Storytelling

Your Plot Is a Fractal

Have you ever wondered how to plot a series of novels instead of just one? Or how to structure a single event that takes only half a scene? If so, I have good news for you: you never have to be confused by scale again. … read more »

Ten Movies With Strong Character Arcs

A couple weeks ago I broke down the components of a solid character arc. But hearing about them isn’t as fun as watching them in action. Whether you want to get a better feel for how character arcs work, or you just love character-centered stories, … read more »

Misattributed Arousal in Fiction

Our brains can’t always distinguish between different types of arousal. Anger, fear, and excitement (both sexual and nonsexual) are all states of arousal. Each of them elevates the heart rate, increases blood pressure, and heightens our sensory awareness. Read more »

Anatomy of a Fable

It’s easy to think of “fable” as just another name for “fairytale.” It doesn’t help that there’s a series of comics called Fables that star fairytale characters, or a video game series called Fable that is generic fantasy. Like fairytales, fables started as an oral … read more »

Planning Character Arcs

If you like to plan your stories ahead, you’ve almost certainly sketched out your plot. But have you planned your character arcs? Every story needs a character arc for its protagonist, even if it’s simple or subtly conveyed. And while supporting characters don’t always need … read more »

Four Problems With Multimedia Continuity

There’s a lot of words in that title, so let’s parse some of this down. ‘Multimedia’ here refers to stories that are large enough to exist across multiple platforms, such as film, television, books, comics, video games, and so on. Star Wars, Mass Effect, and … read more »

Avoiding the Planet of Hats

Worldbuilding is a time-consuming process. There’s all of those governments to decide on, flora and fauna to develop, architecture to design… and when you have to do it for planet after planet in your spacefaring adventure, well, who has the time? Certainly not the writers … read more »

How to Create Powerful Character Combos

Whether you’re creating a pair of buddy cops for your latest novel or crafting a a whole team with your roleplaying group, getting the right character chemistry can turn a lackluster story into a great one. While there are many ways to create solid combos, … read more »