Posts belonging to Category Scening

Writing Exercise: In As Few Words…

A long time ago, I wrote an exercise in which the object of the game was to find something and describe it in as minute detail as possible, in order to learn how to see things at the minute, mundane level. I pointed out then that the results of this exercise really weren’t meant to [...]

Interactive Montages

In a book or movie, a montage is pretty straightforward. You do your sequence, whether it’s events, images, scenes, phases of construction and what characters are doing as the “shot” of the scene takes place. After all, you know everything—you know who the characters are, you know how they’re going to go about solving the [...]

Mapping Social Situations

One of the biggest weaknesses many writers and GMs have is dealing with a large number of characters active at the same time. This isn’t a mass of mooks in a fight, mind you, nor a large crowd of extras randomly milling about; it doesn’t matter if they disappear. No, this is when you’ve got [...]

In Defense of Idle Conversation

I’ve had long arguments with at least one of my players/GMs about whether a scene that seems entirely to be small talk is worth it—and goodness knows I’ve heard plenty about conservation of detail, streamlining sessions, that sort of thing. So it came as a bit of a surprise when, twice in two weeks, I [...]

Scening in Two Voices

When getting ready for this week’s session, I found myself thinking about ways to describe a scene or a sequence of events, and how I could get them to work together.
On the one hand, you’ve got third-person description. It wends its way through the background, describing things as they appear, with—I wouldn’t call it less [...]

Description Exercise: Reach for the Sky!

One of the hardest parts of working in pure-prose is really getting across images such that you know people are seeing the same thing you are.
So for this exercise, step outside and look up. Then try to describe it. (I personally find the best skies to base this exercise on are ones with some clouds [...]

Magical Location Design: Ravyn’s Guide to Geomancy

In yesterday’s post about creating magical locations based on their purpose, I mentioned the possibility of the purpose being to channel magic, and said I’d discuss it later. “The following day” counts as later, don’t you think?
Like necromancy’s slow shift from “My divinations require a corpse of some sort, preferably fresh” to “OMG FEAR MY [...]

Magical Location Design: To Every Place, a Purpose

One of the most common first approaches I see for designing a magical location is determining its purpose. Sometimes, it’s to channel magic in a certain way, but that’s less common and not necessarily likely to stand on its own—we’ll get into those later. But most of the time, even on an inherently magical building, [...]

Magical Location Design: Establishing a Mood

I talked yesterday about designing a magical location around the effect it was supposed to have on the audience. But it’s one thing to say “I want this effect”, and another thing entirely to get the effect in question. How do you go about it?
First, of course, is actually choosing the effect. It goes without [...]

Three Starting Points for Designing Magical Locations

What fun is a fantasy world without inherently magical locations? They make it clear which genre you’re operating in, provide a little color, and because of the ability to use elements not present in mundane locations, can often create a more intense and targeted mood than their mundane counterparts. I usually begin with a combination [...]