Posts belonging to Category Technique

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 [...]

Selling a Conflict: Two Key Points for Your Players

All of the conflicts I’ve seen work have made two major points to the players/characters: It has to be you, and it has to be now.
It has to be you. This is probably the most important of the two, playing as it does to the egos of the players—and to the verisimilitude of the overall [...]

Executing Temptation

I talked yesterday about what makes a temptation plot interesting—but while it went into the theory and the meta-game rewards, it didn’t talk near enough about the execution. So let’s talk about what you need to think about when you’re putting together a temptation plot.
The first thing to keep in mind with temptation plots is [...]

The Joys of Temptation

We’re all familiar with the temptation plot—the offer of something important to a character in exchange for some often minor-sounding price—do something she wasn’t supposed to/didn’t want to do, don’t do something she was supposed to/did want to, stand aside for just five minutes at the right time…. yeah. Those. The ones where, regardless of [...]

Condensing the Rumor Cloud

When you’re trying not to make your hints too obvious, or you want to give people a cross-section of what’s going on in a location, sometimes just one rumor isn’t going to do the job. Instead, you’ll want a rumor cloud: a set of rumors with varying levels of truth and relevance. I find the [...]

Dissecting a Rumor

I’ll be honest—when I first started writing this post, I’d been going to spell out steps for devising a single rumor. Then I realized it isn’t necessarily sequential; I, for one, start with the subject and message when I’m planning a rumor ahead, but a lot of the time I have to come up with [...]

All Rumors Are What?

I talked a lot yesterday about how useful rumors as a narrative device can be, but they often run afoul of dubious execution. In particular, I find one treatment of rumors that, unless the whole point is not-so-subtle herding, drops a lot of what makes rumors useful: when the story falls under the description “All [...]

The Joys of Rumors

Whether they like them in the real world or not, when it comes to their own worlds, plot creators—writers, GMs, you name it—tend to love rumors. Why?
Rumors are everywhere. You don’t have to worry about justifying people maintaining such a perfect oral tradition that the one little poem that perfectly describes how to circumvent the [...]