Inspiration

Five More Dualities That Can Replace Good and Evil

Abby, Marcus, and Clarke stare at a shame-faced Bellamy in the 100

Stories about good and evil are classic, but black and white morality can rob a story of complexity and nuance. That’s why a couple of years ago, I provided some alternatives. Since one article can’t cover every source of gray conflict, I’m back at it. Look over these dualities the … read more »

Five Plausible Scenarios for Planetary Evacuation

We scifi authors love to write stories about abandoning Earth and colonizing space. We also love to write scientifically plausible stories. This is a problem, because most stories about evacuating our home planet are wildly implausible. Most planetary evacuation scenarios don’t work for two main reasons. The … read more »

Choosing a Weapon for Your Hero

Tausug weapons

Every story revolves around some type of conflict, but speculative fiction usually prefers physical fights. Yes, the sword is the queen, and hand-to-hand is king, but why not be a little creative? Let’s dive into the process of choosing the best weapon for your protagonist. Read more »

Five Underused Settings in Spec Fic

Speculative fiction has a wide variety of settings, genres, and subgenres, and some get more attention than others. Space opera and European high fantasy have been the top dogs for decades, with up-and-comers like urban fantasy and steampunk taking most of what’s left. But there … read more »

Six Subversive Heroes for Stand Out Stories

Today’s popular stories pick most of their heroes from the same narrow group of people, reinforcing destructive stereotypes and stripping characters of interesting variation. But storytellers get a silver lining: we have an easy opportunity to make our heroes stand apart by subverting convention. To get started, take some worthy people who … read more »

Seven Scenarios That Provide Immediate Conflict

The airship Hindenburg, on fire at the stern.

Hooking readers is the first job of any story, and to do that you need conflict. But where does that conflict come from? Writers often spend the first part of their story exploring the setting, looking for the cracks where conflict can be found. Because nothing … read more »

Six Ways Guns Change a Fantasy Setting

We’re all looking for ways to make our fantasy setting stand out. One great way to do that is with an iron tube packed with explosives and a round ball of lead. I’m talking about guns, of course. Despite being a major force in human … read more »

Ten Ways to Generate Story Ideas

When storytellers are asked where their ideas come from, many don’t know how to answer. Idea generation is a personal process that relies on the subconscious mind. But that doesn’t mean you can’t learn how to harness your imagination. It’s just a matter of discovering … read more »

Five Innovative Horror Stories to Read

Hark, for it is the night on which we don our most terrifying garb and roam the streets in search of victims – I mean candy. We all love horror stories, especially on Halloween, but after a while they get stale. You can only watch … read more »