Posts belonging to Category Technique

Recurrences, Plot and Catch-22

We all know about recurring villains. They’re fun, they save you chargen, they exist as reasons for the PCs to get better and as targets for them to go strike at when they might be otherwise unmotivated—in short, they’re blasted useful, so we use them. Good stuff. On the other hand, that means that every [...]

Choosing a Main Character

This was supposed to have gone up a week ago. I don’t know why it didn’t.
A lot of us writers have it easy. We have one strong character idea and are ready to center a story around them, or we have a strong plot idea and just need to design a character who can [...]

Exercise: Ten Questions

Sometimes, you have a character (or other story element or feature) who just isn’t coming through. Sometimes, you have a person—in your audience, in your game group, wherever—whose take on what you’re doing you just can’t figure out. And sometimes, you can get these two things to cancel out.
In some order, choose yourself a character [...]

Degrees of Backstory Characters

Into every character’s backstory, a few characters who aren’t the backstory’s central character must fall. They don’t live in a vacuum, after all. (And if they do, they’re probably pretty boring characters, and lack verisimilitude. Even hermits usually had someone who raised them.) That doesn’t mean they’re all created the same, though.
Overall, backstory characters are [...]

A Short Thought on the Visual First Impression

They say that a writer should research and backstory and take all the notes in the world, then file them all away and only directly reference about 10%, with the rest leaking through in dribs and drabs as the narrative progresses. I begin to think that the people who describe their character stepping into the [...]

More Characterization Catalysts

Yesterday, I talked about factors that might affect how easily someone can backstory a character. Pretty much as soon as I’d finalized the post, I found a few more.
Minimum requisite information. Some worlds just seem to demand a better idea why people are what they are and do what they do than others. If you [...]

Characterization Catalysts

Over the break, I found myself involved in three new games (long stories, all of them), so I found myself doing up characters for all three in the span of about a week—and all of it was right smack dab in the middle of another noveling attempt, meaning that I was, in different ways, working [...]

Exercise: You Don’t Say!

I stumbled upon (rediscovered?) this exercise looking for a prompt almost two weeks ago. It’s very simple—so of course, it never occurred to me to put it down all the way. Like many of my other exercises, this one is about description and visualization—about getting across what you want to say without saying it directly.
Let’s [...]

Reprise: How Not To Misplace People in a Scene

Originally posted August 12, 2010.
One of the biggest problems with having four or five people operating in the same scene, regardless of its type, is the risk that the better-imaged ones will take over and the less-definite ones will get lost in the shuffle. A couple days ago, UZ asked how to [...]

Reprise: Comparing Conversation and Combat

Originally posted on August 11, 2010.
What’s the difference between conversation and combat?
I found myself asking that of one of my friends, while thinking about UZ’s recent question on keeping all participants in a conversation involving more than four characters at once. I have difficulty with that sort of thing too, so I didn’t [...]