of its “mesmerizing characters.”

I was about 2/3 of the way through the book when I realized that the person I thought was the killer really wasn’t.

Which led to great fun in using them as a red herring and planting false assumptions in the reader’s mind, masking the real culprit. I decided that if I was surprised by the villain’s true identity, readers would be as well.

Part of BLIND FAITH’s appeal is that there are several bad guys. In fact, at the onset the hero seems like he could be a villain and one of the secondary characters who starts out as a hero chooses to do the wrong thing for what he feels are all the right reasons.

BLIND FAITH is a story of betrayals. In every scene there is a betrayal. Characters betray each other, betray their loved ones, betray themselves and everything they believe in. By playing off each character’s relationships, I was able to weave these betrayals together into a crazy quilt of deceit.

Know Your Hero

How to create a compelling villain from the start? Know your hero.

In my recent release, SLEIGHT OF HAND, because I knew my heroine, Dr. Cassandra Hart, so well, I knew exactly what kind of villain would be hardest for her to triumph over. Cassie struggles with self-doubt—she’s always wondering if she could have done more for her patients, if she let them down by not doing enough. Her greatest fear is not being able to help someone depending on her and this drives her passion to get involved with her patients, no matter the cost to herself.

What kind of villain would be near-impossible for Cassie to defeat? How about someone supremely self-confident and assured, with no self-doubts? Someone who no one believes could be doing the horrible things Cassie suspects them of doing. Someone Cassie’s boss, seasoned nurses and colleagues, even her best friend believe is innocent—to the point where they wonder what’s wrong with Cassie, that she suspects this person of a horrendous crime. They start to point the finger at Cassie, undermining her own beliefs, asking if maybe Cassie is to blame or is covering up or maybe recent stress has left her mentally unbalanced.

By knowing my hero’s weaknesses and greatest fears, I can create a villain who plays on those and for the first 90% of the book seems certain to win.

That’s what you need in a villain. They have to be so powerful, so impossible to stop that the reader fears—no, more than fears, the reader believes the hero will fail. Now that’s suspense!

No matter the genre, your hero is ONLY as strong as your antagonist. If you have a weak villain, easily defeated, then your hero appears weak as well.

In the end, the hero must face their greatest fears, learning something that allows them to defeat the bad guy, whether it’s in a battle of wits or the ultimate struggle between good and evil. Often the hero sacrifices something dear to them, their old way of thinking/living, as the result of this crisis.

Not Your Typical Serial Killer

Sometimes we know what kind of villain we want but we struggle with how to flesh them out, make them more than your “typical serial killer.” To do this, I will often give them the same inner goal as my hero.

A character’s outer goal is easy to define: it’s what they want. By the end of the story they either succeed or fail.

The detective wants to stop the killer. That’s his outer goal for the story.

The bad guy wants to kill the detective and go free. That’s his outer goal.

Having an inner goal takes the story to deeper levels of emotional complexity. Inner goals are what a character NEEDS—but they don’t even know it.

It’s the life lesson they need to learn in order to heal or fix whatever it is that is holding them back from their dreams.

The detective wants to stop the killer. BUT he needs to learn to trust in others and stop being a lone wolf avenger.

Right there you can see tons of emotional conflict and opportunities to test that detective main character. But how many of us bother to give our villains that kind of emotional complexity?

The thriller sub-genre of serial killer novels is rife with bad guys who feel interchangeable, their only difference being the body part they keep for souvenirs. Yet, even serial killers can be given emotional depth—look at one of the most famous, Hannibal Lecter. The reason his character resonates over time is because Thomas Harris gave Hannibal an unconscious desire that is universal and resonates with readers.

Yes, Hannibal is a fiend. His outer goal is to keep killing those who he feels are ugly and inferior—and with an ego the size of his, that’s 99.9% of the world’s population.

BUT Hannibal has an inner goal as well. One that Jack Crawford exploits when he sends Will Graham and Clarice Starling to Hannibal in Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon. One that Hannibal himself senses as he reaches out to bond with and mentor other psychopaths.

Hannibal wants to kill. But he NEEDS to be loved. He’s searching for a partner, someone he can care for, protect, mentor, respect.

No wonder this cannibalistic psychopath wormed his way into the hearts of millions!

Want complexity in your villain? Give them an inner goal.

I did this in my mainstream FBI thriller, SNAKE SKIN. It features Lucy Guardino, a typical Pittsburgh soccer mom juggling the needs of work and family. Only Lucy’s job is as a FBI agent who works crimes against children.

In SNAKE SKIN, Lucy gets caught up in a case involving a kidnapped girl a few years older than her own daughter. Because of the horrendous things Lucy sees at work, she insulates her family from that part of her life and drives herself with the hope that saving kids will keep her family safe. She knows it’s irrational, magical thinking, but she can’t give up on the kids at risk—which means less time and energy to devote to her family—so she convinces herself that she’s doing it all for her family.

All she wants is to save the girl. What she needs is to learn to put her family first.

The villain in SNAKE SKIN also wants to save the girl—he wants her as a life partner, to build the family he never had.

Can you feel the added conflict by giving both the good guy and bad guy the same outer goal? How about if we take it a step further and give them the same inner goal?

Lucy needs to learn to put her family first. The bad guy needs to learn to put his family (the girl) first.

Can’t have it both ways, can we? One must win and one must fail. But the reader is going to be torn, wondering and worrying that the right one might not win—and if she does, what will be the cost to the innocent victim caught in the tug-o-war between Lucy and the villain?

Notice that there’s no artificial ratcheting of the tension by seeing how gruesome and over the top the bad guy can go as happens in so many serial killer novels. Instead, the tension is increased by understanding basic primal psychological needs of the audience and focusing on those in the relationships of both the hero and villain.

Yes, relationships. There should be an intricate dance building between your hero and villain as well as with the reader. Spins and whirls and dips and pressed together, pulled apart. The hero and villain push each other’s actions and reactions until things spiral out of control at the climax where only one can triumph.

This is the essence of the subgenre of thrillers I call Thrillers with Heart. They’re all about the people and their relationships (for better or worse) instead of being about the fiendish fetishes of the killer or the forensic technology or international conspiracies.

People are interested in people. Readers resonate more with characters who touch their own deepest fears, their own unconscious desires. Good guys and bad guys.

 

Want your bad guy to be so bad, he’s good?

First, make him stronger than the hero at the start of the story. Your hero is ONLY as strong as your villain. If you have a weak villain, easily defeated, then your hero appears weak as well.

Second, make him human. Give him both an outer goal and an inner goal.

Third, go beyond the villain and look at his relationships. How does he push the hero to achieve, risk, fail more than the hero ever thought imaginable? How does the hero push back?

You tell me: Who’s the bad guy in your book and what makes him/her unique?

One lucky commenter will receive a critique of their first ten pages from my agent, the ever-fantastic Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Agency!

Want to see how I use the above techniques? Right now BLIND FAITH is on sale for 0.99 at BN.com and Amazon. Email me a copy of your receipt for BLIND FAITH and I’ll send you a FREE e-copy of SNAKE SKIN.

(Yes, I know that’s two complete novels for only 0.99! What can I say? I love rewarding readers!)

Just send the receipt to cjlyons @ cjlyons.net (without the spaces) BEFORE 8/21/11 and add a note that you’re coming from RU. Remember: this offer expires 8/21/11

Thanks for reading!
CJ

***

RU Readers, who’s your favorite villain, and why?

Join us tomorrow for the very talented Allison Brennan!

***

Bio: As a pediatric ER doctor, CJ Lyons has lived the life she writes about in her cutting edge thrillers. In addition to being an award-winning, bestselling author, CJ is a nationally known presenter and will be teaching her online Thrillers with Heart class in September. FMI click HERE

CJ has been called a “master within the genre” (Pittsburgh Magazine) and her work has been praised as “breathtakingly fast-paced” and “riveting” (Publishers Weekly) with “characters with beating hearts and three dimensions” (Newsday).

Her newest project is as co-author of a new suspense series with Erin Brockovich. You can learn more about her writing at www.cjlyons.net and find resources on writing craft at CJ’s No Rules, Just WRITE! site, www.NoRulesJustWRITE.com

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50 Responses to “So BAD They’re Good! – CJ Lyons talks about villains”

  1. Hi CJ,

    Great time for this lecture! I spent the weekend writing the first scene for my villain. I enjoy writing this type of character, but the complexities you mention above is hard to weave into the story, especially in the beginning.

    I’ll be referring to your excellent lecture often!

    Tracey

    Posted by Tracey Devlyn | August 16, 2011, 5:18 am
  2. Thanks, Tracey! And thanks to everyone at RU for inviting me back–I always have such a great time visiting with you all!

    CJ

    Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 5:23 am
  3. CJ,
    I don’t have kindle, but I just ordered the paperbook copy of Snake Skin on Amazon. It sounds like it is right up my alley. Your advice (in you writing book) has already helped me craft a believable bad guy, so thank you for that. But I’m always looking for inspiration such as this post. I also
    recently picked up Red Dragon and am reading it with my pen handy to mark up key passages.
    Best
    Kristi

    Posted by Kristi Belcamino | August 16, 2011, 5:39 am
  4. Excellent post CJ.

    I’m printing it out so I can reread it as I go back and rework the bad guy.

    Marianne

    Posted by Marianne Donley | August 16, 2011, 5:42 am
  5. My serial killer is based on a real serial killer I spent time interviewing as a newspaper reporter. It was easy to make him complex because this guy was a contradiction himself. In his craziness, he used his belief in buddhism to justify kidnapping and murdering. I made him my villian to get him on paper and out of my head!

    Posted by Kristi Belcamino | August 16, 2011, 5:58 am
    • Wow! What great fodder for a character!

      The sociopaths I’ve had the misfortune to come into contact with are like that–it’s all about spinning the tale and manipulating the moment (and you) rather than making sense.

      The villain in SLEIGHT OF HAND is based on a serial killer I had contact with–a Munchausen by Proxy killer, so pretty rare and very pathological.

      Thanks for sharing!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 1:36 pm
  6. “It’s the life lesson they need to learn in order to heal or fix whatever it is that is holding them back from their dreams.”

    This. A thousand times, this. Should be obvious, but it about smacked me upside the head.

    Thanks, CJ, for a brilliant post.

    Paula Matter

    Posted by Paula Matter | August 16, 2011, 6:26 am
    • Thanks, Paula! I’m so thrilled that that line resonated with you–it’s the core of where I start every book I write.

      I can’t begin until I understand that about my main characters, but once I do, it’s like magic, the story just tells itself!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 6:38 am
  7. Morning CJ!

    Thanks for joining us again, and wow! what a fantastic post. I’ve not really written a villain, so this is all new to me! I’m looking back on some books I’ve read with fabulous villains and the inner goal stands out loud and clear among the best-the worst?- of them. I remember one of JD Robb’s books, the villain tortured his victims to see how long they would last…you could just FEEL how driven he was to see if he could make them last a little bit longer. Eerie, but terribly effective.

    One of my favorite villains is of course Hans Gruber in Die Hard….he was gooooooood. =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | August 16, 2011, 7:26 am
    • Hi Carrie! Using these techniques works with any antagonist (whoever most stands in the way of the hero achieving their goal) but us thriller writers do tend to take our bad guys to extremes, lol.

      I love Hans! One of my fav villains–I dissect DIE HARD in a few of my classes. No one could have played that role better than Alan Rickman.

      Thanks for stopping by,
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 7:29 am
  8. I really enjoyed your article, CJ–especially the “he’s so bad he’s good.” Villains have intruiged me from the first time I saw Mad Max II. As a young girl, I rooted for Lord Humungus and his ruthless motley bunch to win the gasoline. I did not want Max and the good guys to ride off with the gasoline.

    This is when I saw the difference in villains. Some are just so unappealing that I cheer for the hero. But others, such as Imhotep from the Mummy, Hans from Die Hard, the outlaw bikers from Another 48 Hours, etc., I want them to win.

    When I think about it, Imhotep had a vulnerable side, which was his love for Anaksunamun. He wasn’t after world power or money. He simply wanted to bring her back to life. The bonus was ruling the world.

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of a villain I enjoyed in a romance novel.

    This article gave me a lot to think about when it comes to Keith (the villain in my WIP)–especially because I’m editing my WIP right now.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge. It’s much appreciated.

    Posted by Mercy | August 16, 2011, 7:32 am
  9. Whoot! CJ is back! We love when you visit. Thank you for another fantastic lecture. I now realize I haven’t put the screws (LOL) to my hero enough.

    I love the idea of giving both the hero and the villain the same outer goal. That makes for some great conflict.

    This lecture is going right into my plotting binder!

    Posted by Adrienne Giordano | August 16, 2011, 7:35 am
    • Hey Adrienne! Glad to be back!

      If you want a great example of the bad guy and good guy both wanting the same thing, try PATRIOT GAMES.

      The entire movie isn’t about bombs or terrorists, it’s about two guys and their families.

      Enjoy!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 7:47 am
  10. Hi CJ,

    When in doubt about bad guys, check the Disney villians. They protect what’s theirs to the death. My current villian is the much decorated police captain. He has a lot of turf to defend. Great suggestions.

    Mary Jo

    Posted by Mary Jo Burke | August 16, 2011, 8:10 am
    • Thanks, Mary Jo.

      I think that’s true of the classic Disney flix, but I’ve been disappointed in some of their recent movies because the weak villain gave the hero (who, because it’s Disney is already starting the story at hero status, so very little room to grow) so little conflict or push that the end of the story was flat.

      Tangled is the best example of this I can think of…the villain had no motivation for their actions during the second half (including letting the good guys go unscathed when the villain could have won it all right there at the midpoint) and so the whole movie fell apart.

      At least for me…don’t you love movies, though? Instant story-telling class in 90-120 minutes!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 8:15 am
  11. I would like to be entered in the contest. My previous two comments never made it, perhaps because I had a website attached to my comment?

    Posted by Kristi Belcamino | August 16, 2011, 8:19 am
  12. Hi CJ! Great post! I love a good villain. My favorite villain I wrote was named Carlos Santiago and my heroine was undercover for a private para-military group to gather intel on him. I think Santiago was a villain to love and hate because he fell in love with my heroine’s undercover ego. She softened him, made him strive to be a better man for her even as he carried out his sometimes sadistic crimes. He protected and cherished my heroine and when her true identity is discovered he is devastated and betrayed. It pained him to order her death, but loyalty was important and he had to do it. He was hard to write because I sympathized for him, but he was still a bad man. I’m not yet published and this ms is tucked away gathering dust, but it will always be my favorite. Thanks for the fun and informative post. Can’t wait to read your books.

    Posted by Jennifer Lowery (Kamptner) | August 16, 2011, 8:37 am
    • Jennifer, wow! Your Carlos sounds like my kind of villain!

      I’ve gotten some flack from readers of BLIND FAITH because they fall in love with one of the bad guys (I did too!) and he doesn’t end up leading the storybook romance that they expected.

      In a way I think that’s good because if I’d written it the way they wanted, BLIND FAITH would have been just another romantic suspense instead of a book that’s breaking out (it’s currently at #8 on the Kindle bestseller list–yes, that’s 8 out of 750,000 other books!)

      Also, it means I did my job, creating a bad guy so good that readers fall for and connect with him.

      Hope to see your Carlos on the shelves someday!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 8:42 am
  13. Love the post, CJ. My villain is a woman, who is an associate to the heroine. She stalks her and she doesn’t have a clue. It is a surprise to the heroine after she is kidnapped.
    Linda Cacaci
    LinCaca3@aol.com

    Posted by Linda Cacaci | August 16, 2011, 8:42 am
    • Sounds fascinating, Linda! SLEIGHT OF HAND has a female villain as well and they’re very different to write than male villains.

      Totally different motivations and in a way much more ruthless and relentless if the good guy gets in the way of their achieving their goal.

      Such fun we thriller writers have!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 8:44 am
  14. CJ, you just explained why I got so bored with TANGLED! I couldn’t put my finger on just why it didn’t work.

    Posted by Marianne Donley | August 16, 2011, 8:53 am
    • And the cool thing is, once you figure it out, you can immediately look at your own work and make sure you don’t fall into the same trap!

      So, you’re not watching a movie, you’re actually working (at least that’s what I tell anyone who asks, lol!)
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 9:12 am
  15. Great timing, CJ. I’m starting a new novel, and I’m in the process of developing my characters.

    BTW, I had a similar experience to your Blind Faith villain issue. It drove me nuts. The novel is complete except for the ending. I got so frustrated with it, that I put it aside. I’m glad yours experience worked out better.

    Posted by Jodie | August 16, 2011, 9:34 am
    • Not saying that it was fun, Jodie! I too left the ms for awhile, letting it ferment, until I reconciled myself with allowing the character to follow his own path and be the bad guy he needed to be.

      It was hard because it was so easy to see how the book *could have been written* with the obvious choice of bad guy, the obvious romance, etc…but the characters just wouldn’t let me.

      I hate stepping away from a ms and giving it that “fermenting” time, but it always, always, always makes for a better book in the end, so I’ve learned to accept it as part of the process.

      Hope that helps,
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 9:42 am
  16. Hi CJ,
    Love all the information! Thanks so much. My villian in my current ms isn’t your typical villian. She’s the trashy mother who skipped out on her son years ago leaving him alone with Mr. Harvey and a traveling carnival. Jay has to heal his inner demons- make amends with his mom when she show up years later needing him and place to live. This provides the perfect opportunity to heal those doubts and insecurities whick keep him from pursuing his dreams.
    Thanks again for being here!

    Posted by Tereasa | August 16, 2011, 9:45 am
  17. CJ – The timing of this post couldn’t be better. I’m struggling with revisions, and you’ve given me some food for thought. REALLY helpful – thank you so much!

    BTW, I love your line about “weaving a crazy quilt of deceit.” Love. It.

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | August 16, 2011, 9:46 am
    • So glad to help, Becke!

      I always think of really great writing as weaving these complex, dense tapestries–I’m not there yet, I’m just a simple story-teller, so I see my own books as richly colored and textured crazy quilts that pull from everything in life

      Thanks for dropping by,
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 9:51 am
  18. CJ – I’ve always been a mystery fan, so I do love books that keep me guessing about the identity of the villain. A lot of romance sub-genres include a mystery, but frequently the villain’s identity is clear from the start.

    Do you have any advice for writers (like me) who are dealing with that sort of plot? What do you handle differently when the story doesn’t involve a “whodunnit”?

    Posted by Becke Martin/Davis | August 16, 2011, 9:57 am
    • Becke, I actually prefer books that don’t make you work for the whodunnit and instead let you revel in the character’s depth.

      But that’s the key–the villain has to have depth (not just be some maniacal serial killer collecting souvenirs) which means both a very powerful motivation and goal.

      By increasing the depth of your villain you’ll find the stakes raising, giving the reader that tension of both loving/hating the villain and also being more and more concerned that the good guys can never overcome the bad guy.

      Talk about a page-turner!

      Have fun playing with it,
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 10:15 am
  19. Great post, CJ! It’s really helping me to think about my current villain, who will appear many times throughout my planned series.

    The main inner goal of my villain is to create chaos. She’s bored, highly intelligent, & likes to mess with people. She’s studied my hero enough to know that my hero likes things to fit & make sense. So, my villain delights in doing evil things for no particular reason, other than to mess with my hero.

    There are other psychological reasons that I’ll delve into as the books progress, but I think the intent to cause chaos allows her to choose from so many different crimes.

    Have a great day.

    Posted by Alyx Morgan | August 16, 2011, 10:46 am
    • Sounds like you have a classic sociopath on your hands, Alyx!

      Since they are so common in novels (and unfortunately in real life) you might want to consider taking her character deeper–especially if she needs to stay around for several books.

      I find that asking five WHYS helps in this situation…why is she targeting the hero? why is she driven to create chaos? why? why? why?

      Usually by the fifth WHY you’ll have an epiphany.

      Also, two wonderful examples of well done, compelling sociopaths are the first season of MAD MEN (almost every character is a sociopath, yet they’re all different and intriguing) and the BBC’s TV show LUTHER (free on Netflix)

      Have fun!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 11:17 am
  20. Great lecture, CJ! Thanks! :)

    I have a hard time calling my current villain a “villain” for a couple reasons, but the biggest one is that she thinks she has a very good reason for doing what she has to do. She knows what she’s doing isn’t right, but she feels trapped and believes she doesn’t have a better choice. I guess instead of a reluctant hero, I have a reluctant villain.

    On the Disney note, with the heroes starting so close to heroic anyway – my favorite recent Disney hero is Lightning McQueen. (I haven’t seen Cars 2 yet.) I just love how he goes from being a self-centered, egotistical brat to a car who’ll give up everything that he thought mattered because of what he’s learned from his friends.

    Thanks again!
    Jamie

    Posted by Jamie | August 16, 2011, 1:58 pm
    • Jamie,

      Sounds like a great villain!

      It’s important to remember that every villain is a hero in their own story.

      No one starts out in this world thinking, I want to grow up to be a bad guy. We all want to be heroes.

      If we aren’t living like the heroes we think we should be, then we make excuses, we go into denial, we create some kind of complex rationalization (or occasionally delusion) that allows us to live with ourselves and preserve our self-esteem.

      The rest of the world may see us as villains, but we know in our hearts, that we’re the good guys.

      Even sociopaths and malignant narcissists (like Hannibal Lecter) are like this–only they don’t care what the rest of the world thinks, they don’t care about the rest of the world’s rules. Instead they justify their actions by thinking they’re heroes because they dare to defy convention and they’re extra-ordinary.

      Hope that helps!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 2:04 pm
  21. Hola CJ!

    Great point about a weak villain means a weak hero.

    For some reason, your post makes me think of the Showtime series, Dexter. He’s the hero and a killer, but the villains in the show are really whacked killer sociopaths. It takes damn good writing to make an audience cheer for the “nicer” killer, Dexter. :)

    My favorite villains are those who have a very human side…i.e., they take care of their elderly mother or they have a soft spot for children and cats. It adds dimension to their character and as a reader I want to keep reading to find out the what and why this person veered off the path.

    Thanks so much for being with us today!

    Posted by jennifer tanner | August 16, 2011, 3:17 pm
    • Oh, yes, Dexter is one of my favorite characters–he’s Pinocchio, desperately wanting to become a ‘real’ boy…which is why it’s easy to connect with him.

      Also, as you pointed out, if you have most of the other characters “badder” than your bad guy (lots of noir fiction does this) then your bad guy actually seems like a good guy, or at least an anti-hero.

      Notice also how much more human Dexter seems simply because a sympathetic character falls in love with him (not to mention her kids)–another good way to use those relationships I talked about in the post.

      Great points!
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 4:10 pm
  22. Hi C.J. I’m starting a new story…I’ve been sitting here this afternoon, staring at a blank page with a blank mind. You got me thinking again. Thanks.
    Downloaded Snakeskin…what a wonderful read. I’m from New Zealand where there are no snakes, therefore they really creep me out. Parts of your story really made me squirm.
    Thanks for being one of those wonderful, talented authors who take the time to help wannabes like me. Lynette

    Posted by Lynette Robey | August 16, 2011, 3:55 pm
    • Thanks, Lynette! I love to teach! Gives me an excuse to talk about all this fun stuff!

      Unfortunately I’m so busy right now that I’m cutting back on my teaching but that’s why I began my new site, http://www.norulesjustwrite.com

      There I have a blog that’s all about the ins and outs of publishing and becoming a creative entrepreneur as well as a bunch of resources that I just updated.

      And on the snakes? I actually creeped myself out writing that opening!

      Thanks,
      CJ

      Posted by CJ Lyons | August 16, 2011, 4:13 pm
  23. Thanks C.J. I’ve put your site on my favorites list and will visit it often.
    When you creep yourself out…you know you are writing in the moment..feeling everything your character is feeling…wish I could do that as well as you, but I will keep trying. Thanks for being so inspirational. I will follow your career through the wonderful books you write. Lynette

    Posted by Lynette Robey | August 16, 2011, 4:49 pm
  24. CJ Thanks so much for posting with us today – sheer awesomeness!
    RU Readers, stay tuned for CJ’s drawing to find out who wins the 10 page crit!

    =)

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | August 16, 2011, 10:38 pm
  25. The winner for the crit with CJ’s agent Barbara Poelle is Alyx Morgan!

    Congrats Alyx – and keep an eye on your inbox!

    =)

    carrie

    Posted by Carrie Spencer | August 17, 2011, 7:37 am
  26. HI CJ I have set the scene in my current book to have everyone focused on the mother. The villain that has the kidnapped child is after a microchip he thinks the mother has and figures the child is the best way to get it.

    Posted by Kathy Crouch | August 18, 2011, 9:29 am
  27. Timely post for tweaking my evil evildoer of evil!

    Posted by Gail Shepherd | August 28, 2011, 7:29 am

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