Storytelling

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 »

Five Disappointing Villains

Creating good villains is difficult. Any character needs personality, motives, flaws, and agency, but villains also have to be threatening or relatable. By analyzing bad examples like these, we can learn what to avoid. 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 »

Six Clichés to Watch Out For

Clichés are tricky things. They sneak into our writing when we least expect it. You open up your manuscript for editing and discover to your horror that you’ve written a Chosen One story! On the subject of clichés, Ethan Fletcher sent us this question: What … read more »

Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them

Tropes get repeated over and over again throughout spec fic, and usually that’s fine. Many tropes are perfectly acceptable. Others are just lazy writing, sacrificing believability for narrative convenience. We’re concerned with the second group today. Fear not, there’s always a way out, no matter … read more »