The Power of the Dark Side
What Joseph Campbell did to explain myth, Pamela Jaye Smith does to help us understand human menace. She reveals the crucial role of disturbing characters in mythic structure. This is the best guide ever to creating believable villains. The reader also gains a fuller understanding of personal shadow. This illuminating work will be a much-used addition to the writer’s bookshelf.
Founding Curator, Joseph Campbell Archives
Every once in awhile, an exceptional book comes along — such is Pamela Jaye Smith’s latest offering, THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE. She not only defines “bad” and “evil”, but deftly gives us examples from all creative corners, explaining the genesis, the characteristics, and the mythological and psychological underpinnings which can take your storytelling to a whole new stratosphere!
What makes this book such a stand-out is Smith’s winning writing style, which provides us with an entertaining “read” as well as a treasure trove of information which writers can continue to rely upon for decades!
THE SCRIPT-SELLING GAME: An Hollywood Insider’s Look at Getting
Your Script Sold and Produced.
Pamela Jaye Smith…does a great job defining all sorts of villains from the evil witch to the corrupt politician. From the dictator to the teenage clique. If you haven’t even begun to think of your villain (and their underlings or toadies) then this book is for you. If you’ve got a villain but the worst thing they do is rip the tags off of mattresses, then this book is for you. Ms. Smith takes you there, to the dark side, in a very readable way.
The stronger the villain, the stronger the picture, observed Hitchcock. A great villain may kill your hero – but nothing kills a story faster than a weak antagonist. DARK SIDE is an unprecedented tool for helping assure your villains and their schemes are fully developed, thereby bringing out the most in your heroes, plots, themes, and most important, excitement on every page.
Story Analysis for Film, UCLA Extension
THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE is an incredible exploration of the different dimensions of Evil, the shadow, bad guys, and so much more. Pamela Jaye Smith demonstrates once again that she is one of the world’s experts, not only on the world of multicultural (not just Greek and Roman ) mythology but also on the application of the ideas of archetype, symbol, metaphor and cognitive science. While she’s written this book with the writer in mind, her grasp and exploration of the ideas of evil and bad, dark and shadow will be of great value to teachers, therapists, leaders, managers and anyone who deals with people, education, motivation, inspiration, leadership or persuasion.
For writers, it opens up a world of ideas that will help in building better stronger, more interesting and complex antagonists. And we all know, to have a great hero, you need a great villain. Dark Side delivers far more than you’d expect from one book.
the Art, Science and Application of Story
Who doesn’t love the dark side? You know you do! Tony Soprano, Hannibal Lechter, Louie DePalma — everybody loves a great villain. Pamela Jaye Smith’s wonderful new book gives you the tools to harness this wild horse and make your scripts come alive with THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE. A great addition to the library of writing books.
“Everybody Loves Raymond” and author of
The TV Writer’s Workbook from Bantam/Dell.
Fascinating, insightful, profound! The key to writing the deepest, most compelling stories lies in understanding the issue of evil.
With insight, clarity and a wealth of great examples, Pamela Jaye Smith gives storytellers both a deep understanding of the power of conflict to elicit emotion, and an abundance of techniques for harnessing that power to create original, compelling stories, characters and themes.
Writing Screenplays That Sell and Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds:
The Guaranteed Way to Get Your Screenplay or Novel Read
I found Pamela Jaye Smith’s Power of the Dark Side to be of tremendous assistance in the development process of our supernatural thriller feature film project, especially in the area of creating believable villainy.
It’s a fact that the more multi-faceted, clever and resourceful the bad guy is in your story, then more multi-faceted, clever and resourceful the hero has to be to defeat him… Which means a better film for the audience. Pamela Jaye Smith’s insights in THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE will inspire you to create villains truly worthy of all the silvery screens.
Wishful Thinking, Blackheart, In Her Mother’s Footsteps
Well, Pamela Jaye Smith has done it again. Your hero’s only as good as the antagonist she’s fighting. In exploring THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE, Smith has provided all the tools you’ll need to define the villain of your piece. The rest is up to you.
Emmy-winning Writer, Director
THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE is essential reading for writers in all genres who want to authentically portray the quality and power of evil in their characters. Pamela Jaye Smith writes in a highly entertaining style that displays
a profound breadth of knowledge from many disciplines. Whether she’s dealing with evil kids, serial killers, dark-side witches or warlocks, groupthink, or impersonal dark forces of nature, Smith offers powerful tools and insights that will aid the writer in creating original multi-dimensional characters who live on the Dark Side.
Screenwriter, Story Consultant
THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE is a fascinating book, filled with incredible information for anyone, not only writers, interested in the dark side of life. Pamela Jaye Smith has the ability and knowledge to take complex material and make it accessible to readers. I was engaged in the material from a psychological perspective as well as that of a writer. She not only gives writers many new tools to make characters dark and stories dramatic, but she also illustrates on how the dark side affects us in our universe. Congratulations, on a terrific book that illuminates the power of the Dark Side in all of us.
international writing consultant and author of 5 books on writing, the latest,
The Writer’s Portable Therapist: 25 Sessions to a Creativity Cure.
Pamela Jaye Smith has brought screenwriting to a whole new level! Her mythical approach to story and screenwriting has deepened our understanding of conflict and villains and antagonists, and even how to work with the problem of evil. Rich with concepts, examples, and possibilities, any writer would find this helpful in adding dimension and credibility and depth to their characters. This is a book to be read and re-read, and worked with. Fill the margins of this book with ideas and thoughts… Read slowly and often! And besides, you’ll love Pamela’s wit and humor! I laughed out loud more than once!
script consultant, author, screenwriting teacher
For every great hero there has to be a great villain, and crafting the perfect nemesis for our protagonists is perhaps one of the key ingredients in every writer’s perfect recipe. In THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE, Pamela Jaye Smith has once again honed in on the salient and vital points so often overlooked by both veteran and novice writers when constructing a masterpiece to entice and enthrall producers and audiences alike. Whether you’re creating a character we love to hate, designing one of those bad boys (or girls) we can’t help but be drawn to, or trying to convey the age-old “the devil made me do it”, this book is a must-have and a must-read for everyone in the writing business.
This book is not only fascinating (what could possibly be more riveting than evil?) but is also an invaluable resource for anyone involved in the creative side of the video game business. The ultimate test of a game is that it contains exciting game play – gripping challenges for the player to overcome. These challenges are almost always in the form of physical obstacles or living creatures of some sort – human, animal, supernatural or alien life forms. Unfortunately, the physical challenges offered in most games are unimaginative and predictable; and as for the bad guys, they are usually stereotypes we’ve seen a hundred times before… all too often, anonymous figures firing weapons at us. Pamela Jaye Smith’s book is a refreshing antidote to all that — full of excellent ideas on how to create dramatic obstacles and unique, powerful, fully dimensional antagonists.
and other forms of interactive media; author of Digital Storytelling: A Creator’s
Guide to Interactive Entertainment Focal Press)
As an actor, writer, and video game designer, I’ve found The Power of the Dark Side enormously useful. The exercises in this book have enabled me to create much more powerful characters, as both protagonists and antagonists, to say nothing of the ever-favorite Anti-hero. Plus, it’s a fun read!
THE POWER OF THE DARK SIDE is the best book about the worst in all of us. Not only will it make you a better writer, but it will make you a better, more compassionate person.
director, Certifiably Jonathan, Hell of a Guy; writer, Cousins
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