Analysis

Five Characters With Strong Arcs

Character arcs come in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes they fade seamlessly into the plot, but other times the characters go through major changes and become different people by the end. Both types of arc are valid, but it’s the second category we’re looking at … read more »

Six Unsatisfying Character Arcs

Anakin looking out from under his hood with his yellow eyes in Revenge of the Sith.

Character arcs form the backbone of many a story. A successful upward arc fills the audience with fuzzy warmth, while a well-crafted downward arc delivers powerful pathos. But not all arcs are put together well. When a character’s change is rushed or unjustified, it often … read more »

Five Setting Details With Horrifying Implications

Rayla putting her hand out to a baby deer in Dragon Prince.

Worldbuilding is a core aspect of speculative fiction. Not only do fantastic worlds provide critical novelty, but they also allow for fun new plots and powerful messages! But when storytellers aren’t careful, seemingly minor worldbuilding details can have major implications. Sometimes, those implications are really … read more »

Five Stories Sabotaged by Their Tone

Spock stands facing Michael, who is strapped in a chair

Most storytellers know they shouldn’t add slapstick to a tragic death scene or stuff explicit violence in a romantic comedy. That’s why I have only one article with tone guidelines. But recently I’ve noticed a spate of popular stories hindered by a bad tone choices. … read more »

214 – Moral Dilemmas

The Mythcreant Podcast

Sometimes your hero is stuck between two choices, neither of which have a good outcome. Will they allow the villain to escape or shoot said villain in the back? Will they destroy one city to save another? Will they eat less at dinner so they … read more »

Five More Underpowered Antagonists

A bird of prey exploding, from footage used in both Undiscovered Country and Generations.

Antagonists need to be threatening so they can provide tension. If the story doesn’t have tension, then the conflict isn’t interesting, and the audience will get bored in a hurry. Storytellers have many tools at their disposal to make bad guys more threatening, but there … read more »

210 – The Fairy World

The Mythcreant Podcast

Keep an iron nail in your pocket and don’t eat the sparkling delicacies left out for you, because we’re going to the fairy world. What are fairies? Folk like you but with a twist, the you that lives on the other side of a loon’s … read more »

209 – Shared Universes

The Mythcreant Podcast

Sometimes a protagonist doesn’t get the whole universe all to themself. They have to share, and that’s what we’re talking about today. What exactly is a shared universe? Why would you use one? Are there any we should care about besides Marvel? We answer all … read more »

Making Sympathetic Antagonists (And Why Thanos Wasn’t One)

Do you want a story where the villain isn’t a mustache-twirling baddie who does terrible things just “for the evulz”? Instead, would you prefer a semi-sympathetic anti-hero antagonist who does terrible things for the greater good? Do you want your heroes to oppose the villain’s … read more »

Six Reasons the Fire Nation Is Such a Good Villain

Toph, Suki, and Sokka in a Fire Nation airship.

While individual villains will always be important, villainous organizations really propel a story to the next level. They allow for conflict on a vast scale, not to mention giving the antagonist a pocketful of minions to throw at the hero. Storytellers can also use villainous organizations … read more »

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