Many of my preliminary readers don't think my villains are very likeable. Jack X McCallum at the Dark Red Press blog agree with them. Your villain has to have some likable quirks. McCallum's got some interesting tips about Creating Characters and Why Your Bad Guy Needs to Be Liked.
Now for the best advice I've read this week, ie. the most useful for me. It comes from Chris Robley at Book Baby [a commercial venture]. He gives some great tips on marketing your books without breaking you budget. -- Some people might fault me for including a commercial company, but the list is still a good one.
Now for the ugly advice ... from grumpy old me. Keep writing ... no matter what it looks like. You can always go back and revise and edit and revise and edit, etc. If you get an idea either further ahead or behind in the plot, go back in your draft and write a note to yourself in a different colored ink. The important thing is
- to dump your MC &/or friends in a difficult situation in the first act;
- make the situation worse for the MC in the second act;
- and the come to a resolution through the MC's actions at the last chapter in the third act.