Worldbuilding

Tweaking Your World’s Geology

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii

Chances are your world is built on something.  If it’s anything like Earth, your characters are living in a thin veneer of air and water sandwiched between a dark, unforgiving void and a churning sea of white-hot iron. We’ve already looked at what’s above; now let’s … read more »

Writing

Five Books on Writing Fantasy, Compared

Of the many books on writing, almost all are for a mainstream audience. Instead of stoking a fantasy writer’s enthusiasm, they can kill it with example after example featuring the humdrum lives of Harry and Sally. That’s why we need genre-specific guidance from time to time. Read more »

Roleplaying

Advice for Running Your First Campaign

It’s time. You’ve been on the player side of the table for long enough. You’re ready to take the plunge and GM your own game for the very first time. The traditional wisdom, if there is such a thing for roleplaying games, is to run a few one-shots first, but I don’t hold with that. Read more »

Storytelling

Six Plot Excuses No One Wants to Hear

When storytellers are cornered by a tough plot problem, our first instinct is to ignore the problem by making our characters behave irrationally. Then we use character dialogue to handwave it and hope the audience doesn’t notice how unrealistic it is. Just take these six excuses. Read more »

Storytelling

Five Ways to Generate Suspense

Suspense builds up to conflict by causing heroes and the audience to worry about the outcome. It serves as a warning that can drive the characters and plot. Conflict that comes without that warning is jarring. While it can also be useful, it’s more likely … read more »

Writing

Ten Ways to Inspire Your Description

Good description is meaningful and imaginative, but it can be difficult to conjure an exciting rendition of every tree and shrub in your story. If you’re struggling against another bland paragraph, here are ten ways to give it some interest. Read more »