Articles from March 2012



Impractical Applications (The Backstory of Ormand and Lamora)

The last cross-backstorying I did was last week, for a three-person D&D game: the GM, my boyfriend, and me. We’d planned on playing characters who knew each other anyway, and then, two weeks before game started, the GM made a point of telling us how we’d be rewarded for good backstory.
Things to note on this: [...]

Some Things I Love About Shared Backstories

I recently talked about the process I’ve found most successful when concocting a shared backstory between two or more PCs. As you’ve probably guessed from the collection of cross-backstoried characters I listed off during said post, I find shared backstories to be one of the most rewarding parts of putting together a new character, sometimes [...]

The Art of the Cross-Backstory

We don’t have to work alone when we’re coming up with our PCs’ histories—and a lot of us don’t want to! GMs like cross-backstories because it means they can circumvent the getting the group together part and focus on the actual plot; a lot of players enjoy the chance to collaborate—heck, some game systems even [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: Oh, Great, Sexism Again

I started a game with a new GM recently. D&D, two players (my boyfriend and me) plus the GM. There were a few things that got my back up, but then again there always are. I’ve been pretty spoiled with my primary group, after all; they range to the socially aware, very interested in characterization [...]

Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: You Want Me to Write What?

Last week, I continued my journey into the dark and dangerous alleys of paranormal romance with an early assignment on suspension of disbelief—or rather, half of an early assignment. The other half got my attention. Take something from my ‘ridiculous’ list. Write a two-paragraph summary of a PR plot centered around that idea.
Dang. She’s good.
The [...]

The Generic Villain Takes Over Non-Countries: Planning

The other week, I talked about taking over countries, and some of the points to consider when doing so. But not all of us are in a position for that kind of conquest; nor, for that matter, are all of us interested. There are plenty of other things that we can consider taking control of, [...]

Impractical Applications (Colorless)

Earlier this week, I talked about my sources of writer panic, and about things people could do to try to work around their weaknesses in writing/GMing once they identified them. As I mentioned in the former post, one of my weaknesses is writing without color—while I don’t butt up against it a lot in the [...]

Ways of Handling Weak Spots

Yesterday, I listed off a number of elements and prompts that give me major difficulties in my writing and GMing—but while understanding a problem is helpful, knowledge along isn’t enough to get through it. What can we do with knowing what we can’t stand?
Some people just deal with their discomfort zones by just plain avoiding [...]

Prompts That Scare Me

The thing about writing or GMing for an audience is that we can’t always create exactly what we want—and more, that sometimes our audience, well-meaning or otherwise, will steer us right to those things that we consider our worst points. There’s no way to fix it but practice, really, and no way to figure out [...]

Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: Ow, My Disbelief!

The first thing we covered in the online class on paranormal romance I found myself taking was suspension of disbelief. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that it would need to be explained; I take suspension of disbelief pretty seriously, to the point where it occasionally prevents me from performing what would otherwise be [...]