Articles from September 2011



Seven Questions to Ask When Getting Plot from Character

As with getting from setting to plot, getting from character to plot is often helped by asking yourself questions and seeing if one shakes loose a few ideas. You’ll note that many of these questions are similar to the setting to plot questions; there’s a lot in common between the thought processes. Note also that [...]

Character And…

In the first post in my series on getting from a character to a plot, I alluded to the idea that you couldn’t do it with just a character and nothing else whatsoever. A character in a vacuum is no fun whatsoever. She touches nothing, changes nothing, is changed by nothing; at best, she wanders [...]

Qualities of Plot-Driving Characters

As I noted in my introductory post, one of the most vital parts of getting from a character to a plot is having a character strong enough to push said plot. But what sort of character is it that can do that?
They need to be the type that will do things. This is one of [...]

Getting from Character To Plot: An Introduction

Last week, I talked about some ways to get to a plot when what you have is a setting. Sometimes this works—and sometimes you need something else. My favorite tactic is deriving a plot from a character, whether than plot is something big and overarching or just enough complication and consequence to cover a session [...]

Ask GV: Walking the Walk

Finally, a question!
Tu Eanna asks,

Dear Generic Villain,
I am doing some freelance work for a small evil enterprise, and while I have no qualms about behaving in ways that would ping as evil to the average normal, to say nothing of the hero sorts, I also don’t want to fall into the trap [...]

Impractical Applications (Semi-Generics)

Earlier this week, I talked about semi-generic characters, ones repeatedly used as often as the [character of a certain type] slot will accommodate them. While I don’t have too many characters of this type—all right, unless you count the NPCs borrowed by enough of my groupmates for their games that they might as well be [...]

Getting from Setting to Plot

Let’s say you’re one of those people who specializes in worldbuilding. You’ve got a grand world laid out, some combination of metaphysics and cultures and maps and history and… whatever, really. If you’re lucky, you’ve got a few characters, or at least an idea what kind of archetypes are going to be wandering around. But [...]

Semi-Generic Characters and How To Reuse Them

Every now and then, you just need a character(s) from a certain group. Such and such a cult. Such and such a location. Such and such an army. The personalities don’t matter as much, just as long as the characters have the appropriate background and will deal with the group in a certain way. Sure, [...]

A Conversation With Reality Hunger 1: Art as Conversation

“Art is a conversation, not a patent office.” –Reality Hunger: A Manifesto.
Sounds good: I’m ready to converse.
Take that first quote. A conversation, not a patent office. I’ve been thinking something like this for a while, though I never really managed to put it into words—perhaps it started when I started poking around webcomics and reading [...]

Reality Hunger: A Freewriting Review

I find Reality Hunger: A Manifesto , a book calling for “a blurring of any distinction between fiction and nonfiction”, on the new nonfiction table one Wednesday morning at the library. There are things I should probably be reading, but it takes dibs: I love this book by the time I’ve finished the first chapter. [...]