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Spider-Man Is The One Hero Who Can Tie All The Marvel Movies Together

We finally have our new, Marvel-Cinematic-Universe-approved Spider-Man. But aside from the obvious benefits of having Marvel’s most popular (and most lucrative) hero join their cinematic fold, there’s a far more crucial aspect of Spider-Man that the MCU needs right now: his ability to tie this ever-expanding universe… » 6/24/15 8:30am 6/24/15 8:30am

Why Space Is The Scariest Place To Encounter The Supernatural

A wise tagline once said “In Space, no one can hear you scream”. And it’s no surprise that space horror is a popular genre, since space is already kind of terrifying by itself. Space madness! But you know what’s really scary? Encountering a supernatural force in space, where there’s no place to run. » 6/19/15 12:08pm 6/19/15 12:08pm

How To Raise The Stakes In Your Story Without Wrecking Your Characters

The best science fiction and fantasy stories are impossible to tear yourself away from — and often, that thrilling sense of momentum comes from the sense that the danger to the world keeps getting bigger and scarier. But how do you raise the stakes without sacrificing your characters? » 5/19/15 3:38pm 5/19/15 3:38pm

Here's One Brilliant Recipe For A Story That Will Kick Anyone's Ass

There’s no one secret formula for a great story, even if Pixar has its rules and other people have their own ideas. There are as many great shapes for a story to take as there are stories. But Chuck Wendig, author of the Blackbirds series, has a pretty great example of how to structure a kick-ass story. » 5/05/15 2:00pm 5/05/15 2:00pm

The Surprising Benefits of Role-Playing Games (and How to Get Started)

When you hear about role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons, you probably picture a dimly-lit basement filled with people in silly robes rolling dice, but there's much more to it than that. Not only are role-playing games incredibly fun, but they can actually teach you skills you'll use in the real world. » 2/09/15 2:06pm 2/09/15 2:06pm

Why are we so fascinated by Origin stories?

Hollywood loves an Origin story - we're constantly getting remakes and reboots so we can re-experience them, we're even mining as many characters as we can for origin tales, as per the crazy trailer for Pan we saw yesterday. It can be a tiring trend sometimes, but why do we yearn to learn where our heroes start? » 11/27/14 3:02am 11/27/14 3:02am

I'm sick of saving the world: The case for smaller-scale stories

Sometimes it feels like the genre tales I love are in a storytelling arms race to constantly raise the stakes. We can't even just have the world under threat - it's the solar system, it's the galaxy, hell, throw in the whole damn universe while you're at it. What's happened to the small-scale hero in big entertainment? » 9/08/14 5:48pm 9/08/14 5:48pm

Is It Time To Retire The Word "Epic"?

You'll see lots of rants on the internet claiming the word "epic" is overused. It's become a blanket synonym for "fun," and people say "I had an epic bath" with zero irony. But maybe this is just a symptom of a larger problem. Maybe the word "epic" in general has lost all meaning, including when we talk about fantasy. » 7/03/14 12:37pm 7/03/14 12:37pm

Anthropomorphic Animals Make It Harder To Learn Science

"Yum, these grass and plants are delicious!" Mother cavy thinks as she eats her breakfast. "I will feed some to my baby cavies too!" she says. The baby cavies love to play in the grass! But they've gotten all dirty! "Time for your bath," Mother cavy says. Mother cavy and her babies like to spend the afternoon… » 3/31/14 3:45pm 3/31/14 3:45pm

Has Creepypasta Reinvented Classic Folklore?

If you ever read a story online about a haunted TV episode, you've already eaten the creepypasta. Scary viral stories, images, and vids, often very short, are creepypasta — some will scare you so much that they've been nicknamed "shitbrix." And they could be the closest thing we have to folklore in the twenty-first… » 1/06/14 5:21pm 1/06/14 5:21pm

Watch J.J. Abrams explaining why Star Wars is all about the "Mystery…

One of the biggest worries about J.J. Abrams directing Star Wars is that he'll bring his penchant for mysteries for the sake of mysteries to the relatively straightforward universe George Lucas built. But this clip from his 2007 Ted talk, posted on Reddit yesterday, shows Abrams arguing that Star Wars was always… » 1/31/13 2:14pm 1/31/13 2:14pm

Must Read: 20 Essential Tips on Rewriting Your Story Until it Shines

A big part of the revision process in fiction-writing really is re-vision, seeing your story anew. And over at Necessary Fiction, this month's "Writer in Residence," Matthew Salesses, offers 20 absolutely indispensible tips on making your fiction much, much stronger. Including a lot of stuff I've never seen before,… » 7/03/12 7:30am 7/03/12 7:30am