December, 2014

Worldbuilding

Looking Under Your World’s Skin

Last month, we covered how the ground below a constructed world can behave. From the gradual shaping of continents to the rapid devastation unleashed by volcanoes and ice dams, geological processes define and destroy civilizations. Now that we’ve seen your world move, it’s time to see … read more »

Writing

Establishing and Satisfying Plot Threads

Do you know which hooks are motivating your readers to continue? Each hook creates an open plot thread; readers are pulled in because they want to see them conclude. If you mix up your subplots or don’t close each one properly, you’ll end up with a cranky audience. Read more »

Analysis

Five Characters With Too Much Candy

Candy is any story element that glorifies a character. It may not be something they like, but it makes them seem more awesome to the audience. Normally, candy is great. However, like most things, too much candy is a problem. We describe such characters as Mary Sues. Read more »

Writing

Establishing Important Characters

A story is not the people or things in it, or even the events that occur. It is a fully-expressed person, facing a particular set of challenges, operating within a specific worldview. When you don’t fully understand your story, it’s difficult to find the right … read more »

Worldbuilding

Adding Dance to Your Fictional Culture

All human cultures include dancing – with the possible exception of groups that specifically forbid it. Not only is dancing intrinsic to our nature, but it’s an amazingly versatile activity. Dreaming up some dances can add a splash of realism and interest to your creative … read more »

Roleplaying

Kicking Off Your Campaign Right

Your campaign is lined up and ready to play. World and plot notes are organized. Calendar dates are reserved for the coming months. Players are fidgeting, waiting to roll dice. Now it feels like everything is riding on that first session. Here’s how to give your game … read more »

Writing

Seven Tips for Receiving Feedback

Writing a bunch of words down in some semblance of order is a challenging and involved process, but it’s only the first step of crafting a story.* Practically no one can sell a first draft, and frankly you shouldn’t try. First drafts do not represent … read more »