Oren Ashkenazi

Oren is a grumpy old man whose physical age hasn’t quite caught up with him, at least that’s what the kids who won’t get off his lawn keep saying. He’s been into roleplaying games since he was knee-high to a d10, and into prose writing for nearly as long. He loves stories and games that push the envelope of storytelling, like the Discworld series and the RPG Primetime Adventures. He’s also a huge Star Trek fan, though his rants on the mistakes of Voyager and Enterprise might make you think otherwise.

Analysis

Five Ridiculous Organizations From Popular Stories

Newt emerging from his case in the Wizard Congress chamber.

Organizations play a critical role in speculative fiction. They allow for bigger plots and higher stakes than are feasible with individual characters. However, they are also uniquely challenging. When crafting fictional organizations, storytellers must consider what the organization does, how it operates, where its resources … read more »

Storytelling

Seven Tips for a Satisfying Mystery

A set of watch gears shown through a magnifying glass.

Everyone loves a good mystery. But mystery stories have a common problem: no satisfaction at the end. That’s because everything in the story leads to a big reveal about whodunit. Reveals are always tricky to pull off, so if the story’s not firing on all cylinders, … read more »

Q&A

How Do I Establish a Mentor Before They Die?

questions and answer talk bubbles

Dear Oren/Chris, I’m an amateur fantasy writer and a rising college freshman working on the second draft of a high fantasy novel. Some context for the question: 1. The main character lives on a different continent than the magical school she ends up going to, … read more »

Worldbuilding

How Do Cannons Affect Your Naval Combat?

Recently, I went over the naval tactics your characters might use in a world without gunpowder. This raises the natural question, what happens when gunpowder is introduced? As you might imagine, the answer is complicated. Gunpowder isn’t a single toggle switch. There are hundreds, possibly … read more »

Analysis

Seven Stories With Contrived Character Conflict

Conflict between characters is a vital tool of storytelling, but it can also be tricky, especially when both characters are on Team Good. Authors often have difficulty constructing conflicts where neither character is obviously at fault, or they have difficulty dealing with the implications when … read more »