Articles from July 2008



Making the Real World Help You

Much though we’d love to be able to devote all our time to our stories, there’s this little problem known as the real world getting between us and them. Haven’t we all complained about it at some point? Go to bed late, get up early, keep the house in order, no time to write, nor [...]

The Generic Villain on Destroying the World

Ravyn’s note: I am pleased to announce the return of The Generic Villain, mentor and adviser of fledgling Hands of Darkness everywhere, who after acquiring life and personality has graciously agreed to dish out wit and wisdom on serving the darkness and how best to further such goals every so often here. As yesterday was [...]

This Circle is a Triangle

Inspired by StupidRanger’s original post and Donny’s response.  For those of you who don’t have time to read these posts, the basic idea of the first is that every gamer goes through several phases: Learning, overpowering the group, underpowering the group, and nitpicking the group to death, before settling on “It’s a game, let’s have [...]

Conversational Exposition: Execution

So you’re planning to seed a conversation with exposition, and you’ve got the location, the participants, and the general framing. Excellent. Now we get to the hard part: actually planning out the conversation.
There are several important things to remember for this step. First, while you want to get everything across, you don’t want to infodump; [...]

Conversational Exposition: Setup

Have you ever been stuck on a long trip of some sort and tried to pass the time by striking up a conversation with those around you? You’d be amazed at what you can learn from these sorts of conversations: on my last plane trip, I learned more about interesting places in Portland than I [...]

Impractical Applications (Ruby in Crisis)

We’ve spent most of this week discussing how to develop a character through conflict. Enough telling, though; it’s time to actually get a decent demonstration. Since it’s been working so well, I’ll be using Ruby as today’s demonstrator.
When we first saw her, she was a hyper innocent working towards the end of the world, the [...]

Character Evolution: Crisis and Types of Response

Yesterday we discussed what might affect how people react to external events that threaten their worldview. Today, we’re going to discuss the general types of reactions exhibited in circumstances like this.
First is resistance and denial. In this situation, people can’t conceive of the possibility that something they believed all their lives might actually be wrong. [...]

Character Evolution: Crisis and Response

Yesterday, we discussed the kinds of internal crises that can occur when somebody’s situation is shaken up.  Today, we’re going to look more at people processing major crises and threats to their ideals.  The more deeply held the conviction is, the more the world moving in opposition to it shakes them up. But it’s how [...]

Character Evolution: Crisis and Internal Reaction

Yesterday, we saw how a character can be affected by those around her. Today, and for the rest of this week, we’re going to look at threats to personal ideals and how they interact with characterization. Conflict is one of the greatest sources of character development.
No matter what happens, if there’s a crisis, there’s probably [...]

Character Evolution: The Company They Keep

Having a character built isn’t enough. It doesn’t matter how detailed the character is or how many nifty quirks she has; if she stays static, she’s still going to get boring. Fortunately, people don’t work that way, so there’s no reason not to let them change, and every reason to do so.
For a good part [...]