Storytelling

Devising Conflict Between Protagonists

Conflicts within Team Good allow us to develop characters while adding excitement to scenes. However, most good guys have every reason to stay on good terms. Without a villain, it can be tricky to get them fighting. As a result, many protagonist conflicts rely on good guys that act out of character or manifest glaring new flaws. … read more »

How to Realistically Depict Evil

Darth Vader and Luke from Empire Strikes Back

Evil is a difficult subject for storytellers. The over saturation of works like Lord of the Rings and Star Wars, where evil celebrates itself with cartoonish glee, has caused many storytellers to eschew the idea of true evil in their work. Shades of grey* seem … read more »

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. Unfortunately, defying expectations set by common story conventions can make the audience feel like the storyteller broke their promises. Luckily, we have a solution for this: the subversive plot twist. Read more »

How to Craft a Character-Driven Story

Lady Macbeth telling her husband what's what.

Some stories focus on big external conflicts to drive them and use a relatively blank protagonist as the audience’s vessel. But others try to make the protagonist as vivid as possible, trusting them to drive the story. The character has some intense desire or critical … read more »

Five Tips for Telling Prequel Stories

Obi-Wan, Jar Jar, and Qui-Gon from Phantom Menace.

Prequel stories have a reputation for being terrible, and it’s well deserved. The Star Wars prequels, which are awful in almost every way, come to mind of course. Not to be left out, the Harry Potter franchise now has Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find … read more »

Depicting Child Characters

Portraying child characters can be one of the biggest challenges of storytelling. Even though many of us are around children regularly, kids vary so much by age, development rate, and individual experience that it can be easy to pigeonhole them or simply get them wrong. … read more »

Five Archetypes That Can Steal the Hero’s Spotlight

Your protagonist should be the most important character in your story. They have the emotional question to resolve, or they’re the key to solving a major crisis. But without meaning to, authors can overshadow their own protagonists with other characters. Naming all the ways this … read more »

Five Characters With Too Much Spinach

Harry Kim looking puzzled as he is shot.

No, this is not an article about Popeye the Sailor Man.* Rather, spinach is anything that humiliates a character or tarnishes their image as a cool badass in the audience’s eyes. It can take the form of a character failing to save their loved one, getting … read more »

94 – Heroes With Evil Reflections

The Mythcreant Podcast

Since we’re discussing heroes with dark counterparts, we brought on a new guest host: Graham, who is basically evil Oren. With our evil new co-host, we discuss all the ways in which a villain can be used to show us the darker side of a hero, and … read more »

The Why & How of Character Motivation

A critical part of developing any character is giving them motivation. Unfortunately, that’s not always as simple as it seems. The motivation has to be compelling and believable while working with the story at large. Let’s talk more about motivation and how you can get it … read more »

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