Analysis

Five Plot Twists That Are Too Obvious

A ship using WWI dazzle camouflage.

Plot twists are tricky business for us storytellers. They need to be foreshadowed so they aren’t jarring, but they also need to be subtle so they don’t feel telegraphed. Then you have to consider differences in your audience. Trope-savvy readers can spot even the subtlest … read more »

Six Overpowered Characters and How to Fix Them

Characters are overpowered for all kinds of reasons, but the effect is always the same. Either the character overcomes challenges way too easily or the author has to insert a massive contrivance to keep the conflict going. Neither outcome is satisfying, so if you ever … read more »

Eight Sexist Themes From The Witcher TV Show

Renfri and Geralt fighting from The Witcher.

Netflix’s TV adaptation of The Witcher has been making all kinds of waves recently, for everything from its impressive fight choreography to its critic/audience split* to Henry Cavil’s impressive abs. You may have heard that it was criticized by a misogynist pundit for the outlandish … read more »

Eight Effective Animal Companions

Baby Yoda stands outside holding a cup.

Animal companions are semi-characters with simple personalities and limited agency. While they have feelings, they don’t usually talk or undergo character arcs. Instead of pursuing their own goals, animal companions give devoted assistance to a protagonist. Read more »

Five Stories Where the Heroes Lack Agency

When characters have agency, it means their choices matter in the story. The more agency a character possesses, the greater impact they have on the plot. This doesn’t only include their successes. A character can still have agency through failure, so long as that failure … read more »