Storytelling

Six Tricks for Memorable Character Moments

If your audience is attached to your character, they’ll relish the moments you bring that character to life. If they aren’t, character highlights could be just what they need to become attached. Use these six methods to craft satisfying scenes that highlight the unique traits … read more »

Matriarchies, Patriarchies, and Beyond

Mythcreants hosted a panel at this year’s GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Chris, Oren, Rhys, and I discussed gender in spec fic and how you can create matriarchal, patriarchal, or egalitarian societies for your stories. It was a lively event with many challenging questions from the audience. … read more »

Five Horror Cliches Waiting to Be Broken

Like any genre of storytelling, horror has certain rules and techniques that make it more effective. That isn’t usually a problem. Otherwise, we might play Yakety Sax during the chase scene. But sometimes, these conventions get overused and become predictable. That’s not scary. Other times, … read more »

Five Dualities That Can Replace Good and Evil

Let’s face it, fights between pure good and absolute evil are getting old. Black and white morality doesn’t lend itself to nuanced characters, and it rarely feels realistic anymore. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have epic battles that determine the fate of the world. … read more »

How to Make Your Villain Threatening

If your big bad doesn’t feel threatening, your story will lose its power. Unfortunately, making an intimidating antagonist isn’t as simple as replicating Dracula or Darth Vader and putting them in the path of the main character. But with a little thought, you can make … read more »

How to Use Undead in Your Stories

Undead creatures aren’t limited to shamblers and neck-biters. They come with a wide range of options, and each has its own strengths. A little thought and planning will help you choose the best creatures for your story and help set your undead antagonists apart from … read more »

Creating a Fresh Vampire Antagonist

Living in spooky castles or just next door, vampires provide excellent antagonists for speculative fiction. They’re humanity’s predatory reflection, something that looks like us and yet isn’t. Unfortunately, they’re also overplayed. Vampires are so common in fiction that the novelty has worn off. Even when … read more »

Is Backstory Necessary?

We received this question from Ruth Huish: Often I read a book and they spend so much time focusing on the subplot that I just want to say, “Get over it! I want to hear about the time-sensitive plot at hand.” And usually that plot … read more »

Why & How to Kill a Hero

Unless you’re writing a slasher,* killing an important protagonist is a tough decision that can have a profound effect on your story. For most works, it will have both benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the dynamics of character death can help you avoid pitfalls and select … read more »