I need some more time before I’m back in full UnBook Reporting shape so tonight will be another short post tangentially related to my normal content. Still working on that project, and also changing antidepressants—things got bad enough during the previous two…three? weeks that I made an appointment to see my doctor.
Anyways, tonight I thought I’d share some of my favorite places online to research the all the elements that go into making a story.
Tvtropes—The Site That Formalized My Obsession
TvTropes Will Ruin Your Life and Your Vocabulary and I have happily embrace both forms of ruination. My first foray onto tvtropes was probably when I began officially studying story structure, character archetypes, genre conventions, and all the rest. I’ve always loved stories and found myself picking up on patterns, but tvtropes helped cemented my desire to actually study them. Seriously though, don’t even glance at that site unless you’ve got at least a solid three hours to spend down that rabbit hole.
The Newest Favorites
I recently found a few sites that became instant favorites.
Mythcreants is devoted to SFF (Science Fiction and Fantasy, two of my fave genres) and covers a myriad of storytelling formats. Comics, gaming, role playing, and prose of course. And I like that they cover social justice issues in storytelling—they even have it listed as a subcategory under Analysis in the site’s sidebar. The Science Fiction and Fantasy genres in particular serve, and have always served, as way of exploring society’s issues.
Patricia C. Wrede’s Blog
Patricia C. Wrede is one of my favorite childhood authors (Talking to Dragons was the first I read of her work) and I can’t believe it took me so long to realize she had a blog. What’s more, Ms Wrede’s blog is full of fantastic writing advice. Plot, structure, setting, characters, process—pretty much any aspect of writing you could want to know about, she’s written something on.
The Fictorians is a collective of authors who post on pretty much all aspects of fiction writing, including the business side. In many posts, the authors talk about their own writing experiences, but there also many posts that dissect a particular character or world, or whatever, and discuss what it is that makes it so resonant. They also have a subsection on Tropes & Archetypes, which are two of my favorite things to study.
Old Favorites That Have Stuck With Me
Writing Geekery, by writer, editor and writing coach MJ Bush, has some of the best character breakdowns.
Helping Writers Become Authors
Helping Writers Become Authors, by author KM Weiland, has excellent character arc and plot structure breakdowns. Other features of note are the Most Common Writing Mistakes series of posts, and a Story Structure Database that breaks down the structures of a variety of books and movies.
Limyaael’s Rants are the collected ”literary rants” of the variously-known Limyaael, Lightning on the Wave, and Arin i Asolde. This collection by Curiosity Quills Press is “an unofficial mirror”. I’m currently up to post 273 of 424—I’m reading them in order (I can be a touch obsessive about things like that) but for those wanting to target their research topic, the rants are labeled.
Archetypes on a Couch
I adore The Character Therapist’s series of articles on Archetypes. Her breakdown helped me figure out a lot about my own characters (yes, I’m working on a book because of course I am) as well as providing insights on some of my favorite characters. The Character Therapist goes over the traits of both the positive and shadow-side of each archetype, as well as likely goals and fears, and provides examples from well-known media. All in short, concise articles.
For anyone wanting to know more about how exactly stories get put together, this should be an excellent starting point. And if that seems like a lot of places for a starting point, that’s because there are so many places to start—tropes, archetypes, plot structure, character arc…and so much more. I wasn’t kidding when I said I was obsessed with this stuff. Here’s wishing you a manically delirious time developing your own obsessions with story. Cheers.