Posts belonging to Category Observations from Work

Why Lack of Straightforwardness Matters

Yesterday, I talked about how almost everyone will look at a character’s job and decide that it’s easier than it actually is, including the character doing the job. Today, I’m going to talk about why that should matter to us, particularly to those of us who write rather than tabletopping.
The first, of course, is characterization—figuring [...]

Not Near As Straightforward As It Looks

Not too long ago, I had what felt like the same conversation twice in a span of about twenty-four hours. One day, on my commute home, I found myself talking to a fellow trolley rider who knew what my occupation was, didn’t quite get why I “needed to go to school for that”…. and then, [...]

Ravyn Rants: Exceptionalism

There was a conversation I once had with one of my regular patrons, a civvie who worked the electronics store, whose daughter was one of our regulars. I’d run into him at the trolley station, on the way to one of my Sunday shifts, and he asked me what I was reading. “Clausewitz’s On War,” [...]

Musings: The CDC and Its Zombies

Thursday morning at the office I’ve been assigned to until my library reopens. It’s still early, nobody looking for SAC or the Relief Society or even the Education Office, so I’m trawling through Reality Hunger looking for quotes to engage in one-sided conversation with. One of my new officemates, reading the previous day’s paper as [...]

Reading Through the Ranks: I’m Staying With My Boys

A bit over a year ago, I mentioned military reading lists as a source of inspiration. The Marines’ version of the military reading list (known as the Commandant’s Reading List, though I’ve never been entirely sure how much control the Commandant actually has over it) is one of those staples of working at a Marine [...]

Bringing the Audience into the In-Group

More than a year ago, I talked a bit about in-groups and out-groups, and the role of PCs between those groups. In-groups make for excellent distinctions between sets of characters, but there’s one other thing they can do in both stories and games to further involve the audience in the story. See, the thing about [...]

Inspiration and Military Reading Lists

RPG Blog Carnival June 2010, hosted at Campaign Mastery, is on inspiration. So I’m going to look at some of the things that inspire me. I’ve already talked about nonfiction books as an inspiration source, but I’m going to narrow my focus even further: books from military reading lists.
Yes, members of the American military (at [...]

Shaking Up the Week

Yesterday, I talked about the uses of a weekly routine in grounding a story or its characters in their world. The advantage, of course, is that it creates a set of predictable yet limiting events, gives people a feel for what the patterns are like. But there’s one other trick that can be done, once [...]

It Must Be Tuesday

Routines are a natural human behavior, whether the people engaging in them choose to admit it or not. And one of the most common routines in this day and age is the weekly schedule: the things that happen on this day, or these days, week in and week out. It’s not just an interesting observation, [...]

US Census: What a Difference a Year Makes

In honor of Census Day (*pauses to let people mark their calendars*), I thought I’d revisit learning from the Census, as I was doing last year, with a look at the people in the field now.
Back when I started my Census work, the workforce was made up of listers. Now, as one of my friends [...]