13 Steps to Evil: How to Craft Superbad Villains
Highly Recommended Reading.
Genre: Non-Fiction/Writer’s Guide.
I must say, this book is deviously fun!
I’m a lifelong learner and while there are a few things I feel I know extremely well (this isn’t one of them), I am always open to a new interpretation/perspective/battle plan. Sometimes, all we need as writers is a different way of looking at something that could spark understanding or give our creative muse a kick in the a**!
Sacha Black believes in our villains, and as an author/long-time reader she found a need to help build stronger more dynamic bad guys. She has dedicated her heart, soul, sweat, and sanity to this 13-step writer’s guide—for all levels. Black doesn’t talk down to you, in fact, she might just get a little saucy with you 😉
I love the way this guide reads like a “how to” course with straightforward steps, succinct summaries at the end of every chapter (in bullet points no less!), tangible/relatable examples and a list of questions to ask either yourself or your villain.
The thought-provoking questions Black asks are my favourite aspect. Whether I jot down the answers to these questions about my villain, or just mull over a chapter for a few hours or a day, I find myself digging deeper and analyzing not only my choices but my villain’s choices too—which is exactly the point of this book.
The concept that has triggered the best “mulling” and “discovery” sessions for me is the idea of Soul Scars. Black’s ability to push the right buttons in my brain regarding this concept and how it needs to have a radiating impact on all major characters, really gets my creativity flowing and kicks my brain into high-gear.
13 Steps to Evil is the kind of book that a writer could easily return to again and again for inspiration. Yes, if you’ve been writing for any significant length of time you’ve likely heard a version of what this book covers in another manual, a course, a workshop, at a conference (or a mish-mash of all the above). The point is, it’s a reference guide as much as it is a teaching guide. As writers, we tent to lean toward our strengths and those aspects of writing that easily inspire us. 13 Steps will remind a well-versed writer about what you already know, deep down inside, and will motivate you to try something new or look a it from a different angle, and that’s powerful.
Without a doubt, I would recommend this book to any writer I know or meet, and I’ve bought 4 copies to prove it 😉
Review by M.J. Moores, Author. Editor.
Categories: Book Reviews