Storytelling

Five Characters That Are Too Powerful

Creating a spec fic character isn’t always like creating characters in other genres. One of the unique challenges we face is preventing our characters from becoming too powerful – and dealing with them when they do. But what exactly is too powerful? Read more »

Failures That Hurt a Game

No matter how many bonuses a character possesses, the dice will eventually turn against them. They will fail an important roll at a critical moment. This can be a good thing, because success means nothing without the possibility of failure. Unfortunately, it can also be … read more »

Creeping Out Your Audience

In film, it’s easy startle your audience. Giving an audience the creeps…well, that takes a little more work. What if, as a storyteller, you want to create an atmosphere that will creep out your audience- how do you make it happen without sights and sounds in your toolbox? Read more »

The Problem With Multiple Viewpoints

Many storytellers enjoy looking through the lens of more than one character. In speculative fiction, multiple viewpoint characters are often used to show different places in the world, or illustrate a conflict that is epic in scale. Unless the story involves a device that is … read more »

Which Should Come First: World or Story?

It’s the chicken and the egg question of spec fic: should you make a world and then plot your story in it, or should you create the story and then build the world it’s in? Most storytellers answer this question by beginning with the part … read more »

Why Breaking Stereotypes Makes Stronger Characters

Stereotypes are deeply embedded in our culture. They permeate every aspect of our communication with one another: journalism, lyrics, movies, casual conversation… you name it. It doesn’t take long before they wiggle their way into our minds, and from there they sneak into our stories. Read more »

When to Cut That Scene

Inserting extra fluff scenes is a very common mistake for new writers. Useless scenes destroy a story’s pacing, turning a page-turner into a plodding pony. Luckily, they’re also easy to recognize; you just have to know what to look for. Read more »

How Metagaming Can Improve Your Campaign

One of the more frustrating habits a roleplayer can have is metagaming too much. The frequent metagamer can alienate the game master and other players if they start to feel that the metagamer is so concerned with winning that they are no longer playing in … read more »

Leaving the Dungeon Crawl Behind

When an uninitiated friend or relative asks what I do on Saturday nights, I will sometimes tell them that I play Dungeons & Dragons to save time and explanations, even if the actual game in question is Vampire: The Sparkling. Read more »