Commentary

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 »

Six Sources of Censorship to Terrify You

Recently, a slew of articles have asked if sensitivity readers act as a form of censorship.* For those not familiar with the term, sensitivity readers are consultants who advise authors about whether a story has offensive or harmful content. If an able-bodied author has a … read more »

When Dark and Gritty Is Just Exploitation

Daenerys being held aloft by freed slaves.

­Some weeks ago, the makers of the Game of Thrones TV series, Benioff and Weiss, announced their next project. Titled Confederate, it will feature an alternate-history US where the South won the Civil War and slavery is still legal. In response, many social justice advocates … read more »

A Storyteller’s Guide to Criticism

A book with pages torn out.

Criticism is the low point of many storytelling careers. It crushes our dreams and makes us feel like our darling creations have been torn apart. But no matter how much we dislike criticism, we need it more. How can we benefit from something that cuts us so deep? Read more »