Posts belonging to Category Description

Reprise: Can Big Drama Be Done Quietly?

Originally posted on February 22, 2010.
I play games in which grand and dramatic is pretty much the gold standard. It’s part of the system, I can deal with that. I see a lot of people writing in ways that are grand and dramatic, and hey, power to them. But there’s one thing [...]

Expositionary Hand-holding

The other day, I found myself railing at a bit of boxed text in a game module I was being run through (at least, I hope it was just the boxed text and not my GM’s addition). It described a place, lots of visible details that made it obvious that we’d just walked into the [...]

Null Actions

Let’s face it, just because a character is in a given situation doesn’t mean that she actually knows what to do. PCs, NPCs, writers’ characters of all levels of relevance: all of them will at some point find themselves in a situation where they’re indecisive, redundant, physically/emotionally paralyzed, or in some other way unwilling or [...]

Adding Description to Dialogue: The Comic Method

The biggest challenge in writing dialogue, I think, isn’t necessarily actually writing good dialogue. Most of us can find examples of snappy one-liners or decent conversations. The problem, instead, is making sure that the dialogue doesn’t yawn and swallow the rest of the scene, leaving us with a couple of characters talking in what for [...]

Exercise: A Portrait of a Social Dynamic

I’m not going to even consider quoting Tolstoy on this one. Happy families are not all alike, save to the kind of person who sees happiness and assumes it a default state, an absence of any effort to reach that point or of crisis to tear it away. Social dynamics, similarly, are never exactly alike—it [...]

Exercise: Leave Your License In Your Pocket!

A lot of people, when they settle down to describe a character, start with a pretty vague description. They have a height, or at least an approximate height range, a hair color, and an eye color. It’s like being handed a character’s driver’s license, only with the picture and most of the geographic information either [...]

Character Description: A Process

Yesterday, I talked about the difference between cosmetic and functional details in a character’s appearance. Today, with the concept at my disposal I’m going to move on to my usual approach to creating and describing a character’s appearance.
If I can, I start by figuring out what the first visual impression the character is likely to [...]

Character Descriptions: The Purposes of Details

When I talked yesterday about character descriptions, I noted that I’d never really been trained in coming up with a good description, just given a whole lot of what not to do. Therefore, I’m challenging myself to come up with a decent process for giving a character as well-done a look as she has a [...]

Ravyn Freewrites: A Maundering on the Appearance of Characters

The first part of Aisling I ever described was her hands, a mottled rainbow of stains covering her palms and fingertips; Morgan had little appearance until I drew “Splash?!”. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten around to giving my group a description of Liang, though I do know he’s the first of my male PCs [...]

Perfect Locations: Marring Perfection

(Do I even need to tell you what prompted this post?)
When last seen, the broken walls of the old buildings had shimmered in the starlight, haunted by the soft strings and fluting of the lone musician; now the musician is gone, and in the sunlight the walls are merely ruined stone. The carnival last night [...]