April, 2015

Analysis

Seven Video Games With Great Writing

Banner Saga featured Image

Video games have a mixed reputation when it comes to writing, and it’s not entirely undeserved. There are some badly written games out there. Of course, plenty of novels are badly written too, and no one questions books as a storytelling medium.* When done correctly, … read more »

Writing

Pacing Your Dialogue

The hobbits realize they are in deep trouble.

Dialogue is like music; rhythm flows from its notes and pauses. By shaping the pace of your dialogue, you can make this rhythm more engaging. Plus, those annoying tags become less noticeable when you’re not hitting the same beat every time. Read more »

Worldbuilding

Designing Aliens From an Alternate Earth

Avatar's Pandora, complete with flying blue beasties and pretty forest waterfall.

From the little green men of Mars to the rubber foreheads of Star Trek, aliens persist as a tried-and-true staple of science fiction. Though the concept of alien life isn’t unrealistic, scifi representations are almost always implausible. We’ve recently deduced that Earth-like planets should number … read more »

Worldbuilding

Overcoming the Myth of Barter

A market in Râmnicu Vâlcea

Many assume that before currency existed, people would trade goods through a barter system. But in reality, we have no historic or anthropological evidence that this ever occurred. None at all, even in isolated societies that don’t have money for their internal exchanges. Read more »

Writing

Labeling Your Dialogue

Argument at the Council of Elrond

Writers use labels, known as dialogue tags, to tell their readers which character is speaking. Many writers think dialogue tags are part of their story’s narration. That’s a mistake. Tags aren’t narration; they’re a technical necessity like punctuation, font, and quotes. We don’t want readers … read more »