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 [...]
One of the things I’ve been discussing with my boyfriend for a while are tips for him in quickly generating background or semi-important characters. I was thinking about this a while back, and through some bizarre pattern of associative memory, I started thinking about the cover summaries on Ursula Vernon’s Dragonbreath books. (No, this post [...]
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 [...]
While it may not necessarily feel true for a lot of people, most people have some specific role they fill which, if it were to be filled by someone else, would require a certain amount of instruction. Fictional characters, be they from a story or game, almost all have roles like this; after all, designing [...]
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 [...]
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 [...]
This month’s RPG Blog Carnival, on the subject of Heroes, Living and Dead, got me thinking about the term. “Hero” is a pretty subjective term, as these things go; some people consider heroism to be anything that involves improving other people’s lives, others see it as risking one’s life, there are still more whose main [...]
Sometimes, it can be hard to tell how much of a character’s personality is her and how much is her surroundings. Hopefully, a character’s personality will be independent of her role in the narrative she’s involved in, whether it’s a tabletop game or some sort of fiction. But what better way to check than to [...]
“Her azure orbs sparkled in the moonlight.”
“I took this as a bad sign. Battle sapphires only sparkle when they’re about to be thrown, and I was too close to be the target—who else was out there? Were we under attack?”
–a response to deliberately dubious description.
Not all bad writing is irretrievable; in fact, not even all [...]
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 [...]