December, 2015

Storytelling

Six Unrealistic Tropes and How to Avoid Them

Richard only got that sword today, but he's excited to fight evil armies all by himself!

Tropes get repeated over and over again throughout spec fic, and usually that’s fine. Many tropes are perfectly acceptable. Others are just lazy writing, sacrificing believability for narrative convenience. We’re concerned with the second group today. Fear not, there’s always a way out, no matter … read more »

Commentary

Five Bad Defenses of Bad Stories

Boring Book

If you’ve ever been on the internet,* you’ve seen someone post a harsh critique of a story you really like. Perhaps you’ve seen one on this very website. If you’re anything like me, this inspires an intense need to defend that which you love. Someone … read more »

Writing

Breaking the Curse of Distant Perspective

telescope-paul-l

Vast literary realms are afflicted by a writing perspective with dull personality and chafing restraints. This perspective is called distant limited, and it is pervasive because it goes unexamined by many writers. Once you recognize this malady, you can choose the writing style your work … read more »

Roleplaying

Tenra Bansho Zero Is Fun Insanity

TBZ Cropped

Created by F.E.A.R. (FarEast Amusement Research) and translated by Andy Kitkowski, Tenra Bansho Zero (TBZ) is the first Japanese pencil and paper roleplaying game I’ve ever played. It is unlike any of the Western games on my shelf, which is both good and bad. Instead … read more »

Storytelling

Five Common Character Mistakes

Inara from Firefly

Character depiction is never simple. Even when the storyteller writes the hero’s entire life story and maintains a psychological profile, audiences may interpret the protagonist in an unexpected way. This disconnect causes many of the character issues we see again and again. Read more »