What is an Archetype?

Have you ever noticed how similar characters can be to other characters you've read or watched in other stories? Sometimes, we watch a movie or read a book and we barely come into contact with a character before we already know exactly what that character is all about. Why is that? In human nature, there are certain emotions and other commonalities that span through all societies that are instantly recognizable. When storytellers present us with certain triggers, such as the existence of a hunky small town bad boy love interest for our Hallmark big city girl who doesn't realize just what she's missing in life yet, we respond by not questioning who these people are because we're already well-conditioned to the type of people they are.

Parallel Narratives in Storytelling

Often times in storytelling there are cases where two or more plots or events are linked together and play out side by side in order to add depth and additional meaning to the overall story. When this happens, it's called a parallel narrative, and there are different applications of the concept throughout the various forms of storytelling. The most common place to find parallel narratives is film and television, but it remains very common in literature as well.

How to Write a Great Tragic Hero

Not every good guy gets a happy ending. Sometimes the best outcome some characters can hope to gain is bitter-sweet. In a lot of cases, the tragic hero seems pre-destined from the beginning to meet a tragic end. While certainly not as common, and potentially a lot riskier to try to pull off in writing, a tragic hero well-written can still be memorable and certainly more interesting than a lot of other character types. So, what makes a tragic hero, and how can we pull off making one that will leave our audiences remembering these characters fondly long after they're gone?

The Dangers of Subverting Expectations

Think about a book, movie or television show that has stuck with you over the years, but not for good reasons. What story left you speechless in a bad way when it was all told? Did the lighthearted book you picked up have a sudden graphic sex scene in it that made you uncomfortable? Did you go into the movie theater expecting Luke Skywalker to solve all of the main character's problems? Did your heroic dragon queen go insane and burn everyone alive at the end of the final season of your show? Let's talk about the modern trend of subverting expectations in storytelling, and why you, as a writer, should really consider the dangers of it before attempting to do so in your work.

How to Write the Four Types of Stories

As a writer, you have stories to tell, but maybe you're not quite sure how to begin to get all that information in your head onto the page. This is where structure is important, and the best way to determine what your story structure should look like is by understanding the four different types of stories: milieu, idea, character and event. By deciding what kind of story you're telling, you should have a much clearer idea of how to tell it.