Articles from March 2013



Wednesday Night Guest Exercise: When Horrible Things Happen

Provided by our very own UZ, in response to the retelling and reaction exercise a little while back.
It was late autumn, cold and rainy. The day was shadowed – not with threatening, tenebrous shadows full of lurking menace, but with the long, grey shadows of boredom.
It was the worst possible situation for [...]

Basic Flash-Characterization Exercise: The Dragonbreath-Style Summary

One of the things I’ve been discussing with my boyfriend for a while are tips for him in quickly generating background or semi-important characters. I was thinking about this a while back, and through some bizarre pattern of associative memory, I started thinking about the cover summaries on Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath books. (No, this post [...]

Honest Manipulators

Most of the manipulative characters in both fiction and RPGs are absurdly good liars—you know, the type who could sell shoes to snakes or convince a person that the sky was red while standing outdoors at noon on a clear day. But that hides the fact that the people who are terrible at lying can [...]

The Generic Villain vs. the Evil Overlord List: Items 21-25

The Generic Villain continues a point-by-point facedown and update of that reference material of all baddies with imperial ambitions, The Evil Overlord List.
21.  Get a fashion designer for the minions, and make sure the uniforms are original—particularly not knockoffs of historical fighting forces that were themselves eventually defeated. This strategy wears pretty well, at [...]

Impractical Applications: Weather-work

I talked a lot this week about weather. I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always let weather come into play, but I’ve seen it have some effect as much as I’ve seen it fail.
Most of the weather I’ve worked with has been atmospheric weather—there more for scene-setting than anything. Battles on rooftops [...]

Wednesday Night Writing Exercise: Do Something

For this one, I can thank Shinali, who asked me for a severe emotional reaction, and when asked for a specific character to do this with handed me Olathe. This one was hard—not because Olathe doesn’t feel, she’s as intense as any of my characters and has certainly gone through just as much of a [...]

Weather and Vocabulary

Yesterday, I talked about narrative uses of weather. When I discussed this with my mother the linguist, she didn’t hesitate to point out another—the interesting things that weather does to a cultural vocabulary.
There’s an Old English word, wederian. It means ‘to be good weather.’ Think about this a bit. What does it say about that [...]

Three (and a Half) Narrative Uses of Weather

Weather is one of the easiest things for a writer to forget. It’s all around us, but while it impacts us, it doesn’t always impact us much—modern conveniences tend to work around the worst of it, unless it’s reached the point of catastrophe. As a result, a lot of us—particularly those of us in “Weather? [...]

Impractical Applications (Taking the Plunge)

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I haven’t attempted to do since college: I started to run a face to face game.
(No really, it has been that long. This is my third attempt at a face to face. My first was with my cousins, and succeeded, probably because it was with my cousins. [...]