337 – Tone, Mood, and Atmosphere

The Mythcreant Podcast What happens in a story is one thing, but what does the story feel like? Some character deaths are gruesome, while some are slapstick comedy. That’s weird, right? This week we’re exploring how and why stories create their overall feeling, made up of things like … read more »

How to Make Large Conflicts Exciting

A woman in armor holds a sword up as she rushes toward a lava giant with two axes It’s hard enough to make simple conflicts exciting, and not all conflicts should be simple. You might have lots of protagonists who need important roles, or you may simply want your conflict to be longer and meatier. Either way, once you add too many elements, … read more »

Where Do I Start My Story?

questions and answer talk bubbles Hi again. So I’ve done all the worldbuilding, I have the plot and know where I want my story to go, but how do I start it? I started with the first chapter but it was boring. I want to show the reader that my … read more »

Six Signs of a Weak Throughline

Kyo patting Tohru on the head. Throughlines are the conflict that ties your story together from beginning to end. The throughline is a story’s core, and if it isn’t working, chances are that very little else is. Unfortunately, a weak or missing throughline is easily the most common problem my content … read more »

Planning Character Arcs

A painting with the profile of a face and abstract imagery of a forest and a woman with birds When I first wrote this guide to character arcs in 2014, I got one important thing right: character arcs are not ethereal unicorns; they follow the same principles as other plot arcs. However, at the time I didn’t know that much about plotting. Plus, great … read more »

Is My Evil Republic Anti-Democratic?

questions and answer talk bubbles Hey Mythcreants, I’ve been working on a novel for some time – 13 months and 17 days, to be precise, and after many long nights staring at my computer, I’m finally getting in the final stages of the writing. And I realized that in my … read more »

What Redemption Arcs Tell Us About Forgiveness

Immediately after he is crowned Fire Lord, Zuko stands next to Aang Because of the #metoo movement and the current moral panic over “cancel culture,” some are wondering if the public is capable of forgiveness. This is often phrased like a rhetorical question, but it has an answer. A skilled storyteller can take a character that’s done … read more »

Six Ways to Add Stakes to a Mystery

Three Lego figures dressed in detective costumes. Mysteries are great fun, but even a murder case doesn’t create much tension by default. If someone’s dead, the worst has already happened to them, and getting justice isn’t typically urgent. Plus, whatever the villain wants to accomplish by the murder is usually unknown in … read more »