Category: Uncategorized

Aura of Blood

Dragons are the uber monster in literature. There are so many roles that they can fulfill, be it a divine presence that protects and guides, a force of nature that doesn’t even notice the existence of the characters, or even a demonic being that demands to be worshiped by those it views as lesser to […]

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Fates Worse Than Death

FATES WORSE THAN DEATH BITTERSWEET OUTCOMES TO SPICE UP CAUTIONARY TALES   GOLDEN HANDCUFFS Receiving something you’re afraid to walk away from, and which will keep you from ever achieving your true potential. THE ONLY EVER AFTER You’re the only person in your group to receive the happy-ever-after you all fought for. PASSENGER SEAT When […]

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The Cheeseburger Test

Writing female characters has always proven troublesome for guys, not because women are ‘hard to understand’ or are helpless, but because nearly every culture teaches us that women are trophies under our possession and control.

The tale of Saint George slaying a dragon is an excellent example. Saint George saves a princess by slaying a dragon, right? What most people don’t tell you about this story is that before he slew the dragon, he asked the princess for her corset and put it on the dragon. The dragon immediately became calm and subservient so Read more

Introducing Your Beast

INTRODUCING YOUR BEAST WORKING BOTH TERROR AND CLARITY INTO CALAMITOUS FIRST IMPRESSIONS   PICK A PROBLEM, MAKE IT SMALL In Nicola’s short, the problem is tiny. A child isn’t playing safely and the mother needs to impress her with dangers in the ocean. That’s it. Think small. Small problems require unique interactions, are easily delivered […]

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6 Cures for Cliches


Clichés aren’t wrong because audiences have seen them before. The problem is that clichés do not carry your author voice. Cliches move your story along while robbing your story of YOU.

At the same time, you don’t have to start from stratch. Dragons work. They resonate with audiences worldwide for dozens of reasons. Pick any one reason and use it as an emotional target to aim for. With very little work—just a few quick questions—you’re about to systematically personalize your dragons so brilliantly that stereotypical dragons will never satisfy you again.

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