Commentary

Recognizing Bad and Good Storytelling Advice

Writing advice comes at all levels of quality, from enlightening, to helpful in some circumstances, to story-ruining. For an example of all of these, just look at our breakdown of Kurt Vonnegut’s Eight Rules of Writing. Yes, Kurt Vonnegut, a famous writer, had advice that ran … read more »

Why Storytelling Advice Is Such a Mess

Learning most crafts is a fairly straightforward process. Not so with storytelling. While a simple search will give you a plethora of tips and tricks, the fiction industry has no time-tested method of teaching the craft to newcomers. Based on the methods of those who are … 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 »

Five Signs Your Story Is Transphobic

Three soldiers crossdress in Disney's Mulan

It’s time for a look at the most insidious messages targeting trans people. To improve how our stories treat trans people, we need to consider not only trans women and trans men, but the entire gender spectrum. That includes people who … Read more »

Why Aliens Wouldn’t Be Hostile

Many people think we should avoid contacting aliens because they’ll be hostile to us. I hear this everywhere, from folks in my roleplaying group all the way up to geniuses like Stephen Hawking. For the moment, this is a purely theoretical question. If there isn’t intelligent … read more »

Five Tips for Telling Stories of Resistance

Furiosa and Max aiming guns.

In a time when oppression is more visible than ever,* many authors wish to pen stories of resistance. They are inspired by films like Rogue One and novels like Marie Lu’s Legend, stories where the characters stand up to the evils of power. Such stories … read more »