Character Design

A fantasy castle on a mountain

Naming Characters, Creatures, and Places Without Regret

Naming characters, creatures, and places for your fantasy or sci-fi stories is hard stuff. It’s hard even for people who write stories about our real world. (You can’t just name everyone Steve or Barbara.) When we were naming our pets, my dad had a rule. “I have to be able to call the dog in the field,” he would say. The conversation came up first when my sister wanted to name our Beagle “Cookie”.

Read More

A Tired Mother And Her Baby

Writing About Disoriented Characters

Characters get disoriented. You can read about that sort of thing, but if it hasn’t happened to you it’s hard to understand. Here’s a way to empathize.

Read More

An Elvish Archer

Writing Fantasy Races: Elves? Which Elves?

Out of all the fantasy races, Elves are my favorite. Tolkien’s elves, Warhammer Elves, any given Elf in a video game. Not the Keebler Elves, though their cookies are at least decent. Nor Christmas Elves with their match-matchy outfits. Elf on a Shelf is especially right out. Yes, he’s a Christmas elf, but he gets… Read This Article

Read More

A man with guns

Character Design: Writing Consistent Characters

One of my biggest pet-peeves in stories is the use of a character to drive the plot the wrong way. You’ll notice it from time to time, if you’re watching for it. It goes like this: an author writes a character one way for the majority of the plot, then, they just change that character. It throws the character under the bus.

Read More

A groundhog begging for water

Make Your Characters Thirsty

Have you ever had one of those days? I’m fairly sure everyone has. Either that or I’m just completely weird. Anyway, it’s something that I’ve never seen in a story. “How on Earth is this relevant?”, you may ask. Well, I’ll tell you.

Read More

A person in a gas mask

It’s Okay To Write Strange Characters

This is my second time watching the Doomsday Preppers series. There’s a whole lot that I could say about it, but the one thing that stands out is how completely blind we are to our own biases and oddities.

Read More

A woman holding a sword and shield

Start With a Human, Let the World Build Itself

I know a lot of people who love to world-build, and that’s awesome. Some of them can get so far in-depth with their created world that they struggle to start a story. There’s just so much depth in the world that it almost holds this untouchability. But for me, while I love world-building, I’d rather over-create a character.

Read More

Lower Masthead Image