Storytelling

The Dual Plot Structure That Makes Stories a Success

We’ve previously discussed how every story requires a throughline – the plot arc that binds the story together. Most manuscripts desperately need to prioritize a single plot arc and cut whatever doesn’t fit within that. But like most things, throughlines are more complex in practice … read more »

How Do You Handle Protagonists Who Kill?

questions and answer talk bubbles

I don’t think it’s controversial to say that killing is abhorrent. But in my novelette series, particularly the latest story, there is a great deal of cultists to be killed. I don’t particularly want to dive into the protagonist’s slow mental breakdown at the horror … read more »

Six Ways to Bluff That Your Hero Will Die

Three skeletons playing cards

Many stories use the possibility that the hero will die to keep the story tense. But since heroes live through most life-threatening situations, it’s difficult to convince savvy audience members that your hero could meet their end. To get the drop on your audience, you’ll … read more »

What’s the Purpose of a Sidekick Like Heihei?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Thinking through hero’s journey and story archetypes (newbie here!) and was watching the recent Pixar movie Moana. My question is, what do you see as the function of or reason for a story to choose a relatively inanimate/neutral sidekick like Heihei (Moana’s chicken, that, though providing some … read more »

How to Break Storytelling Rules

Broken window with a blue sky on the other side

While all rules can be broken, breaking them successfully takes a robust knowledge of storytelling principles. How do you know when breaking a rule is successful? In concept, that’s simple; you’re successful when you gain more from breaking the rule than following it. Of course, … read more »

189 – Gray Morality

The Mythcreant Podcast

Sometimes it’s obvious who’s right and who’s wrong. The hero is kind and good, while the villain is cruel and evil. But what if that’s not the case? What happens when morality isn’t black and white but rather a shade of gray? That’s what we’re … read more »

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. But for these norm-breaking characters to work, storytellers need to write them well. Read more »