Analysis

Six Stories With Contrived Conflict

Conflict is the engine that moves the plot and lights up characters. But what happens when a storyteller forces conflict into places where it doesn’t make sense? That’s when you get contrived conflict, and it’s usually followed by audiences asking things like “Why are they fighting?” and … read more »

Five Novels With Strong Throughlines

A throughline is the core or central plot thread of your story, the problem introduced in the beginning and resolved in the climax. It’s what ties everything together and keeps the audience engaged. Novels without strong throughlines have a difficult time building tension or creating satisfaction, two … read more »

Five Good Stories That Turned Creepy

Nancy looking pensive in Stranger Things.

It’s easy to find the creepy elements in bad stories. Often those elements are why a story is bad in the first place. Few people are lining up to defend the invasive underwear shots in Star Trek Into Darkness or the blatant misogyny of Michael Bay’s Transformers films. … read more »

154 – The Force

The Mythcreant Podcast

The Force is an energy field created by all living things, except it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with living things. Is it just a collection of Jedi superpowers, or does it mean something more? What is the ‘Dark Side,’ and can there … read more »

Five Underpowered Antagonists

Loki on the ground after being beaten up by the Hulk.

While not all antagonists are full villains, they all provide opposition to the protagonists. It’s their job to drive the story’s conflict, and to do that job well, it must feel like they can defeat the heroes. One reason we remember the likes of Darth Vader and … read more »

The Last Jedi and the Power of Failure

Star Wars: The Last Jedi is an ode to the power of failure. The main characters fail at many of their plans. However, the more they fail, the more they learn and grow. This film shows the benefit of learning from mistakes, giving this tale … read more »

Five Behaviors Fiction Needs to Stop Demonizing

Jake Peralta from Brooklyn 99

A while back, I wrote about bad behaviors fiction needs to stop glorifying. That was only half of the equation. Fiction is just as capable of demonizing benign or helpful behaviors, and it does so with disturbing frequency. This has harmful consequences in real life, … read more »