Characters

Storytelling

Five Tropes That Make a Villain Look Incompetent

Villainy is a profession loaded with tropes. From the evil speech to the climactic duel against the hero, villainous behavior has been tweaked and refined through the ages. Unfortunately, some of these tropes make the villain look incompetent. They invoke eye-rolling from the audience and destroy tension in the … read more »

Analysis

Five Heroes With Dark Reflections

Many popular heroes have faced a dark version of themselves. This trope creates thrill in a video game battle or novelty in a TV episode about an alternate reality. However, some stories go beyond that, using a hero’s dark reflection to add meaning and depth to the work. By comparing the hero to … read more »

Storytelling

Depicting Background Characters

Not every person that appears in a story is an actual character. These non-characters remain in the background: standing in line, cheering after a speech, or manning a stand. Like the buildings or the waterways, they exist to flesh out the setting. They are the extras of … read more »

Analysis

Five Redundant Characters in Spec Fic

Some characters are good, some are bad, and some are completely redundant. You may have guessed that we’re focusing on the third category today. These characters fill some role that’s already been taken. Dividing the role between two characters reduces the time available to develop … read more »

Analysis

Five Strong Characters From Terrible Shows

Some TV shows are just bad. They might have inconsistent writing, terrible special effects, lousy acting, or all three! But sometimes, a character stands out from these awful shows, a shining diamond of good storytelling in the rough of mediocrity. These characters rise above the … read more »

Storytelling

Twelve Traits for a Lovable Hero

A hero the audience loves is a critical ingredient in our stories. Unfortunately, liking the character yourself is no guarantee of audience attachment. To help a diverse array of people love your hero, give your protagonist some traits that are widely likable. Starting your story by demonstrating … read more »

Storytelling

Devising Conflict Between Protagonists

Conflicts within Team Good allow us to develop characters while adding excitement to scenes. However, most good guys have every reason to stay on good terms. Without a villain, it can be tricky to get them fighting. As a result, many protagonist conflicts rely on good guys that act out of character or manifest glaring new flaws. … read more »