Writers' Group

Variations on a Theme

We know a worn-out story when we see one: tropes become narrative traps and archetypes become stereotypes. But is the story itself worn out or just the way we're used to reading it? It's probably not the story... No matter how rugged, magical, surreal or futuristic a setting happens to be, what happens in that setting is likely to have happened before in a way that can resonate with your audience. All you need to do is switch up one element that refreshes the context and brings the story home. Over the last score of years, writers have been leaning on making the traditional bad guy the good guy – and often to great effect. Was the previous villain wrongly demonized? What if Beowolf was the j

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