Storytelling

The Why & How of Character Motivation

A critical part of developing any character is giving them motivation. Unfortunately, that’s not always as simple as it seems. The motivation has to be compelling and believable while working with the story at large. Let’s talk more about motivation and how you can get it … read more »

Six Common Problems in Short Stories

While they may not get the fame and prestige of their cousin the novel, short stories* are a vital part of speculative fiction. Some of spec fic’s most important and influential work comes in the form of short stories, from venerable classics like The Yellow … read more »

Five Ways to Hide Your Foreshadowing

An orange butterfly camouflaged amongst orange leaves

Foreshadowing is an essential tool for making plot twists and other reveals in a story work. But if the storyteller isn’t careful, foreshadowing can give the ending away. These five methods will reduce the chance of your audience catching on too quickly. Read more »

88 – Portraying AI

The Mythcreant Podcast

This week, Oren downloads two new minds into the podcast: Rhys and Elly. These disembodied voices claim they were once human, but who can say in a world where memories can be written like software? Together, the (mostly) human co-hosts discuss how to depict AI on … read more »

Seven Ways to Use Consequences in Stories

When characters fail, either through negligence or action, their failure matters little if there are no consequences. The consequences may affect the characters directly or the people around them, but they have to be tangible and meaningful to bring anything to the plot. Consequences can enrich … read more »

Creating Your Villain’s Journey

The Operative from Serenity holding up his sword

Most character arcs are intended for protagonists, and viewpoint characters in particular. But a story can be greatly enhanced by giving arcs to other major characters – including the main villain. Unfortunately, villain arcs can be tricky. The audience rarely sympathizes with the big bad, … read more »

Ten Easy Jokes for Your Dialogue

Buffy looks at the mirror and sticks out her tongue

Humor can be hard to master because it’s so subjective, but it’s not an ephemeral mist that can’t be defined. Many methods of adding humor are easy to understand and use. Let’s go over some jokes that are simple to include in character interactions. Read more »

Transform a Hero Into a Villain in Seven Steps

Darth Vader

No character arcs are fumbled more frequently than those that send good characters down dark roads. That’s probably because it’s difficult for us to grasp how someone could become evil. However, when these arcs are done well, they are incredibly powerful. Read more »

Five Ways to Restore Tension

Shadow outside door

Getting your audience to the finish line requires bait at every step. That bait is the tension created by your opening plot hooks. Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for that tension to drop in the lulls between high-conflict scenes. Use these techniques to insert more tempting bait during those low points. Read more »