“The Chosen One” Is a Recipe for Writing Failure

Sabrina ZbasnikGuest Post
by S.E. Zbasnik

In speculative fiction, there’s a trick people rely upon to insure their protagonist is the only one who can preserve the kingdom, save the world, and rescue the galaxy from mechanical centipedes. Unroll some ancient parchment, have blind monks read it in catacombs, and declare your main character the chosen one.


To say the chosen one has been done to death is to think hurricanes are a little windy. Not only is it a cliché infesting every genre it touches, it’s also a drama killer. Wrack your brain trying to create believable villains, establish obstacles that no one should survive, place your main character in immediate danger, and it all amounts to nothing. We know he’ll survive; he has to. He’s the chosen one. The spoilers are written right there in an ancient scroll only a wandering transient can read because his order failed to maintain itself before the prophesied times. Maybe they should have hosted more pancake feeds to raise funds. Continue reading ““The Chosen One” Is a Recipe for Writing Failure”

I Hate Strong Female Characters

Sabrina ZbasnikGuest Post
by S.E. Zbasnik

Like nonplussed and literally, the phrase “strong female character” has come to mean its antithesis. When people hear it, they picture a full fleshed out woman with her own wants and desires. What they get is a woman in a mini skirt and thigh high boots that occasionally punches people.

But, that strong female character cannot actually save the day. Her entire existence is for the main male hero. She may be spunky, and sassy, and is always met beating up some guys; but the second she teams up with MMH (main male hero) she abandons everything in her life to help him on his quest. She may even get captured and forget how to fight, allowing the MMH to do all the cool stuff while she waits around in a metal bikini. Continue reading “I Hate Strong Female Characters”

Writers Are Ugly Actors

sophie jonas-hillGuest Post
by Sophie Jonas-Hill

If writers were better looking, they would be actors. Our skill set is very similar, they have to pretend to be a whole heap of different people, and so do we. In a way, we’re even more versatile because we don’t have the dead eye of the camera judging us and prescribing what we can be. We get to be anyone and everyone regardless of gender or ability or skin colour. Or we should be able to, anyway.

What ever character you’re working on, if they’re not coming to life then I’d heartily recommend taking a long look at the acting profession and try ‘being’ your character for a while, rather than writing them. Continue reading “Writers Are Ugly Actors”

What Can Theatre Do For You?

A Guest Post
by Benjamin Steele

Some time ago I was approached by my mum, Carolyn Steele, who wanted my opinion for a blog post. She said it was about characters, what makes them flat or page-leapy, and how we feel about our creations. She had to stop me when I started to ramble about Stanislavski, and we decided there might be a post in how an actor’s method could benefit the fiction writer. I would like to share with you how my experience as an actor and playwright helps my development of prose characters.

So you’ve got a character that comes off a little flat, a little boring—he’s just zis guy you know? I’ve heard all sorts of tips for giving characters a little more life: the most common being physical or personality quirks, and rich backgrounds that shape their development. While these are undoubtedly useful tools for both the writer and the actor, I consider them to be traps. These should be supplementary tools, second to the arguably most important influence on a character’s action: Dreams of the future. Continue reading “What Can Theatre Do For You?”