Posts belonging to Category Voice and Style

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 [...]

On the Dropping of Mountains

Is there any writer—GM—creator of any sort who has not at some point dropped a metaphorical mountain on at least one member of her cast? I don’t think so. Tragedy and trauma may not be quite as ubiquitous as ants in San Diego, but they come pretty close. It’s pretty easy to tell why mountain-hurling [...]

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: In Conclusion

This is the last of the UZ guest posts; regular posts will resume Friday night/Saturday morning.
Even as I am dishonest in fiction, so I am dishonest in most forms of composition; most readers will have noticed several narrative techniques that I’ve used in these posts. Not least of these techniques is the [...]

Guest Post: This Part of the Scene is Left Implied Because the Author’s Hands were Busy

UZ’s guest posts continue.
Nothing exposes the comforting lies of fiction more than analysis by the reader, which is why we avoid this as much as we can. One avenue to failure in this respect is to become so absorbed in an idea that you become uncritical of your own work, and [...]

Guest Post: Broken Bridges

UZ’s guest posts continue!

There is a form of dishonesty that has gained popularity in recent writing, which for lack of a better term I will call the Broken Bridge technique. This is where the story presents a question that feels compelling, puts off addressing it and ultimately fails to answer it, but [...]

Guest Post: Dressing and Skirting

There are things that we shouldn’t generally talk about in fiction. It’s not that we are literally unable, or that we mustn’t because of some moral obligation. Rather, the reason is that we’re trying to get our point across – the lunar disco and monster boyfriend part – and if we let these other things [...]

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 [...]

Guest Post: Why Lie?

A continuation of UZ’s series of guest posts, begun yesterday.
Most writers who believe in the natural process will ask – why lie? If writing is supposed to be communication, shouldn’t we communicate what we actually feel is right? My response, inadequate as it may seem, is that this isn’t the only [...]