Writing villains is easy. Writing believable villains that elevate your fiction from cliché to unforgettable is a lot harder. Let acclaimed horror author Ania Ahlborn show you how it's done.
Your Instructor: Ania Ahlborn, bestselling author of The Devil Crept In
Where: Online — Available everywhere!
When: February 22, 2022 - March 8, 2022
Enrollment: 16 students
Writing villains is easy.
Writing villains that will elevate your fiction from cliche to unforgettable is a lot harder.
We all have a slumbering beast coiled just inside the cages of our chests. The trick to memorable antagonists? Waking that sleeping, amoral monster inside us.
But how does one gracefully unleash a murderer, a serial killer, a demon; how do we turn a downright contemptuous villain into a character the audience can’t help but secretly love?
Bestselling author Ania Ahlborn has a reputation for making her readers root for the darkest, most twisted characters in her genre. Her books—from supernatural horror to haunting thrillers—have been lauded by the likes of Publishers Weekly and the New York Times.
And in Making a Monster, she'll delve into the alchemy of the sympathetic bad guy.
What This Class Covers
Week One: Becoming Beelzebub
Lecture: What makes an antagonist relatable; why do we root for the bad guy, and how do we get the audience to cheer for the story’s villain? In week one, you’ll learn about the psychology of the sinister and discover how to turn even the most wicked of antagonists into a sympathetic character. We’ll delve into what makes a reader respond to (and recoil from) certain archetypes, and how to avoid the pitfalls of writing flat adversaries.
Assignment: With the aid of a checklist, you’ll fully realize your villain by delving deep into their psyche to figure out what makes them tick. What does your antagonist want and why? A thorough character sketch will help you put these elusive puzzle pieces in place to fully take advantage of the lesson for week two.
Week Two: Come to the Dark Side
Lecture: Now that we’ve fleshed out our antagonist, how do you get your audience to respond to your villain’s maniacal desire? This week, we tackle exactly how to pepper your manuscript with flecks of bad guy pathos, how to get the audience to respond with compassion to even the most downright diabolical deeds, and how to effectively place these nuggets of sympathy throughout your manuscript to create a villain your reader won’t soon forget.
Assignment: You’ll write (or rewrite) a scene from your story or novel that highlights your villain’s vulnerabilities.
Goals Of This Class
- Explore the psychology of what it means to be “bad”
- Learn how to make your audience compassionate, even toward the most evil of characters
- Discover how to develop unique, believable characters
- Elevate your writing to a whole new level with backstory, and learn how to incorporate those details into your manuscript in an organic way
LitReactor offers a unique approach to a writing education: You study what you want, when you want, at your own pace. We bring in veteran authors and industry professionals to host classes covering a wide range of topics in an online environment that’s interactive and flexible. You get detailed feedback on your work and take part in discussions in a judgement-free zone. It doesn’t matter if you’re a beginner or an experienced writer, our workshops are about working together to achieve your writing goals.
Where do classes take place?
Entirely online. So, anywhere you have Internet access.
Are there certain times when the whole class needs to "meet" online?
Nope. Our students come from all over the globe. Everything is posted online and accessible 24/7. (We do occasionally schedule phone chats, but try to reach a consensus on timing.)
What does a typical class consist of?
It varies, but nearly all our classes include weekly lectures, homework assignments, peer reviews, critiques from instructors, and discussion forums.
How much experience do you need to take a class?
Beginner or pro, everyone is welcome. We encourage all skill levels.
Got more questions? Click here for an extended FAQ.
And click here to explore a sample class that shows our layout and features.