More questions. More help. Introducing Mastering Table Topics Second Edition.

Basing the villain on yourself

Caricature of a villain (image from Wikipedia)What makes for a good villain? Their motivations? Their reactions to their misdeeds? The possibility for redemption? And where can you find inspiration to create such a good villain in your stories?

There is one place we overlook because we don’t feel comfortable looking there. But suppose you base the villain on yourself?

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Create a vision of the life you want – a lesson from 30 years ago

A sample vision board (image from Pixabay)In 2017, we felt like we’re falling down the rabbit hole, watching our society burn down to the frame, and begging for a good stiff drink. At times like these, it’s easy to give into cynicism and despair as we imagine all the ways things can get worse.

That’s the way I felt 30 years ago. Then, I made a decision that changed my life.

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2017 Parody: I Want a Case of Jameson for Christmas

Jameson Whiskey - Image from PixabayI wasn’t sure about doing a year-end parody because this year has gone beyond parody. But if there is ever a year when we need a laugh (and, if you’re so inclined, a good stiff drink), it’s this one.

My parody is inspired by the suitably creepy “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas.” (And after a few shots, my song might actually fit the melody.)

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How to keep Grinches from stealing your joy

Front cover, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!Holiday songs, movies, and stories have more to them than jingle bells and boughs of holly. They say something important about the human condition that applies throughout the year. This is true about the story I’m writing about this year, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! I’ll refer to the original Dr. Seuss book. If you prefer your Grinch on a screen, watch the 1966 TV special with Chuck Jones, Boris Karloff, June Foray, Thurl Ravenscroft, and no Jim Carrey.

Regardless of how you experience the Grinch’s misadventures, we’ve all had times when we feel someone is stealing our joy — especially when we are our own Grinch.

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Don’t know whether to laugh or cry

The remains of our 2003 Toyota Camry after the fireWe had the most 2017 thing happen to us. The car we gave our daughter caught on fire. We will never know why. She had been taking it in for regular service and had a smog check done on it recently. But as she was driving with a friend, the car began to rattle and smoke. She pulled over to the side of the road. She and her friend got out just before the engine burst into flames.

We’re not talking about my mom’s 1960 “unsafe at any speed” Chevrolet Corvair or my 1974 “glorified Pinto” Ford Mustang II. This was a 2003 Toyota Camry. A Toyota Camry. Many cars of this model year are still on the road. And ours gave us 15 years of dependable service before its self-immolation.

Why does this represent 2017?

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