Analysis

Four Popular Shows That Strived for Gender Equality

Telling an egalitarian story means fighting back against a lifetime of cultural programming, not to mention systematic bias in production, publishing, and marketing. So even when we try to make our stories just, problems we haven’t noticed can sneak their way in. Graded on a … read more »

Six Characters Who Should Have Died

Character death is a tricky subject, whether in prose, roleplaying games, or television. Sometimes a character can pass before their time, especially if an actor’s contract expires or a critical hit goes the wrong way. On the other hand, the death of a beloved character … read more »

Six Female Archetypes of Stephen King

Stephen King* has published over sixty books since 1974 and has at least five film adaptations in development purgatory at any given time. He has no shortage of opinions on his chosen field and the audience he sells it to, which he celebrated in his … read more »

Ten Gender Reversals We Need in Our Stories

We tell the same stories to ourselves over and over. That’s okay; people are comforted by the same themes and drawn to the same conflicts. Unfortunately, we also can repeat tropes just because we never thought critically about them. And when we do that, we … read more »

Lucy Shows Us How NOT to Tell a Story

Let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t sat down at their desk one day and thought, “Maybe I should write a story that’s terrible in every possible way?” That must have been the process behind the 2014 action film Lucy, because I can think of … read more »

Five Characters With Too Much Candy

Candy is any story element that glorifies a character. It may not be something they like, but it makes them seem more awesome to the audience. Normally, candy is great. However, like most things, too much candy is a problem. We describe such characters as Mary Sues. Read more »

The Three Traits of Annoying Characters

Once in a while, storytellers slip up when crafting a protagonist. A character that was supposed to be an audience favorite becomes the focus of malice and frustration instead. While each person’s taste in characters is unique, some traits are likely to inspire intense dislike. … read more »