Analysis

How the Oppressed Mages Trope Sabotages House of X

The ruined X-Mansion from an X-Men Comic

The term oppressed mages refers to any situation in which characters are systematically marginalized for their supernatural abilities, whether those powers come from spellbooks or mutant genes. When I first wrote about this trope, I mostly stuck to general points rather than going after specific … read more »

Five Characters With Fake Spinach

Dresden summoning shield magic.

Candy and spinach are two of our most important concepts here at Mythcreants. Candy is anything that makes a character look cool or otherwise glorifies them. Conversely, spinach is anything that humbles a character or takes them down a peg or two. The best characters … read more »

Carnival Row Shows Us the Damage a Reveal Can Do

A main in Victorian getup stands next to a woman with fairy wings

One of the most common ways storytellers sabotage their stories is by working toward a clever reveal instead of giving their stories a solid foundation. Even when this problem is pointed out in a manuscript, it’s difficult to get writers to change it. They want … read more »

Five Ridiculous Organizations From Popular Stories

Newt emerging from his case in the Wizard Congress chamber.

Organizations play a critical role in speculative fiction. They allow for bigger plots and higher stakes than are feasible with individual characters. However, they are also uniquely challenging. When crafting fictional organizations, storytellers must consider what the organization does, how it operates, where its resources … read more »

Seven Stories With Contrived Character Conflict

Conflict between characters is a vital tool of storytelling, but it can also be tricky, especially when both characters are on Team Good. Authors often have difficulty constructing conflicts where neither character is obviously at fault, or they have difficulty dealing with the implications when … read more »

Six Stories With Failed Turning Points

Spider-Man trying to hold a bisected boat together.

Turning points are critical to a good story. What’s a turning point, you ask? It’s the moment in a story’s climax when the situation changes, when the hero goes from losing to winning, or winning to losing if this is a story that ends poorly. … read more »