Posts belonging to Category Cliche

The (Protagonistic) Gods Must Be Lazy

I’ve noticed a lot of stories in which the evil gods (or at least, the antagonistic ones) are the only ones who ever seem to do anything. Either both sides aren’t allowed to intervene and they’re ignoring the prohibition, or they’re just the only ones who seem willing to do anything, period (except maybe tell [...]

One Last Message

It’s an intense plot point, stretching along the span of media at least as long as people have had writing: a character’s final message to posterity. Usually, one gets it in a note where bits of words might be blurred with the spot-chromatography of fallen tears, or in a recording of some sort, when the [...]

Visual Cues and Characterization

The robe and wizard hat. Guns and black leather. White labcoats and peculiar equipment. Breeches, a nice jacket and a riding crop. A military uniform and a wide-brimmed hat with a chinstrap. A bag of dice and a backpack that makes one’s back hurt just looking at it. What do all of these have in [...]

Salvaging the Power of Friendship/Love

Yesterday, I went into a big long rant about the Power of Love and/or Friendship and what under what circumstances it annoyed me. But it’s just not right to do a post about how something can go wrong without a follow-up on how it can be done right, so here are some ways to make [...]

The Problem With Love and/or Friendship

It slices! It dices! It redeems the black-hearted, restores hope, purifies the corrupted, and can even raise the dead! And it doesn’t cost you anything but your originality! It’s the Power of Friendship (or Love, for those people who buy the Obligatory Romance package, and you can get it anywhere.
Now, I don’t have a problem [...]

“All a Dream”: When Is It Safe To Use?

Some plot twists just can’t get themselves taken seriously; just mentioning that a story ends in one is enough to make a hefty portion of its audience look for something else. “All a dream” is one such, and quite possibly one of the most reviled of the offenders. But that doesn’t mean that the basic [...]

Dangerous Dreams

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that everyone has the potential to use dreams as exposition or foreshadowing. Unfortunately, not everyone does it well. There are a number of pitfalls that come from leaning on dreams to serve vital roles in a story.
The biggest mistake, of course, is not balancing the level of information with the [...]

“Cloudy”: With a Chance of Sledgehammers

Sometimes, there are people who just don’t realize they’ve gotten a message across, so they pick up a sledgehammer and pound it in, again and again ad infinitum, nauseum, etc, even to the point of the defenestration of the offending book, DVD, video… you get the idea. Such was the case with ‘Cloudy with a [...]

Principles of Elements: Elements and Character Patterns

Yesterday, I made a case for mixing elements in elemental systems. But I know not everyone’s going to do this, so instead I’ll look into the ramifications of fully differentiated elements.
One major irritation of these systems is the fact that they always seem to result in the same character types: the hot-headed fire-slinging redheads, the [...]

Iron Chef World-Builder: Finished Product Sample

Continuing yesterday’s topic:  the dwarven Apology to the Abandoned Picks, an example of ways to do New and Interesting Ceremonies for an invented culture.  Enjoy!
The first ones into the Meeting Hall are, of course, the musicians. Barefoot and in pairs, they carry in the instruments from their respective access tunnels: bronze-keyed marvels, each one’s frame [...]