Villains

Analysis

Five Disappointing Villains

Creating good villains is difficult. Any character needs personality, motives, flaws, and agency, but villains also have to be threatening or relatable. By analyzing bad examples like these, we can learn what to avoid. Read more »

Storytelling

Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them

Tropes get repeated over and over again throughout spec fic, and usually that’s fine. Many tropes are perfectly acceptable. Others are just lazy writing, sacrificing believability for narrative convenience. We’re concerned with the second group today. Fear not, there’s always a way out, no matter … 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 »

Roleplaying

Weaving Great Campaign Plotlines

You’re ready to sit down and write the plot for your masterpiece, but writing a campaign isn’t the same as writing a one-shot adventure. You have the time to build the stakes at a relaxed pace, explore the expansive campaign world, and cultivate relationships with the cast of … read more »