Dark Stories

Storytelling

Five Horror Cliches Waiting to Be Broken

Like any genre of storytelling, horror has certain rules and techniques that make it more effective. That isn’t usually a problem. Otherwise, we might play Yakety Sax during the chase scene. But sometimes, these conventions get overused and become predictable. That’s not scary. Other times, … read more »

Storytelling

How to Make Your Villain Threatening

If your big bad doesn’t feel threatening, your story will lose its power. Unfortunately, making an intimidating antagonist isn’t as simple as replicating Dracula or Darth Vader and putting them in the path of the main character. But with a little thought, you can make … read more »

Storytelling

How to Use Undead in Your Stories

Undead creatures aren’t limited to shamblers and neck-biters. They come with a wide range of options, and each has its own strengths. A little thought and planning will help you choose the best creatures for your story and help set your undead antagonists apart from … read more »

Worldbuilding

Creating a Fresh Vampire Antagonist

Living in spooky castles or just next door, vampires provide excellent antagonists for speculative fiction. They’re humanity’s predatory reflection, something that looks like us and yet isn’t. Unfortunately, they’re also overplayed. Vampires are so common in fiction that the novelty has worn off. Even when … read more »

Storytelling

Why & How to Kill a Hero

Unless you’re writing a slasher,* killing an important protagonist is a tough decision that can have a profound effect on your story. For most works, it will have both benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the dynamics of character death can help you avoid pitfalls and select … read more »

Storytelling

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 »

Analysis

Six Dark Stories You Shouldn’t Miss

While dark tales of loss and suffering can be painful to experience, they’ve earned their place in popular media by helping us discuss important topics. Well-constructed dark stories affect us as few other things can, offering a chance to reconsider issues we thought we understood. … read more »