Storytelling

Five Signs Your Story Is Sexist – Against Men

A muscled Riddick broods on his throne.

You’d think patriarchy would be good for men, but it isn’t. Patriarchy enforces strict standards of masculinity that are impossible to meet. But because masculine traits are glorified, it’s easy to lose sight of how toxic they are to men. As storytellers, we may think we’ve created strong central characters when … read more »

Defeating the Contrivance Bogeyman

Old woman booing Buttercup in the Princess Bride

One of the most common bogeymen in storytelling is contrivance. A contrivance is a break in believability that calls attention to the goals of the storyteller. When the audience encounters one, they stop watching the marionettes in your puppet show and instead stare at the hands that move … read more »

Four Tips for Depicting Disabled Characters

Geordi from Star Trek: TNG at a poker table

Many storytellers are intimidated by including a diverse cast in their stories, not just because they know little about other groups, but because the stakes are so high. That’s why questions like Sarai’s are common: In a historical setting, or a world where not much is known … read more »

Five Steps to a Great Plot Twist

Plot twists are an essential writing tool, and every writer uses them. It’s important to shake up expectations so readers never get complacent. But despite the ubiquity of plot twists, they are really hard to get right. The internet abounds with disgruntled reviews from readers who saw a plot twist … read more »

Five Tips for Emulating Successful Works

Gandalf riding toward the great walled city of Ministereth from Lord of the Rings

Have you ever become so passionate about your favorite story that you wanted to create your own version? Copying great works can help you learn from them and introduce you to an established fanbase. However, modeling your story off of a famous piece comes with some pitfalls. Here’re five tips for avoiding common mistakes and making your version a … read more »

72 – Escalation

The Mythcreant Podcast

It’s a basic rule of storytelling: the stakes get higher as the story goes forward. But how do you do that? How do you know what’s good escalation and what’s just skipping all the necessary build up? What should you do when you’ve escalated as far as … read more »

Five Signs Your Story Is Racist

These days, most of us know not to use racial slurs* or say anything that starts with “some of my best friends are…” We can all go on about how important it is not to judge someone by the color of their skin, which is … read more »

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 »