Storytelling

Five Tips for Characters That Go Against the Flow

Spock and Data from Star Trek stand next to each other

Everyone likes characters that go against the status quo, whether that means holding an unpopular belief, having a different worldview, or seeing events differently from the average sentient being. Such characters provide endless storytelling opportunities and fun character interactions. But for these norm-breaking characters to … read more »

How Do I Portray a Smart Character?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I have a question about writing from characters’ POV (3rd limited) – specifically from very clever characters’ POV. Like Soo-Won from “Akatsuki no Yona” or Lelouch from “Code Geass” – I really like these types of characters, and I want to have similar ones as … read more »

Accounting for Character Identification

Harry Potter wearing the sorting hat

Most principles of character likability work for a broad audience. But when a reader identifies with a character in your story, it can alter likability in ways that are difficult to predict. What’s more, every reader could identify with a different character, creating highly varied … read more »

Four Challenges of Nonlinear Narratives

A typical story opens when a problem appears and moves forward steadily in time until that problem is resolved. This linear progression is popular for good reason. It’s easier for us humans with our puny three-dimensional existence to understand, and it keeps us guessing what … read more »

Eight Absurdities We Force on Female Characters

Aes Sedai from Wheel of Time Cover Art

Have you ever noticed how many more articles there are about writing female characters than there are about writing male characters? What’s up with that? Are women such strange and unusual creatures that we need an ever-growing number of books and articles to tell us … read more »

Understanding Character Karma

Lady Justice sits with her sword, holding up her scales

Character karma is a useful concept that helps us understand how to craft stories that are engaging and satisfying. While I’ve mentioned the concept in many other places, it’s overdue for a full article on the ways it affects our stories. First, what is character … read more »

What Makes Stories Go Viral

spreading virus

Not everything that goes viral is a picture with a funny caption. Fiction also spreads on such social media sites as Facebook and Tumblr. I’ve been analyzing viral stories as I’ve seen them, and I’d like to report back to all the interested writers out there. But before … read more »

Five Underused Character Archetypes

Storytellers love character archetypes. They feel ancient and symbolic, and they’re just fun to play with. A while back, we mentioned some archetypes we think stories are usually better without. To banish the rain on our archetype parade, here’s five we want to see more … read more »