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

carnival in luzern

Behind the Mask: Carnival in Luzern

“It is in middles that extremes clash, where ambiguity restlessly rules.”  — John Updike Everyone has heard of Carnival, but unless you’ve experienced it in Switzerland, you ain’t seen nothing! Carnival (or Fasnacht) is a wild celebration here, and a quintessential encounter with liminality. Social theorists describe liminality as a transitory phase between the past…Read More

thresholds the spaces between

Liminal Thresholds: The Spaces Between

“Every exit is an entry to somewhere else” — Tom Stoppard Each December, I look forward to the week between Christmas and New Year. The world closes in on itself. Everyday life pauses and routines are suspended, giving time for reflection. This lull is a liminal time — an in-between stage when we transition from…Read More

Quest Stories as a Genre

“Many the men whose cities he saw, whose ways he learned.” — Homer, The Odyssey Quest stories have one thing in common: a search to find, control, or destroy something. The hero will do anything to achieve their goal. The villain will lie, cheat, or kill to thwart them. Think of the hunt for El…Read More

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