Dark Stories

Analysis

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 »

Storytelling

Six Ways to Bluff That Your Hero Will Die

Three skeletons playing cards

Many stories use the possibility that the hero will die to keep the story tense. But since heroes live through most life-threatening situations, it’s difficult to convince savvy audience members that your hero could meet their end. To get the drop on your audience, you’ll … read more »

Storytelling

Five Common Problems With Dark Stories

Dark stories are very popular these days, and it’s not difficult to see why. They have several advantages over their lighter cousins, and not just because of swearing and violence. It’s easier to craft a high-stakes plot in darker stories because you can put more on … read more »

Commentary

When Dark and Gritty Is Just Exploitation

Daenerys being held aloft by freed slaves.

­Some weeks ago, the makers of the Game of Thrones TV series, Benioff and Weiss, announced their next project. Titled Confederate, it will feature an alternate-history US where the South won the Civil War and slavery is still legal. In response, many social justice advocates … read more »

Analysis

Five Heroes With Dark Reflections

Many popular heroes have faced a dark version of themselves. This trope creates thrill in a video game battle or novelty in a TV episode about an alternate reality. However, some stories go beyond that, using a hero’s dark reflection to add meaning and depth to the work. By comparing the hero to … read more »

Podcast

89 – Body Horror

The Mythcreant Podcast

Elly and Rhys are back this week, once again joining Oren to keep the podcast on course. But this time that course is a dark and horrific one. Bodily horrific, to be precise. That’s right, we’re talking about body horror, mostly so that the hosts … read more »

Storytelling

Seven Ways to Use Consequences in Stories

When characters fail, either through negligence or action, their failure matters little if there are no consequences. The consequences may affect the characters directly or the people around them, but they have to be tangible and meaningful to bring anything to the plot. Consequences can enrich … read more »

Storytelling

Creating Distinct and Grounded Anti-Heroes

People are flawed, complicated, and strange, but heroes are often simplified and put on pedestals. We don’t need to make everything dark and gritty, but pretending that humanity is spotless limits our stories. That’s where anti-heroes come in. They subvert heroic stereotypes; rather than a selfless white … read more »

Storytelling

How to Use Lovecraftian Horrors in Your Stories

Lovecraftian horror is a specific subgenre that blends noir and horror with a dash of cosmic terror and a sense of insignificance. H.P. Lovecraft did it first, but many authors and artists have continued his traditions with varied and horrific stories. The eldritch abominations of … read more »

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