Posts belonging to Category Description

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 [...]

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 [...]

Exercise: In Monochrome

This is somewhat similar to my old “driver’s license” exercise, only slightly less restrictive. What it boils down to is this: even if we don’t necessarily all agree on what colors there are and what categories they fit into (this coming from a person who was raised on the Crayola marker spectrum who occasionally gets [...]

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? [...]

Characterization Exercise: Retelling and Reaction

A long time ago, I suggested an exercise in which the object of the game was to come up with a character’s retelling of an event, in voice. But no story is told in a vacuum, and few are told without someone to hear them.
For this exercise, then, choose two characters and one event. It [...]

Reprise: Epic Scenery

Reruns due to Finals Week continue.
Originally posted November 18, 2009.
Into any story, a little epic scenery seems to fall. Okay, not fall exactly. More come crashing down into view at just the right moment to make everyone use it and take the audience’s breath away. Either way, it’s pretty much a staple of stories in [...]

Complicated Costumes Without Costume Porn

A lot of the time, you can tell a great deal about a character from what she’s wearing—rank, country of origin, social class, occupation, personality, and a lot more. And let’s face it, authors and GMs aren’t immune to the lure of this sort of thing—not just because it makes sense in whatever worlds we’re [...]

Guest Post: Wronging the Write

UZ’s guest posts continue.

My background in fantasy and the weird means that I often write about upsetting things; I’ve discussed some of these in the past with our illustrious host. When we write about wondrous things – that’s really our mandate in fantasy – often we write about scale. The fifty [...]

Reprise: What Neuromarketing Can Teach Us About Memorable Characters

Originally published on November 24, 2009. Blame the server issues.
I hadn’t been going to post this one for a while, but then I blundered onto ChattyDM’s riff about managerial skills and GMing, and he asked for it in the comments. Never let it be said that I turn down perfectly good requests.
The fun thing about [...]

On My Abrupt Generation of (Usually) Giant Monsters

Sometimes, you have time to come up with the huge nasties that dot your world. To figure out their biology, their natural enemies, what would get them in conflict with the main characters, to come up with awesome powers that make them a challenge and a description that makes everyone who so much as reads [...]