Articles from February 2012



Impractical Applications (A New Timeline)

Yes, I spent the week talking about searches—but not only would the events that inspired those posts make a whole lot less sense without context, but we’re still in the middle of one of my major search plots, and I’d like to keep some of the spoilers to a minimum.
It started with my original solo [...]

Search Plotlines: Of Obstacles and Skills

When I talked about the questions we need to look into when constructing search plotlines, one of the ones I covered was what sorts of skills are required to find the object of the search. What I didn’t note is the interconnectedness between that and the obstacles to the successful completion of the search—after all, [...]

Where Are You Looking?

In a sense, “Where is it?” can be an optional question for the object of a search plotline—or at least, one that doesn’t necessarily require a very precise answer. Motile search targets, after all, have that obnoxious tendency not to stay in one place, and the answer to where they are might be “in this [...]

Why Objects Are (Often) Easier to Find Than Sentients

In yesterday’s riff on search plotlines, I mentioned that search plotlines centered around sentient, motile targets (or attended objects) are generally more complicated than ones based around simple objects. It’s rather like my Things You Might Want To Know When riff on rescue missions versus heists; the organic angle adds a lot to the difficulty [...]

Looking for Something?

Most of us—particularly those of us who spend most of our time in some variation on the fantasy genre—are used to the idea of plots based around looking for things. Granted, in most of our cases the plot is a quest: go there, where this thing is, surmounting dangers and obstacles and covering a mess [...]

The Generic Villain on the Don’ts of Being Age-Appropriate

Most of us don’t really have much by way of limits on our behavior, aside from the ritual ones imposed by the source of power or those imposed by our need to at least consider PR. Some, though, have a more awkward issue: the fact that most of the eyes watching them from behind the [...]

Impractical Applications (Assembling Carlotta)

My descriptions in practice (in game, at least), I find, are minimal. Admittedly, a lot of that is due to a tendency towards making up the characters at the last minute, or having internalized them so hard I’ve almost forgotten what they look like. (Obnoxiously, many of them do end up rather driver’s-license-y, though that’s [...]

Exercise: Leave Your License In Your Pocket!

A lot of people, when they settle down to describe a character, start with a pretty vague description. They have a height, or at least an approximate height range, a hair color, and an eye color. It’s like being handed a character’s driver’s license, only with the picture and most of the geographic information either [...]

Character Description: A Process

Yesterday, I talked about the difference between cosmetic and functional details in a character’s appearance. Today, with the concept at my disposal I’m going to move on to my usual approach to creating and describing a character’s appearance.
If I can, I start by figuring out what the first visual impression the character is likely to [...]

Character Descriptions: The Purposes of Details

When I talked yesterday about character descriptions, I noted that I’d never really been trained in coming up with a good description, just given a whole lot of what not to do. Therefore, I’m challenging myself to come up with a decent process for giving a character as well-done a look as she has a [...]