Articles from November 2011



Learning from NaNo, Round 2: Longhand vs Typing

During my sojourn into NaNoWriMo this month, I found myself not merely torn between writing longhand and typing, but actively doing both, and needing in some cases to choose between one and the other. This gave me an active chance to compare the two in a way that no other work had really allowed.
The bulk [...]

Those Who Shoot Messengers

There’s one thing I wish I’d never see again, and that’s the kind of knee-jerk reactions to negative commentary that seem to be common on the Internet. It’s not enough to disagree with people whose opinions you don’t like; more and more often the Thing seems to be to try to unmake the negative reviews, [...]

Things You Might Want To Know When Mediating a Feud

Two sides, both alike in… something, anyway… is an automatic recipe for drama: just ask Shakespeare! Between the inconveniences they cause and the general waste of life and potential they represent, blood feuds are a prime “problem” in a setting for protagonists to find themselves fixing. But there’s a lot to take into account when [...]

The Generic Villain on Timing

Let’s assume for a moment that you’re one of those Hands of Darkness who sits at the end of a long, travel-intensive struggle for survival on the part of an at best awkward and at worst utterly mismatched crowd of protagonists, probably with some grand ulterior goal or guiding idea of world-saving, whatever the heck [...]

Impractical Applications (Mutually Disinterested)

Earlier this week, I talked about situations in which neither players nor GM are particularly interested in seeing a scene go to its conclusion, but it’s not that easy to just skip through, either. I had one of those last week.
The group? Colossus-climbing their way through something very large and very dead to reverse a [...]

Freewriting and NaNo: Falling Behind

Two days ago, for the first time this month, I fell behind on National Novel-Writing Month.
It’s not that I wasn’t expecting to at some point. I went in fully aware that I was operating against pretty titanic odds by my standards, that what I was trying to do was considerably more complicated than either of [...]

Mutual Disinterest

In any given scene in a game, there’s a chance that either the GM or one or more of the players aren’t actually going to be invested in it. A GM who dislikes combat writes a fight scene for an action-hungry group; one character leads into an investigation that bores the others silly; you get [...]

Points of Resonance

Yesterday, I talked about the importance of getting places to resonate with the people in a world and thus through them with the audience, even before anyone actually sets foot there, and talked about what sorts of factors might give the places that resonance. The next step, then, is to figure out what sorts of [...]

A Resonance of Place

One of the things I’ve always loved about a good world-building is a sense of place: the idea that after a little while, hearing a place name alone will bring in all the echoes of what the place actually means to the characters. It’s important, particularly in a narrative that bounces about between cities and [...]

The Generic Villain Sings

Yes, I’m well aware that in the media the Management usually caters to, this is unlikely to come up, but I’ve seen enough fellow Hands of Darkness trip over this concept that I find myself obligated to comment on. The issue is the villain song.
The idea? Simple. We’re stuck in a world where every major [...]