In any good story, there is an opposing force with which the hero must contend. Bad guys.

I've written a few villains and have found that they vary in personality as much as heroes do. I've written a sanity-challenged boyfriend, an ultra rich deceiver, a confused former friend of the hero, a vengeful and scheming former student, and a greedy thief.

Any interesting character has a few good character traits as well as some flaws. The hero's flaws and the villain's good traits make them more real and believable.

When I'm writing about a villain, I'm reminded of the cartoons I used to watch as a kid. The putty tat ran after the tiny bird, but never had enough luck to get what he wanted. Sometimes the bird was incased in claws with sharp teeth bared and ready for the kill, but the bird would always escape.

My guess is readers know before they start the story that they will encounter this same phenomenon over and over. The hero finds trouble, escapes trouble, finds worse trouble, and escapes again.

The fun is seeing what they're escaping from and how they do it. I loved watching the MacGuyver shows and Home Alone. They used whatever they had around them to build a defense against the villain.

My heroes look forward to their ultimate success, and so do the villains. However, I write happy endings. Sorry, villains.

Things I love

Things I love: God, family, friends, writing, laughing, eating, peace and quiet, etc... I love a lot of things, but I don't love everything about all things.

Necessary things I don't enjoy: cleaning my kids' knee scrapes and other wounds, cleaning house, cleaning up after a sick kid, and cleaning up my manuscripts (editing). I will take care of necessary duties, but it doesn't mean I have to enjoy it. I do it knowing there is something to enjoy when I'm done.

When I'm busy editing my work, I try to see it as a puzzle. I love puzzles. (Oops. I forgot to list it.) If I can challenge myself in a positive way, the stubborn determination in me comes out and the editing gets done. The key to staying positive is making a game out of it. When I've finished a scene that I really like, I look up at a handwritten note over my desk which asks, "Okay. Now it's good, but can it be better?"

The answer is always, "Yes!"

When I re-read a chapter that I've re-written countless times, I remember that someone else besides me will read it someday and smile. That's the goal. I have to keep doing what I do until it's in the hands of those who need to read it.

When a stranger comes to me and thanks me for my hard work, I'll be glad I didn't give up.

No one benefits if I don't share the story. And I don't get to share the story unless it is written well. So for now, my hard work is done with an eye to the future.

The smiles will come. ...I love smiles.