Analysis

Five Emotional Arcs That Fell Flat

Riker looking confused in sickbay. Drama is a cornerstone of storytelling. Even the most action-heavy violence-fests need an emotional core if they want to be more than a forgettable special-effects reel. We have a number of articles covering how to get the right feels in your story, from character arcs … read more »

Five Useless Powers in Popular Stories

Bunny, Jack, and Santa in action poses from Rise of the Guardians. Special powers are a cornerstone of speculative fiction. Whether they come from ancient magics or alien evolution, we love to see characters with abilities that humans cannot possess. Such powers provide excellent novelty and wish fulfillment. But sometimes storytellers don’t think about how their powers actually … read more »

Six Pointless Deaths in Spec Fic

Many people are familiar with the character shield and plot-armor tropes: those points in a story where it really feels like a character should die, but the writer won’t let them. It turns out that many stories have the opposite issue: a character dies for … read more »