Characters

Analysis

Five Stories Hurt by Unlikable Protagonists

Likability is a critical aspect of storytelling.* If the audience doesn’t like a character, they won’t become invested in what happens. This investment is especially important for the protagonist. If the story has an unlikable protagonist, many people won’t finish it. Let’s look at some blatant offenders. A “likable” character … read more »

Storytelling

Seven Ways to Bring Characters Together

You have a character that’s made from oozing lava, and another that’s a rolling snowball. They’ll make a great lava-snow duo, but right now they won’t so much as say hi. Don’t worry, storytellers have many tried-and-true plot devices for bringing characters from different walks of life … read more »

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 »