Storytelling

Six Plot Excuses No One Wants to Hear

When storytellers are cornered by a tough plot problem, our first instinct is to ignore the problem by making our characters behave irrationally. Then we use character dialogue to handwave it and hope the audience doesn’t notice how unrealistic it is. Just take these six excuses. Read more »

Five Ways to Generate Suspense

Suspense builds up to conflict by causing heroes and the audience to worry about the outcome. It serves as a warning that can drive the characters and plot. Conflict that comes without that warning is jarring. While it can also be useful, it’s more likely … read more »

Weaving Great Campaign Plotlines

You’re ready to sit down and write the plot for your masterpiece, but writing a campaign isn’t the same as writing a one-shot adventure. You have the time to build the stakes at a relaxed pace, explore the expansive campaign world, and cultivate relationships with the cast of … read more »

The Three Traits of Annoying Characters

Once in a while, storytellers slip up when crafting a protagonist. A character that was supposed to be an audience favorite becomes the focus of malice and frustration instead. While each person’s taste in characters is unique, some traits are likely to inspire intense dislike. … read more »

Five Tricks to Invigorate Your Ending

Stories can end in countless ways, and no one can tell you which one is the right one. But these tricks can give your ending – whatever it is – some extra pizzazz. None of them will work for every story, but try them on. You might find the perfect fit. Read more »

Understanding Conflict & Tension

The words “conflict” and “tension” are casually thrown around in most discussions of storytelling, but they don’t mean exactly what they do in everyday speech. If you haven’t gotten a formal introduction to conflict and tension, here’s what you need to know. Read more »

How to Keep Your Horror Campaign Scary

Running a horror campaign is one of the most challenging undertakings a GM can attempt. Populating your game with ghosts and monsters is easy, but making your players care is hard. In other mediums, horror depends on control that GMs simply do not have. Filmmakers … read more »

Five Villains Who Follow the Heroine’s Journey

I outlined the Heroine’s Journey last week, but it’s more fun to watch it in action. Because this structure is about a character who’s out of balance and makes a course correction, it’s often used for villains who take a heel-face turn. Here’s five villains … read more »

Using the Heroine’s Journey

The Hero’s Journey has become widely popular. Unfortunately, the original was clearly intended for men and not women. In response, some feminists have created their own, female-centered version. Lucky for us storytellers, both can be abstracted to work for a wide array of stories. Read more »