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Anyone can call in and ask questions: At the appointed time, dial 1-857-232-0155 (long distance charges may apply, depending on your phone plan). Enter the Conference Code: 245657. To raise your hand and ask a question, dial 5*. To Mute yourself, dial 4*.


New interviews are being scheduled. Watch this space for details.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

09: Dan Wells: Monsters, Sociopaths, and Other Sympathetic Characters

Tonight Dan Wells told us about the secrets of creating sympathetic villains, heroic sociopaths, and many other things he learned as the author of I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER, MR. MONSTER, and the soon-to-be-released I DON'T WANT TO KILL YOU.

When he's not writing, Dan also co-hosts Writing Excuses, a weekly writing-advice podcast with Brandon Sanderson and Howard Tayler.

Among Dan's advice:
  • A humorous sociopath with a lousy life who wants to be good will evoke reader's sympathies
  • A good villain will be flashy and/or relatable and/or fascinating
  • Villains need a believable goal--if they want to blow up the world, they'll be just as dead as everyone else if they accomplish it, so it might be a tough sell to your readers
  • A villain can have a try-fail cycle, too--if you're careful
**Warning, this call contains spoilers for I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER**

As always, you can listen to the call here:

Or you can listen to it on Window's Media Player.
(If you're having trouble downloading, switch to Internet Explorer.)

Thanks to Dan and to everyone who called in!


  1. I loved the neighborhood kid knocking on the door so persistently. =D

  2. Thanks, Dan. Great conference call. I learned a lot and you helped me define a question about my villian that I believe will help me make him a more interesting sort.

    I love these teleconference nights. I put my phone in my ear and listen while I do the dishes, clean the toilets, fold the laundry, and do all sorts of other glamorous tasks I can do on autopilot while I listen and learn. Much better than YouTube videos where I am trapped in front of the screen.

    Thanks again,

    Regina Richards

  3. Curious- Will this call be made available as an mp3 as well?

  4. Never mind. I figured it out. Thanks for making these available!


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