Tag Archives: novels

Plans For Future Novels (And Beyond)

https://johnathonjones.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/nature-highway_00376687.jpg?w=1465&h=916

It’s been a month since I released my first published novel, “Passion Relapse,” with Totally Entwined Group. It’s still an exciting milestone in my ongoing efforts to become a successful erotica/romance writer. At some point, I’d like to remove the “aspiring” moniker to that title. I know I have a long way to go, but I want to keep taking steps.

Now I’m still going to promote the hell out of “Passion Relapse.” Expect me to fit that into future blog posts in any way I can, whether the topic involves sex robots, superhero comics, virtue signaling, or sleeping naked. I’ll keep finding ways to promote my book and my brand.

On top of that, I want to announce that I’m already working with Totally Entwined Group to publish a second book. I’ve also just started writing a third one. On top of that, I’m still doing regular blog posts. So I’ll be keeping myself pretty busy, but when you’re work involves telling sexy stories and talking about sexy topics, it really doesn’t feel like work.

https://pbs.twimg.com/profile_images/727344109627691008/wSyBrWWS.jpg

With respect to details about my next book, I can’t reveal much because I just submitted the manuscript to Totally Entwined Group a few days ago. I don’t even know if they’ll accept it. They may find something about it that just doesn’t fit with their catalog at the moment. I probably won’t know for sure until my editor reviews it and makes the decision.

In the event it’s not accepted, that’s okay. I’ll see that as a setback, but not a defeat. That’s because that when I send query letters to other publishers, I can now say that I’ve been published before.

https://i0.wp.com/www.insidethegames.biz/media/image/8744/l/GettyImages-150163913.jpg

One of the most frustrating parts of the dozens of query letters I’ve sent over the years was that I had to reveal that I’ve never been published before. Most publishers and agents request that you answer that question in your letter. If you’ve been published before, then that gives you an edge. I know “Passion Relapse” is my only published book, thus far, but it’s still better than zero.

That said, I do have high hopes for this second book. I think it fits with the themes and brand of Totally Entwined Group. Those who enjoyed “Passion Relapse” will definitely enjoy this book. Again, I don’t want to reveal too much since it’s being reviewed, but here’s a quick teaser.

Have you ever been trapped? Has your life ever been stuck on a dark path from which you cannot escape? Well, a beautiful young woman from a dying town was on such a path. Her life seemed set. She’d long since stopped trying to avoid it. Then, one fateful night, someone came to her in her time of greatest need. That someone became her angel, saving her from a cruel fate. Now determined to escape the path that had trapped her, she seeks to forge a new life, one that she hopes will lead her back into the arms of her angel.

It’s a story that’ll cater to many sexy tastes. It has love, lust, drama, action, heart, and everything in between. While it won’t be quite as long as “Passion Relapse,” it will be just as sexy and heartfelt.

I’ll be working closely with my editor on bringing this book to the market as soon as possible, assuming they accept it. I’ll post regular updates on this process. I don’t know if it’ll happen by the end of this year, but I’ll work to get it out there for fans of sexy stories as soon as possible.

https://i2.wp.com/orig01.deviantart.net/1ad7/f/2009/026/b/3/oe57_by_stefa_zozokovich.jpg

In the meantime, I just started my next novel. I can’t even tease this one because I haven’t even finished the first chapter. I will tease one part about it, though. The story within and the themes of that story were largely inspired by some of the topics I’ve discussed on this blog. When you read it, you’ll know which topics I’m referring to. You might even know the specific posts.

Beyond that, though, I have plenty of ideas. However, I’m not going to make concrete plans until after I finish this book and get a sense of where I’m at with Totally Entwined Group. I don’t want to get too ahead of myself and jump the gun. There are some very dirty jokes I could make with that last sentence, but I’ll hold off.

There are a lot of sexy stories I want to tell. I’m hoping one of those stories is sexy enough to make me a truly successful erotica/romance writer. It may take a while, but much like true love or great sex, it’s worth working towards.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Announcement

Behind The Passion: What Inspired “Passion Relapse”

passionrelapse_800

Now that “Passion Relapse,” my first published erotica/romance novel by Totally Entwined Group, has been released, I can finally take a deep breath and reflect for a moment. I admit I’m still somewhat giddy. It’s my first release from a publisher. Like losing your virginity on your prom night, it’s an intense experience for all the right reasons.

I still intend to savor this moment and promote the hell out of my book. So if in my future posts, I keep sneaking in a mention of “Passion Relapse” and why you should buy it, you’ll know why. I’m not trying to get overly subliminal on my audience, but I do want this book to sell. I also want to grow my brand as an erotica/romance writer.

As part of that process, I thought I’d take some time to talk about gritty, sexy details of “Passion Relapse” and what inspired it. Like all novels, there was some inspiration behind this sexy story. It’s not just about two people coming together and sharing some sexy time. There are some serious themes that help heighten the passion. It’s a kind of passion you won’t find on any late-night Cinemax movie.

The first spark of inspiration for this novel came from discussions about sexual addiction. It’s actually a controversial topic and one that’s lacking in major substance. There’s even controversy over whether sexual addiction is really a thing because it doesn’t share some key qualities with other forms of addiction.

https://i1.wp.com/www.slate.com/content/dam/slate/articles/sports/sports_nut/2015/12/151207_SNUT_Tiger-Woods-Career-Human.jpg.CROP.promo-xlarge2.jpg

Regardless of how real it is, I was more interested in the mentality of those who really felt addicted to sex. I do believe that addiction is more complex than anything Nancy Regan ever claimed. I believe it is possible for our faulty human brains to become wired in a way to that leaves people hopelessly addicted to this basic biological act.

What exactly goes through the minds of someone who’s addicted to sex? How do they see themselves and their addiction? What happens when that addiction becomes too much for them? That’s what I explore through the two main characters in “Passion Relapse,” Mary Williams and Peter Rogers.

Both of these characters struggle with sex addiction, but not in the comical way that bad porno movies joke about in between scenes. Their addictions really have ruined their lives and undermined their ability to function. They enter this story so broken, so devastated, and so utterly lost that finding love is the last thing on their mind.

That leads to the second major inspiration of “Passion Relapse,” which is somewhat related to the first. To highlight this, here’s a quick question that should put it into context.

Think back to your youth. Think of someone who had everything that others aspired to be. They were beautiful, charismatic, outgoing, loving, and affectionate. Everyone wanted to be around them. Everybody wanted to know them. They always had a lover. They were always the life of the party. They could enjoy every little pleasure with little effort. Getting sex for them was like getting a pizza.

https://i2.wp.com/weddingplannerbookhq.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Bachelorette-Party-at-Las-Vegas-For-a-Sassy-Sexy-Girls-Night-out-3.jpg

We’ve all known someone like that in our lives. I can remember a few from my youth. Now imagine that there’s a much darker undertone to that person’s charisma. Imagine there’s a problem gnawing at them internally, one they hide well, but never truly escape. It goes beyond addiction. It’s something more fundamental, something that addiction only makes worse.

Some people go their whole lives covering up this problem. Peter and Mary could’ve been one of them. In “Passion Relapse,” they were uniquely situated to basically mask every problem they ever had. They could’ve easily spent their whole lives never having to confront it.

That’s not how it plays out though. Like many addicts, Peter and Mary go through their own distinct “moment of clarity.” For them, however, the moment isn’t just difficult. It’s downright traumatic.

What happens to someone when they go through something so traumatic that it utterly breaks them. Psychological trauma is a very powerful force. It strains our brain’s ability to process our feelings, emotions, and everything in between. Add addiction to the mix and you’ve got a volatile cocktail of mental distress.

https://i1.wp.com/veteranstrainingsupportcenter.org/images/uploads/blog/depression3.jpg

That distress, however, can force us to become more honest with ourselves and others. It can also force us to see the world in a new way. For two people, like Mary and Peter, who once saw the world as an endless parade of pleasures, it’s sobering in the best and worst of ways.

It’s also through this distress that Mary and Peter connect. It’s not just an emotional connection either. It’s not just physical. How do two people who are struggling with addiction and mental trauma come together? What kind of passion does it take to forge such a connection? Just how powerful can that connection be?

I’ll stop teasing right there because that’s getting dangerously close to spoiler/foreplay for “Passion Relapse.” I’d much rather people actually buy it and see for themselves how these two characters come together through their pain. It’s a difficult journey, but one I do my best to make sexy as hell.

In the continued interest of promoting the hell out of my first book, I’ll leave you with a quick excerpt that should get the blood flowing in the right direction.

“As my needs became a full-blown addiction, things escalated pretty quickly,” Mary said. “To exercise my growing libido, I made it more challenging on myself. I fucked police officers, aspiring politicians, pastors and even a gym teacher who worked at a local elementary school.”

“That doesn’t sound too bad,” commented Peter.

“Oh, yeah? I once blew the pizza guy in exchange for extra toppings,” added Mary.

“Okay, I take it back. It does sound bad.”

Are you curious now? Want to see more? Well, head over to Totally Entwined Group or onto Amazon to buy “Passion Relapse.” Your heart, your libido, and various other parts of your body will thank you.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Announcement

“Passion Relapse” Is Out TODAY!

passionrelapse_800

It’s finally here! Today’s the day where the aspiring erotica/romance writer in me can finally say it. I can finally say that, after toiling all these years, trying to craft sexy stories, I got a book published. Just typing that out with a straight face makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. If I were wearing panties, I’d probably have to change them.

Last year, a small publisher called Totally Entwined Group took a chance on me and accepted my manuscript for “Passion Relapse.” After countless rejection letters, some of which were pretty damn discouraging, these wonderful folk decided to give me a shot to tell a sexy story with them. I can’t thank them enough for that chance.

Working with them has been enlightening and engaging. In working with them, I had to do multiple edits of my manuscript, including a total rewrite of the ending. I learned a lot about how to improve my style, my grammar, and the overall sex appeal of my words. It was a hell of an experience and I hope I get to have more like it.

Now, after a long and fruitful process, the big day is here. I can finally say as a writer that I’ve been published. I feel as giddy as a kid on Christmas morning. At the risk of sounding like a Disney character, I’ll just say with the utmost pride and excitement that “Passion Relapse” is now available, courtesy of Totally Entwined Group. Are you looking for sexy romance? Well look no further.

Mary Ann Scott was once an aspiring fitness model and all-around party girl. Now, she’s a sex addict whose recovery is making her miserable. Despite spending nearly a year in a treatment program, she struggles to escape the scars left by her addiction. Then, one night, she crosses paths with Peter Robert Rogers, a childhood friend turned handsome firefighter who just happens to be a recovering sex addict as well.

He comes into Mary’s life broken, distraught and vulnerable. Having experienced that feeling, too, she reaches out to him. Together, they try to help each other heal. But in doing so, Mary doesn’t just open old wounds. She evokes a wealth of pent-up desire…a desire that quickly consumes them both.

Now, she and Peter are nearing the brink of relapsing. They’re on the verge of giving in to their addiction. Will it break them once more? Or will it bring them together and finally heal their wounded souls?

Passion Relapse
(Paperback Version)

Passion Relapse
(eBook Version)

To all those who have supported me, my wonderful family and those who support this blog, I thank you. Now I don’t expect this book to be a top seller. In my view, it’s a step towards telling better and sexier stories. It was a long, arduous process to take that step. Now, I’m ready to take the next step and do it in the sexiest way possible.

7 Comments

Filed under Book Announcement

The Reasons And Excuses Of Character Development

https://i2.wp.com/www.newsarama.com/images/i/000/023/691/original/superman-iconic-first.jpg

Think about your favorite character. Whether it’s Superman, King Arthur, or Christian Grey, think about what made that character tick. Why did they do what they do? How did they go about doing it? What was it about those traits that made them your favorite character?

These questions and whatever answers you give, however basic or kinky they might be, is the hot iron from which great characters are forged. You could have the greatest story since the Iliad. You could have a plot so great that Shakespeare himself would lick the dirt off your feet and say it tastes like candy. It still won’t work if the characters aren’t well-developed, compelling, and iconic.

In fact, being a great character can help them endure piss poor plots and come out unscathed. Superman is the most iconic hero of the 20th century and he was once in a comic where he made a sex tape with someone else’s wife. I swear I’m not making that up. See Action Comics #592 and #593. Who else but Superman could come out of that and remain iconic?

https://i0.wp.com/images.complex.com/complex/image/upload/c_limit,w_680/fl_lossy,pg_1,q_auto/afx5w6oobrxumwautapd.jpg

I celebrate the power of great characters because they are, by far, one of the hardest parts in the creative process. As an aspiring erotica/romance writer, I can attest that this part of crafting a novel is more demanding than tongue kissing a lizard after dental surgery. I probably three times as much energy on crafting the characters compared to the overall plot.

This brings me back to the concept of reasons versus excuses. I said in my first post about the concept that it would apply to erotica/romance novels. I may have an excessive fondness of superhero comics, football, and beer, but I’m a man of my word.

Think back to your favorite characters again and apply that concept to their actions, emotions, and motivations? How many of those traits qualify as reasons? How many of them qualify as excuses? How many are a little of both? If the answers are all over the place, then that’s further proof that the character is compelling and well-developed.

That should be abundantly clear because a great character is like an explorer on a journey with no GPS and a map with gravy stains on it. A lousy character is a glorified rat in a maze whose soul purpose is getting to the cheese. One is inherently more interesting than the other and unless you’re also a rat, you know which is which.

https://i2.wp.com/images.realclear.com/226078_5_.jpg

I’ve learned in my own experience with character development that you can’t have characters completely driven by excuses. That would give them the maturity of a 7-year-old on a toy store. You also can’t have them driven completely by reason either. That would make them as bland as robot with no personality or sex appeal.

Great characters, no matter what the genre or style, have a potent blend of reasons and excuses. Soldiers and warriors like those in Greek or Chinese myths are driven by duty. Those are tangible reasons. They’re also driven by more obscure concepts like honor, hubris, and ambition.

Then, you have characters who are students, parents, lovers, cowboys, business tycoons, athletes, and even prostitutes, like in my novel, “The Escort and the Gigolo.” They have reasons that are tangible and useful for doing what they do. They go to class because they’re students. They practice for a big game because they’re an aspiring athlete. They have sex with a lonely housewife because they’re paid to do so.

https://i.ytimg.com/vi/Dhf2HCRnHfM/hqdefault.jpg

When it comes to excuses, that’s where the complexity really expands. Excuses help explain why someone is a certain type of student, a certain style of athlete, or a certain kind of prostitute. Not all students, soldiers, and prostitutes are the same. They have different motivations for doing what they do. They have just as many motivations for why they do it.

Sure, a student is a student because they have to be, but that same student could be an overachiever because they want to be the next Elon Musk. That’s both an ambitious dream and an excuse, but it’s also helps guide the character. Not every student wants to be the next Elon Musk so the way this character conducts themselves will be distinct.

With respect to erotica/romance, the blend of reasons and excuses gets a lot more potent, not to mention sexy. As hard as it is to create compelling characters with the right mix of reasons and excuses, creating two compelling characters and having them hook up in a believable way is just adding more moving parts to a machine that can blow up in your face if you let it.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/df/61/f2/df61f2df6bc8aabac0558381d9cfb40a.jpg

Any story can just have two random people come together and have sex. That’s basically the plot of every porno ever made. However, porn isn’t crafted with the aim of telling compelling stories or crafting elaborate plots. It’s designed solely to make other people horny on the most basic level. Erotica/romance has to be ten times more elaborate while still making people horny. It’s a hell of a juggling act to say the least.

Take two characters from my book, “Skin Deep.” Ben Prescott and Mary Williams are the primary romance in the story. They both have similar reasons for wanting to be together. They’re both functional, non-sociopath humans. They seek connection, intimacy, and understanding with others. They able console one another when they’re in difficult, vulnerable situations.

Those reasons help make their chemistry believable. Beyond the reasons, though, the excuses add more layers to that chemistry. Ben was not that attractive at the start of the story. He didn’t have a lot of confidence. He’d basically accepted that Mary, who is described in the book as “a young Carmen Electra,” is way out of his league.

https://i2.wp.com/kingofwallpapers.com/carmen-electra/carmen-electra-007.jpg

On Mary’s side of things, she knows she’s attractive. She knows she’s popular. She’s not with Ben in the beginning because she feels as though she should be dating the kinds of meathead guys that beautiful women are supposed to date. It’s an excuse because it’s built on a shallow assumption. Even though others around her completely understand and accept it, that doesn’t make it less of an excuse.

Later in the book, without getting too deep into spoiler territory since I do want people to buy it, there are some cold, inescapable reasons that essentially force them to re-evaluate how they feel about each other. They make excuses to avoid it. They make other excuses to embrace it. In the end, though, it makes for some pretty passionate moments.

The process of developing that romance was not easy. It had a lot of moving parts, a lot of moving targets, and a lot of graphic nudity. That only made it more satisfying when I completed the story. That’s another thing about crafting great characters with a solid blend of reasons and excuses. When you feel you’ve made one, you feel like you just got to polish the shine on Jennifer Lawrence’s ass. It’s a great feeling.

https://i0.wp.com/gatewaysmallgroups.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/empowering-my-purpose.jpg

With my upcoming book, “Passion Relapse,” which comes out on April 18th, I feel I’ve created two strong characters who come together for all the right reasons with all the right excuses. I made it a point to make sure that the way they come together and how they come together feels genuine. I hope those that read it are as satisfied at the end as I was when I completed it. If you can keep your pants on, then consider that a bonus.

Whether you’re writing your own novels, crafting your own erotica/romances, or just celebrating your favorite fictional characters, understanding their reasons and excuses can go a long way towards appreciating them even more. It also ensures that when they hook up with someone whose just as compelling, it’ll be that much sexier.

Leave a comment

Filed under Reasons and Excuses

First Promotional Materials For “Passion Relapse”

passionrelapse_800

Forgive me if my writing reads like something a chipmunk on crack. I’m still buzzing because of the news that my first published novel, “Passion Relapse,” now has a release date. This is really happening. In a couple months, I’ll be able to say with a straight face that I’m a published author.

Expect plenty of overly excited posts over the next few weeks. There will be times when I sound like a giddy cheerleader from a John Hughes movie. I won’t apologize for that either. I’m excited! I can’t help it, nor do I want to.

That said, I know that getting a book published and having that book be a success aren’t the same thing. At some point, I’m going to have to learn how to market myself. That’s something I know next to nothing about. Self-publishing doesn’t really give you much to work with. If you were to self-publish a novel, as I did, and sculpt dildos out of balsa wood, you’d get the same amount of guidance.

In the case of “Passion Relapse,” I have a publisher helping me. Totally Entwined Group is actually going to hold my hand as I enter this bold, new, sexy world. Again, I’m as excited as a squirrel in a nut factory. I look forward to working with them on this and, hopefully, future projects.

They’ve already started doing their part. Yesterday, they sent me a few promotional images. I’ll be adding them to my website as the release date draws near. For now, I’d like to share the first and most vital image.

Think of it as the first trailer to my novel. It doesn’t have bad rock music from the early 2000s or Tom Cruise running from random explosions, but it offers a brief, concise teaser of sorts for what this novel is about. If it helps, play some old Backstreet Boys songs to set the mood.

passionrelapse_9781786511645_postcard

This, my friends, is the first in what I hope to be many teases for “Passion Relapse.” Are you intrigued/excited/horny yet? Good! In just a couple of months, that feeling will pay off. I’ll make sure of it.

Leave a comment

Filed under Book Announcement

Big Announcement: “Passion Relapse” Release Date!

passionrelapse_800
I’ve been waiting a while to make this announcement. I’ve been waiting like a 21-year-old man anticipating his first lap dance at a strip club. To say I’m giddy with excitement would be like saying kids are intrigued by chocolate fudge ice cream.

Last year, I announced that my book, “Passion Relapse,” had been picked up by a publisher. Then, a couple months ago, I announced that I had been working with the publisher on some major edits to the manuscript. It was a lot of hard work, requiring late nights and extra glasses of whiskey, but I got it done. Now, those efforts are about to bear fruit.

So with pride in my heart and a bulge in my pants, I’m ready to officially announce the release schedule for “Passion Relapse,” courtesy of Totally Entwined Group. Yes, this is happening. My first true published book is really happening. I wish I could show everyone the expression on my face as I type these words. It would make your day.

Earlier this week, I got confirmation of the release schedule, as well as the sexy cover art that I think worked out nicely. As of this moment, here’s how “Passion Relapse” will find its way to the masses and, hopefully, into the hearts and panties of many.

Pre-Order: March 7, 2017

Early Download (Digital Only): March 21, 2017

General Release (Digital and Paperback): April 18, 2017

Mark your calendars. Clear your schedule. If possible, arrange some intimate private time with your lover or significant other. This novel should get your hearts racing, among other body parts.

I’ve been in constant contact with the fine, dedicated, and undeniably sexy editorial staff at Totally Entwined. We’re ironing out a marketing plan that I hope to share on my blog both before and after the release date. I’ll be sure to announce those juicy details once they’re finalized.

Until then, stock up on clean panties and clear out your e-reader as best you can. “Passion Relapse” is coming and hopefully, we’ll all come along for the ride. Yes, I know that was some very suggestive word choice. Yes, I’m aware of the sexy connotations. No, I do not care and will not apologize.

7 Comments

Filed under Book Announcement

The Hero’s Journey Vs. The Villain’s Journey

Let’s face it. When we find a winning formula, we like to follow that formula as closely as possible for as long as we can. Why wouldn’t we? We like winning. We like things that work. Who goes out and buys a broken car just because they’re tired of buying one that works?

In terms of winning formulas in pop culture, few are as tried and true as the so-called “Hero’s Journey.” It’s a formula that’s been around since the “Epic of Gilgamesh,” a story so old that the bible may have ripped it off to some extent. For something to have worked for that long, it must be doing something right.

The concept was somewhat formalized in 1949 when Joseph Campbell described it in his book, “A Hero with a Thousand Faces.” In its simplest, most basic form, he sums up the formula like this:

A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man.

Read over this simple summary, think back to some of the most iconic heroes of all time, and you’ll find it applies to a lot of characters. From King Arthur to Luke Skywalker to Harry Potter, the formula of the Hero’s Journey is so tried and true that any fiction without it is akin to a cake without frosting.

Then, Walter White came along. Suddenly, the “Hero’s Journey” just wasn’t enough for people anymore. They’ll still gladly embrace that narrative, so much so that they’ll make superhero movies a billion-dollar industry. However, audiences now show that they’re in the mood for something different. What else explains Bryan Cranston’s multiple Emmy awards?

Enter a different journey, one that has played out before, but never got the same attention or Emmy consideration as the Hero’s Journey. I’m talking about the “Villain’s Journey” now. The name may be unoriginal, but its formula is just starting to evolve.

So what exactly is that formula? Is it just the complete opposite of the Hero’s Journey? Well, it’s not accurate to say it’s completely unique to that narrative. It’s also not accurate to say it’s a mirror image that would warrant full-blown plagiarism like those practiced by certain presidential candidates.

To understand this formula, we still need to understand the particulars of the Hero’s Journey. Since this journey has been so studied and belabored, most of those details will be pretty familiar. Anyone who saw Star Wars, Harry Potter, or followed any superhero created by Stan Lee will recognize these details.

Familiar or not, the crux of the journey is that it’s a cycle of sorts. It takes a character down a path that establishes them as a hero archetype. So if we’re going to create a similar journey for a villain, let’s follow this same cycle.

Since I’ve been referencing it in multiple posts, I’ll use “Breaking Bad” and Walter White as the primary example. However, I’ll also cite other famous villains like Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, and Flavor Flav when necessary. I’m not trying to recreate the entire breakdown that Joseph Campbell did. I don’t have the time, energy, or alcohol supply to do that at the moment. I’m just going to highlight the steps of the journey.


Step 1: Ordinary World (With Extraordinary Flaws)

This step is similar to that of the hero, but for the villain, the ordinary world shouldn’t be ordinary. He or she sees that state as a flaw. Walter White certainly did. He was a grossly overqualified high school chemistry teacher who’s run of bad luck and poor decisions put him in a horribly flawed situation. For a villain, that’s just untenable.


Step 2: Answering One’s Own Calling

This is where the villain starts to go in the opposite direction of the hero. For the hero, there’s a call that they must respond to. Whether it’s the murder of their parents or the destruction of their home world, something calls upon them to be heroes.

A villain decides to skip a couple steps. A villain answers their own call. Walter White didn’t need someone telling him to get into the meth business. He saw something he knew he could do and he did it. That’s all there was to it.


Step 3: Gaining Minions

Since the villain is the one making the call, there’s no refusal. There may be reluctance, but the villain doesn’t refuse their ambition, nor do they temper it. It’s a step they don’t have to take when compared to the hero. It’s a shortcut of sorts.

That shortcut gets even shorter once minions get involved. By minions, I don’t mean the kind of throw-away thugs that ever James Bond villain employs. I mean partners that the villain can use, manipulate, or persuade in aid to his goal. For Walter White, he found a minion in Jesse Pinkman. This partnership, while productive, wasn’t always healthy and Jesse certainly suffered at times.


Step 4: Tasting Their First Triumph

This is where the villain gets their first taste of what it’s like to win. It sometimes requires pain, sacrifice, and cunning, but there’s one important theme. They like it. They like it enough to want to do it again. Walt’s first triumph over Tuco, as well as his memorable reaction to it, shows that he’s starting to embrace this world.


Step 5: Beating Out Rivals And Gaining Influence

Once the villain has that taste of triumph, they seek more. They seek it like crack addict in withdrawal. This is where lines are crossed, friends abandon them, and the ambition gains a more selfish undertone.

This is where Walter White starts to ascend from small-time meth cook to full-blown kingpin. Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom underwent a similar journey, crushing anyone who stood in their way, often brutally. Gus Fring can attest to how brutal it can be.


Step 6: Accumulating Rewards (and Wanting More)

At this point, the villain is on top of the world. They’ve beaten their rivals. They’ve vindicated everything their ego has told them. They feel they’ve earned this success. They make any excuses for the lines they crossed or the people they’ve hurt. They reached the top and they’ve since stopped giving a damn about how they got there.

In Season 5 of Breaking Bad, Walter White reached this stage. It was no longer about making money for his family. He said it himself. He wanted an empire. He eventually got it, so much so that he had acquired actual piles of money. Even so, it never seemed to be enough.


Step 7: Hitting A Limit and/or Encountering A Rival

This is the part of the journey where the villain crosses paths with the hero. This is when Lex Luthor encounters Superman. This is when Dr. Doom encounters the Fantastic Four. It’s the proverbial wall that every villain reaches, one in which their endless ambition can go no farther. They can’t get any more and that pisses them off.

For Walter White, this was the point when his meth empire started crumbling. Enemies, including old partners like Jesse Pinkman and friends like Hank Schrader, turned against him. No matter what he did from that point on, his ambition and reward never went further.


Step 8: Endless Struggle and/or Self-Destruction

This is the final step in the journey, one in which the villain has long passed the point of no return. They cannot be redeemed, nor do they want to. They effectively accept their role as a villain. They lose more than they can ever regain. Lex Luthor loses his influence. Dr. Doom loses his power. They never stop and blame themselves either. They just keep fighting others who deny them.

For Walter White, he took the self-destruction route. While he did try to redeem himself to some extent, he never apologized for it. He even admits to his own wife that he did what he did for himself. In the end, it left him alone, but he still fulfilled his ambition. He still succeeded on many levels.


This marks the end of the Villain’s Journey, at least according to my formula. I’m not saying it’s definitive. I’m not even saying that it applies to all villains. There are parts of this journey in which it’s kind of a stretch to apply it to Walter White. There are times when he’s more anti-hero than villain. However, the theme remains the same.

The ascendance of Walter White within pop culture, as well as a growing emphasis on giving villains as much depth as heroes, will likely bring greater scrutiny towards the Villain’s Journey. For now, I’m just looking to get the conversation going. I’m a cook in the kitchen fooling around with the ingredients.

I don’t doubt that there are more skilled chefs who will come along and improve upon this formula. I also don’t doubt that we’ll see more characters go on this journey. They may or may not result in more Emmys for Bryan Cranston, but they will help bring greater balance to the never-ending narrative that guides heroes and villains alike.

3 Comments

Filed under Jack Fisher's Insights