All the Types: Stories & Supporting Characters #DIYMFA

Happy nearly-June! 😨

How did we get here– why isn’t time pausing?? My watch flat-lined two weeks ago, but the calendar’s still going! (Rude.)

Fell off the wagon as usual… My work contract ended a couple of weeks ago, and I just came back from a 10 day trip celebrating that accomplishment. Ok no, it was more a “let’s see Australia while I can” trip with the bonus of friends. And so! I’ll be moving in less than a month. Again. πŸ€ͺ Considering that a holiday, too. Ideally– a writing retreat! Let me just– (inflates all the hope).

Anyhow, I’m jumping back on the wagon after a fascinating talk with my Airbnb host.Β  Dedication > motivation.

Thank you Captain! (Source)

Combining two prompts into one this week, because holy moly there’s still 6 left! (Okay maybe 7.) Slow and steady is the way to go, said the turtle. 🐒

First up, let’s talk supporting characters!


I have toΒ choose!? Deer oh dear… 🦌

Gabriela talks about five essential supporting characters types:

  • the Villain
  • the BFF/Sidekick
  • the Love Interest
  • the Mentor
  • the Fool

I probably would pick Villain as my (first) favorite, because the opposition of the two forces/values/ideas drives the overall story. Think Harry Potter and Voldemort. Now subtract the villain. Not much of an epic showdown, eh?Β βš‘πŸ’”πŸ˜­β›…

Opposing values? Why certainly. As J.K. Rowling mentions via the Mentor (Dumbledore), Tom Riddle and Harry have very similar backgrounds and ancestry (ish, that really is another topic for another blog), yet the values they espouse are contrary to one another.

Now of course, without the other supporting characters the rest of the story would be much too bland. Harry without Hermione and Ron (BFFs)? Hah! Good luck kid, enjoy magic (and certain death).Β πŸ‘»Β Harry without Cho/Ginny (Love Interests)? Debatable, but they do help his character development, as do Neville and Luna (Fools).

But what about Draco!? Ahh, yes. Well, I’d still categorize him as a Villain, but a minor, day-to-day irritation. He’s irking, and maybe threatening, but not really when compared to big Voldy-death over there. I won’t even touch Snape, because I’m getting off topic enough as it is, and I didn’t meant for this to be a Harry Potter analysis (which other people do a lot better).

Recapitulating, perhaps the Villain is the second half of the main course (steaks vs fries? A delectable combo!), butΒ the other supporting characters are all the spices and sauces making the dish come alive (picky eaters not considered for this particular analogy). Maybe I shouldn’t compare characters to food though, because we all can’t smell them through the pages, and we’re quite unlikely to eat them! Except on cake… Let there be cake! 🍰

Ahem. A quick side note, if you’re crafting or developing your villain, why not have a laugh while doing so! If you haven’t, and even if you have, feast your eyes on the Evil Overlord List. I’d forgotten how hilarious it was!

Moving on!Β πŸƒβ€β™€οΈ

Coming in a close second, let’s talk story type.


I’m a sucker for underdog stories and epic save the world stories! Avengers? Black Panther? Wonder Woman? Batman? X-men? Daredevil? Superman? (Etc, etc, too many to list!) Yeah. I’m there for that, 100%.

Related image
So much love. Too many feelings! (Source)

Truth be told, I don’t think I ever stopped to consider why I react so strongly to those stories (there are tears, trust me). Because they do what I can’t, for starters. They have strong moral integrity, even if they struggle with defining “what’s right” half the time (can’t blame them, the world ain’t black and white).

Because I love it when good/justice prevails over evil, who wouldn’t? Of course that entirely depends on your interpretation of good and evil…

I wish we had actual superheroes, but I love the ‘regular’ heroes we do have: firefighters battling crazy fires and savings lives, policemen going above and beyond, service members abroad and at home, citizens acting like literal heroes, etc. Seriously, props to you all is an understatement.

Probably the main reason I love underdog/heroic stories is because it’s so damn hopeful. Yes, there will be dark times, tough spots, harder decisions, but at the end of it all, there is light, and good, and justice (and ideally peace). The optimist in me thrives on that hope. That the world can change, and be changed!

Powerful stories shape powerful impressions. I guess writing is a superpower too. πŸ˜‰ Now watch me harness my (newly discovered) superpower and change the world! 😊

Write on,
Ali J.

Do you have a favorite supporting character archetype? What about story type? Is writing your superpower? What are you harnessing it for? Share your thoughts below!


Contests & Blog Updates

Happy (very belated) Chinese New Year!Β πŸŽ‰πŸŽŠπŸŽ†πŸ•

Dogs are finally getting the recognition they deserve (again). But what about dogs under the couch/car/table? Underdogs too shall be recognized. πŸΆπŸ‘‘Β Ha. Ha ha? 🐾 (I need some fluff cuddling…)

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5 Year Anniversary

Image result for celebratory banners

Happy birthday blog!Β πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‚ You’re nearly old enough for kindergarten!

I was going to write a longer, perhaps sentimental, post, yet sadly– I failed to draft this appropriately ahead of time, woke up with a killer migraine, and slept over half the day. Welcome to life. 😬😴

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Cinematic Short Story Contest Update!

Squeeeeeee! 🀩

Ahem, forgive me. The email took me by surprise this morning (pros of living in a different timezone?), but very excited to announce I’m a semifinalist for Screencraft’s Cinematic Short Story Contest!! 😍


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Fear Not Resistance, It Lights Your Path #DIYMFA

I’m back, as promised! (Wait, I can actually keep those??)Β  A bit later than I promised, but I made it back, so that’s a win in my book.

DIY MFA Book Club has actually ended, but I still want to answer all the prompts (im)patiently sitting in my inbox, and no one can tell me otherwise, so hah!Β πŸ˜‡

Today’s prompt is a bit harder to tackle:


“Resistance comes from fear, and fear has a purpose.”
Gabriela, DIYMFA

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Best (Worst?) Practices, An Odyssey #DIYMFA

Happy February!

I meant to answer this prompt earlier, but I had a story to write for NYC Midnight‘s #shortstorychallenge2018! Sad to say procrastination grabbed a hold of me by Wednesday, throwing all productivity aside (engaging all the fear monsters though), but I managed to write 1,500 (aka most of it) on Saturday and of course had a last minute full on editing session before resubmitting. Judges be all judgy. Que sera, sera!

I’m well behind on prompts, so I’ll try my best to catch up, which may mean more than one update a week (gasp)! Our first prompt this week:


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Creativity: Wh’re Doth Thee Cometh From? #DIYMFA


This post is a tad late, as life happened (including Exciting News!!), but I’m honoring my reality and that is prioritizing writing a brand new story for the NYCMidnight #shortstorychallenge2018!

This prompt, ironically enough, required more thinking that the last one. Who gets writer’s block about creativity!? … Me, that’s who. 😞


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