Steven Pressfield started a series on his blog titled “Start with the Villain.” I haven’t written any fiction yet, but it sounds like great advice.
It got me thinking this morning.
“Start with the villain” is great advice for non-fiction writing, too.
In fact, Pressfield is well known for his incredible work of non-fiction in The War of Art. In that book identified and defined the Resistance, an unrecognized enemy that artists and entrepreneurs struggle to overcome to create their work.
If you are a blogger, for example, your posts should offer the tools and training your audience needs to defeat the villain. The readers are the heroes and you are the guide.
Who is their villain? What are you helping them overcome?
A food blogger’s villain, for example, might be boring meals. Depending on the focus of the blog, it might be processed food or meals with meat.
A travel blogger’s villain could be the 9-5 work culture or expensive living.
A successful personal finance blogger has to identify the conventional advice that keeps people from financial success as their enemy.
When I think about the villain I’m helping my audience of religion teachers defeat, it is boredom–students being unengaged and uninterested in class.
So, what is your villain?
What are you helping your audience overcome?
Identifying the villain gives your audience something to believe in and something to rally together and help one another to defeat.