Even if your monster is unique, it is often difficult to disabuse readers of the notion that this thing you gave some passing, dragon-like quality is, in fact, not a dragon. Readers love dragons. If they want dragons, they will inevitably see dragons. Just as a small child, upon discovering the existence of kitties, now […]
Kanna first saw the Ocean-Mother when she was a small child. She was too young to be that close to the sea, but her mother had caught her sneaking out to the docks one time too many, and decided that if Kanna was going to sea-dream she was going to do it under her mother’s […]
Most fledgling writers have a misguided sense of the importance of their originality. More specifically, they misjudge other people’s appetite for the quantity and concentration of original ideas they want to share. Serious writers quickly learn not to merely retell their favorite stories as “x in spaceships” or “x in real life” (though, fascinatingly, some […]
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 […]
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 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 […]
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.