More Characterization Catalysts

Yesterday, I talked about factors that might affect how easily someone can backstory a character. Pretty much as soon as I’d finalized the post, I found a few more.
Minimum requisite information. Some worlds just seem to demand a better idea why people are what they are and do what they do than others. If you [...]

Characterization Catalysts

Over the break, I found myself involved in three new games (long stories, all of them), so I found myself doing up characters for all three in the span of about a week—and all of it was right smack dab in the middle of another noveling attempt, meaning that I was, in different ways, working [...]

Impractical Applications (It Has to Be….)

I talked earlier this week about the twin lures of “It has to be you, and it has to be now” as the key to getting players going on your plotlines. All in all, my GMs have been pretty good at this, though there have been a few times that something went sideways and the [...]

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 [...]

Impractical Applications (Avoiding Avoidance Again)

This week wasn’t particularly good for applicability (I mean, come on. A writing exercise on a scary forest, a riff on reading getting in my way—rather not expand on that more than I have to—and a review of a game I played a grand total of once long enough ago that I’m not entirely sure [...]

Questions That Keep Me Going Through a Plot

Keeping going in a game can be difficult sometimes—if the players are driving me crazy, the style isn’t anything I’ve done before, the… you get the idea. It’s easy to be frustrated nowadays. Writing, sadly enough, is likewise: if anything, a game is likelier to keep my attention, or at least my participation, because the [...]

Camp NaNo and Hunting Words

My biggest problem with this month’s Camp NaNo attempt at major progress in my story, as with the first time I tried to NaNo Almagest, was underpreparedness. There were a few characters in my head, but not enough; can one truly do a good heavy court intrigue with only four, and most of them on [...]

Camp NaNo and the Spirit of the Rules

It begins the way these stories always begin: Shinali talks me into signing up for (a variant on) NaNoWriMo, and chaos ensues. This time, though, is different. It isn’t the official month—it’s June, and we’re doing the “Camp” version instead. This time I’m leaving the Generic Villain behind and taking a stab at Almagest again, [...]

Artifacts of Anticlimax

It might have been played up just a bit too much in order to provide motivation. Or maybe it’s to justify the fact that everybody with a name, a backstory and/or an even remotely solid set of stats seems to want to get their hands on it. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that the item [...]

GMs, Writers and Hedgehogs

I first ran into the idea of the Hedgehog Concept in a book on businesses and how they succeed—but hey, what am I if not prone to interdisciplinary approaches? According to Jim Collins, the idea of the Hedgehog Concept is inspired by the idea that the fox has many tricks, but the hedgehog can always [...]