Analysis

Five Redundant Characters in Spec Fic

Some characters are good, some are bad, and some are completely redundant. You may have guessed that we’re focusing on the third category today. These characters fill some role that’s already been taken. Dividing the role between two characters reduces the time available to develop … read more »

Five Strong Characters From Terrible Shows

Some TV shows are just bad. They might have inconsistent writing, terrible special effects, lousy acting, or all three! But sometimes, a character stands out from these awful shows, a shining diamond of good storytelling in the rough of mediocrity. These characters rise above the … read more »

Five Cases of Unfulfilled Foreshadowing

Foreshadowing is used to either make something more believable or to increase tension. In the former, the foreshadowing makes it seem more likely that something might happen. In the latter, it makes the reader worry that something might happen. But what if that something never happens, … read more »

Lessons From the Sloppy Writing of The Tommyknockers

Shadow of person in green glowing woods

It’s time to tear apart The Tommyknockers, written by the venerable Stephen King and published in 1987. In his long and prolific history of writing, King has both gems and duds. Even within a work, his improvised storytelling technique tends to turn out both brilliant moments … read more »

Six Unsolved Cases of Missing Women in Spec Fic

Speculative fiction has always had difficulty including women. The number of spec fic stories that don’t have enough women in them is nearly equal to the number of spec fic stories in existence, but some stories are particularly egregious. The absence of women in these … read more »

Five Failed Animal Companions

Animal companions come in all shapes and sizes, but they do share similar characteristics. First, they’re all animals of some kind, though not always animals we’d recognize. Second, they exist primarily to support another character and rarely have an arc of their own. Third, they rarely … read more »