Characters

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 »

Storytelling

Why & How to Kill a Hero

Unless you’re writing a slasher,* killing an important protagonist is a tough decision that can have a profound effect on your story. For most works, it will have both benefits and drawbacks. Understanding the dynamics of character death can help you avoid pitfalls and select … read more »

Storytelling

Six More Character Archetypes to Ditch

Bad characters abound in our media, threatening to overwhelm our bastions of good storytelling. Or at least that’s how it can seem when you turn on the TV or flip through a random book. Many of these characters come from flawed archetypes that writers use … read more »

Storytelling

Do Characters Need to Be Likable?

Woman with Halo

The other day, reader Ethan Michael asked us this: I’m writing my first book and have already plotted the story, but when I take to the internet to see how to make a character likable or if it’s important, I find numerous articles saying not … read more »

Storytelling

How to Personify the Seven Deadly Sins

The seven deadly sins are classic examples of immorality, and it’s fun to bring them to life within your characters. However, storytellers can’t just tell the audience that a character embodies greed or lust; they need to show those traits in action. Characters exhibit them … read more »

Analysis

Five Failed Character Arcs

Character arcs form the heart of the story. They give audiences a reason to cheer a character on and add emotional depth to the plot. But not all characters arcs are equal. A good arc doesn’t just take a pauper and make her queen; it … read more »

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