Liminal Characters

“Then I shan’t be exactly a human?” Peter asked. “No.” “Nor exactly a bird?” “No.” “What shall I be?” “You will be a Betwixt-and-Between,” Solomon said. — J. M. Barrie, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens Betwixt-and-between It’s December, the season of midwinter. Christmas is just round the corner, and soon we will stand on the…Read More

Orphan Heroes in Fiction

An orphaned calf licks its own back – Kenyan Proverb When I began plotting my Grail-quest novel, Graëlfire, my main protagonist, Lena Dubois, was a young university student whose parents worked overseas. This was fine for the character arc I’d invented, but as I progressed with my plotting, I gave Lena a secret identity unknown…Read More

Holy Grail Fiction

  “The journey is the treasure.” – Lloyd Alexander Myths have been recurring elements in storytelling down the ages, and none more so than the Holy Grail. It has fascinated writers for centuries and is a popular theme in TV series and movies. You only have to look at the success of films the Grail…Read More

lifes big questions

Life’s Big Questions

 “Good science fiction is intelligent. It asks big questions that are on people’s minds.” – Nicholas Cage The Search for Truth Thinkers have always sought answers to big questions in life. What is God? What is consciousness? Do we have a soul? What does it mean to be human? Matters beyond the realm of science…Read More

why we tell stories

Why We Tell Stories

“Life is the art of drawing without an eraser.” — John W. Gardner Make No Mistake Nobody wants to make mistakes. But at least when we draw, we have erasers to undo them. Sadly, life isn’t like that. Our choices and actions are fixed in time. We can express remorse. We can make amends. But…Read More

story timelines

Beyond Flashbacks: Dual Story Timelines

“All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…” – William Shakespeare Everyone has a history. But when it comes to fiction, how much of a character’s past is relevant to their story? The answer…Read More

What Every Villain Needs

“Res non Verba” I described in “Archetypes and Stereotypes” how character archetypes perform functions in stories. Be it hero or villain, trickster or mentor — each brings something unique to the plot. But what matters is not their individual contribution. It’s how they work collectively to tell the story. Plots need conflict as well as…Read More

romance in fiction

R is for Romance (in Fiction)

“Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs.” — William Shakespeare Fiction and romance go together like bread and butter. They make up some of our best-loved stories. But when it comes to genre — Romance with a capital R — the entire plot must revolve around the love interest. What’s more, a…Read More

Archetypes and stereotypes in fiction

Fictional Characters: Archetypes and Stereotypes

“I imagine hell like this: Italian punctuality, German humour and English wine.” ― Peter Ustinov The world has four cardinal bearings: north, south, east and west. So powerful is their grip on our psyche that they convey more than direction. They give us a sense of place. They shape our myths and cultures. I was…Read More

Suspension of Disbelief: Bridging the Credibility Gap

“It doesn’t stop being magic just because you know how it works.” ― Terry Pratchett, The Wee Free Men Fantasy is a genre steeped in the supernatural. It is literature of imagination, the realm of possibility. There can be wizards and elves, vampires and dragons, tyranny and malevolence. Fantasy places no bounds on the invention…Read More

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