Storytelling

Six Ways to Make Your Writing More Cinematic

If you are currently alive, there’s little doubt you’ve at some point heard a prose story referred to as “cinematic.” This means the story is in some way like a movie or television show, and it is the highest of compliments. Motion pictures, be they … read more »

Creating Distinct and Grounded Anti-Heroes

People are flawed, complicated, and strange, but heroes are often simplified and put on pedestals. We don’t need to make everything dark and gritty, but pretending that humanity is spotless limits our stories. That’s where anti-heroes come in. They subvert heroic stereotypes; rather than a selfless white … read more »

Six Ways to Make Your Villain Likable

Penguin from Gotham

Do you need your audience to like a character who kicks dogs, swindles orphans, or is just a big jerk? You have a variety of options to choose from, and the more you choose, the more likable your character will become. To bestow your threatening … read more »

Five More Signs Your Story Is Sexist

As Chris handily pointed out a few weeks ago, keeping sexism out of our stories is more complicated than not being a misogynist jerk. Most authors nowadays know enough not to directly insult women,* but sexism still rears its ugly head. This beast is a … read more »

Eight Easy Tips for Writing a Diverse Story

Diverse stories are important, and we don’t have nearly enough of them in speculative fiction. People outside the dominant group of straight, white cis-men deserve to see themselves represented in stories. If we can’t imagine diverse worlds in fiction, how will we create one in … read more »

How to Turn Your Concept Into a Story

Puzzle in progress

You have a flash of inspiration, but once you sit at your keyboard, that inspiration melts into a murky mess. You’re not sure where your story is going, only that it isn’t getting there. With each attempt at plotting, your excitement is whittled away. Finally … read more »

Five Superpowers That Will Break Your Story

Costume-clad or not, many speculative fiction characters have a superpower of some kind. Maybe they can levitate, shoot lightning out of their hands, or read long blog posts in a single glance. Whenever you give your character an ability that people in real life don’t … read more »

Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if making a story sexism-free was as easy as not being a misogynist jerk? Unfortunately, living in a patriarchal society means that sexism feels normal to most of us. If you want to prevent sexist tropes from getting into your work, you have to learn about them. Read more »

Choosing Viewpoint Characters

Hands holding binoculars

Using the right viewpoint character can give your story a big boost. But all too often, writers choose viewpoint characters that turn their narration into an uphill battle. Whether you’d like to supplement your hero’s viewpoint with visits from side characters, or you’re unsure of … read more »