The Loneliness Problem

I often look for similarities in great stories to see what works. One aspect that I see very often is that powerful stories resolve “the loneliness problem.” Normally, we are never told that our protagonist is lonely, but it’s there in the background: Scrooge is miserly old man in a musty house. Harry Potter has

The Man Who Learned Better

It has been said that there are only a few types of stories—the “boy meets girl,” “the hero journey,” etc. One of the most popular types is “the man who learned better.” It’s a story about character growth and change, and indeed some would argue that in every kind of fiction, character growth is an

How Bad is Your Antihero?

Lately I’ve had several people ask for tips on how to write antiheroes. So my first question is, “How ‘bad’ is your antihero?” An antihero is a character without traditional heroic qualities, but they may have heroic qualities in their own right. He or she is the kind of person who knows how to kick

Tightening Your Focus

When you’re writing a tale, it almost always turns out better if you get deep into the head of your protagonist and tell the story from that person’s point of view. This is especially true if you have multiple protagonists, because it means that you will need to characterize those people by showing just how