Analysis

Five Novels With Strong Throughlines

A throughline is the core or central plot thread of your story, the problem introduced in the beginning and resolved in the climax. It’s what ties everything together and keeps the audience engaged. Novels without strong throughlines have a difficult time building tension or creating satisfaction, two … read more »

Stories

Real Numbers

A military drone fires two missiles.

War arrived quietly every 2.5 years. After each peace settlement expired, the USR grew bolder, justifying the next conflict with more outrageous claims than before. International authorities became apathetic; allies no longer offered assistance. For years, Chancellor Abby Walsh wasted resources applying for aid. Now she simply scheduled a drone evaluation and stood before her monitors, ready for another fruitless attempt to remedy USR “grievances” through negotiation. Read more »

Roleplaying

Four Illusions Game Masters Employ

An old illustration of a magician reading a woman's mind.

In video-game design, the concept of “hidden mechanics” is well documented. It refers to all those times a game uses illusion and sleight of hand to improve player experience. Did you know most platformers give you a grace period after you’ve stepped off a ledge … read more »

Storytelling

Constructing a Compelling Romance

Anna and Kristoff from Disney's Frozen

When done well, romance not only makes stories feel deeper and more meaningful but also gives the audience another reason to turn the page. Unfortunately, it’s easy to jump into writing a romance without thinking it through. And if the romance isn’t setup well, it … read more »

Analysis

Five Good Stories That Turned Creepy

Nancy looking pensive in Stranger Things.

It’s easy to find the creepy elements in bad stories. Often those elements are why a story is bad in the first place. Few people are lining up to defend the invasive underwear shots in Star Trek Into Darkness or the blatant misogyny of Michael Bay’s Transformers films. … read more »