Subversion

Storytelling

How to Break Storytelling Rules

Broken window with a blue sky on the other side While all rules can be broken, breaking them successfully takes a robust knowledge of storytelling principles. How do you know when breaking a rule is successful? In concept, that’s simple; you’re successful when you gain more from breaking the rule than following it. Of course, … read more »
Storytelling

Five Bad Tropes to Drop

Sometimes a trope starts off fine but is overused until it eventually becomes a cliche. That is not what we’re talking about today. Instead, we’ll focus on tropes that are bad to begin with but continue to be used for various reasons. These tropes will … read more »
Inspiration

Five Underused Settings in Spec Fic

Speculative fiction has a wide variety of settings, genres, and subgenres, and some get more attention than others. Space opera and European high fantasy have been the top dogs for decades, with up-and-comers like urban fantasy and steampunk taking most of what’s left. But there … read more »
Storytelling

Six Steps to a Subversive Surprise

A lady says farewell to a knight Storytellers can’t control the expectations their audience brings to a tale. After consuming countless stories where the male and female lead hook up, people will anticipate similar romances in future works. Unfortunately, defying expectations like these can make the audience feel like the storyteller broke their promises. Luckily, we have a solution for … read more »
Inspiration

Six Subversive Heroes for Stand Out Stories

Today’s popular stories pick most of their heroes from the same narrow group of people, reinforcing destructive stereotypes and stripping characters of interesting variation. But storytellers get a silver lining: we have an easy opportunity to make our heroes stand apart by subverting convention. To get started, take some worthy people who … read more »
Writing

Establishing and Transitioning Atmosphere

A person walks down a path into a place with bright and colorful clouds In previous posts in this series, I discussed setting and meeting expectations for your story’s characters and plot threads. Now I’ll be discussing one last component: what I like to call a story’s worldview.
Analysis

Six Reasons You Should Read Discworld

Discworld is an expansive fantasy series created by Terry Pratchett. It features a flat, disc-shaped world (who would have guessed) resting upon the backs of four enormous elephants standing on the shell of a giant turtle, the Great A’Tuin. It’s made up of multiple series … read more »