Writing Fiction That Feels So Bad, It's Good

by Amanda Luft

Allyson Loomis
Allyson Loomis

Actors say it’s more fun to play a villain because they get to act in ways they never would or could in real life. The same goes for writers, who can create characters and animate them in ways that would scandalize polite society. If you desire to create truly awful characters, check out the Chippewa Valley Writers Guild’s February Craft Talk by local author Allyson Loomis, “The Presence of Mine Enemies: Villains and Bad Apples in Stories.” Loomis got the idea for this Craft Talk from reading stories with her kids, who have no patience for a character’s inner turmoil or brooding thoughts. “They want Voldemort and Vader. They want real jeopardy. They want their protagonists to face dangerous adversaries,” Loomis explained. “Surely, I thought, there are some very good uses for straight-ahead bad-assery.” She’s also applied this idea of a tangible antagonist to a novel she’s currently working on. “I added some really reprehensible characters to my book, and I have to say that the story sort of shot ahead for me, and became much more fun.” Loomis will discuss, among other topics, how to use villains to stir up stories, how to create a compelling creep, and ways to humanize an evildoer so he or she is more than a one-dimensional boogeyman. She’ll also reveal how you might hope to neutralize a villain in the end. The talk will be at 5:30pm Thursday, Feb. 23, at the Eau Claire Regional Arts Center’s Janet Carson Gallery, 316 Eau Claire St. Learn more by going to cvwritersguild.org and clicking on “Events.”

We're Hiring