Thursday, May 30, 2019

How to Write a Book in 15 Days: Actual Word Count (What to Do if you Miss a Day)

Salutations, my curious congregation. Today we will be continuing down the road we've already been on re: fastdrafting a novel. I'll be honest, I had no idea what to actually talk about today because it's mostly about taking what you already wrote down and expounding on it, but let's run with that and see what happens.

Content Warnings: My usual dose of irreverence, probably some swearing. Contents may be mildly carcinogenic. Also, don't pick the left door. Only nightmares lay beyond it.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

How to Write a Book in 15 Days: Filling in the Plot Holes (Day 2)

Salutations, my curious congregation. Last Thursday I started a kind of experimental project trying to write a book in 15 days. I'm going to be talking about my personal experience with this process, but mostly it's going to be about what to do on Day 2.

In this case, refining your outline.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing, and mild risk of dramatic music playing in the background while you make operatic eye contact with one of your enemies in a melodramatic situation.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

How to Write a Book in 15 Days: Speed Outlining (Day 1)

Salutations, my curious congregation. I'm going to sit down and talk about something crazy that is totally possible and I only recommend if you really need to get some words down and get something finished. You're going to have to edit the hell out of it but hey! Editing the hell out of it is kind of an inevitability.

On another note I want to thank you guys for chilling and dealing with my weird rambles while I was having medical issues. You're the best <3

That said. Yes, you read that title right. 15 days, oh the insanity. This is not going to be for everyone, but if you can smash a whole lot of words onto a page in a short amount of time (I am  talking 5k a day or more) this might work for you.

Content Warnings: Probably just the irreverence and swearing this time, I'm not dipping into anything dark or too weird. Oh, but I'm not responsible if you disintegrate. That probably won't happen.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

How to Write an Herbal Abortion

Salutations, my curious congregation. As some of you might already be aware, I live in the butt crack of Ohio. And Ohio is kind of being a turd right now. Now, the river's like spitting distance from my house. I could feasibly walk to Kentucky if I had to, so going out of state for an abortion isn't off the table from me and in fact the doctor that I go to when I need one is already in Kentucky and was before this kerfuffle started. But I still live here.

And it's had this topic on my brain for a bit. Because even in best selling fantasy novels they tend to portray it as "You drink the tea with the herbs in it once and it's done" and that's not how it works. So I'm gonna break it down from a writing perspective.

Content Warnings: More than my usual dose of irreverence, a bit of swearing because you can pry those words from my cold dead hands, and yeah, this blog entry is about characters using herbs to control their reproductive system so if you don't like, don't read. Also, there are things that can go wrong. If that kind of thing squicks you, you may want to avoid this one.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

10 Reasons Why Canderous Ordo is a Better Boyfriend than Carth Onasi

Salutations, my curious congregation. I'm late to this party. As in, I never played Knights of the Old Republic back when it was new, but swung around to give it a go recently and I have some feelings about the NPCs and romantic interest(s). Or lack thereof.

Anyway I know it's Thursday and this is supposed to be my writing blog. I know this is technically about gaming. But I mean it's about the writing in a game so we're halfway there, right?

Content Warnings: Regular dose of irreverence, some swearing, and KotOR/KotOR2 spoilers. If you haven't played them, why would you even click this?

But also this game is so old if you're going to have found out about plot stuff for it you probably already have so let's get to it.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Encounter Design: Multiple Objectives

Salutations, my curious congregation. Today, we're going to talk about a cool bit of encounter design a dear friend of mine put us through last night and why it worked so well. So Faith and Mimi, brace yourselves, I'm gonna be singing your praises for the next while, and everybody else break out your notebooks.

Note that this was a play-by-post game and there were 9 PCs involved, so it was not an easy encounter to DM by any stretch. Which only increases how impressive this was.

Content Warnings: Irreverence and swearing as usual, and a 9 PC encounter with no discernible initiative. The horror.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

The Art of the Expy: Moving Characters Between Settings

Salutations my curious congregation, and let me open with an apology for my recent absence this week. I needed to take some space for my mental health, and things are getting steady again, and I would like to thank you for your patience.

So anyway, today I want to talk about expies. There's a link there to the TVTropes article, but if you don't want to be on a wiki walk for the next four hours I'll give you the tl;dr here: It's short for exported character. Basically, if you see a character in more than one setting, they're expied. And I do it a lot.

Content Warnings: The usual healthy dose of irreverence, and probably swearing. Also, the recycling of characters. The horror.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Creating Nemesis Characters

Salutations, my curious congregation~ I've decided to try something a little different for a while. I know some of you are here for the tabletop and some of you are here for the writing, and a lot of what I write about on this blog applies to both, but enough of it doesn't that I'm thinking I'm going to try to get into a schedule and write about tabletop on Tuesdays and writing on Thursdays.

Most character-based things apply to both, of course, and that's what I've got for you today. So this one is for my Dungeon Masters and Writers. I'm not saying I won't be writing a lot of things that apply to both still, but I'm hoping I can get to the point that if you check on Tuesday there will for sure be tabletop and if you check on Thursday there will for sure be writing, and maybe it will be both.

So!  Today we're looking at our Moriartys and Lex Luthors. We're going to talk about how to make a nemesis character, for the PCs at your table or possibly for your protagonist.

Content Warnings: As always, a healthy dose of irreverence and probably some swearing. Also, if you couldn't tell by the title, the distinct possibility of obsession and revenge.

Let's dance.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Scenes at the Gaming Table

Salutations, my curious congregation! I have been doing a lot of plot study recently in the vein of writing things. I've always held to the idea that you can't really DM like you're writing a novel because you can never be sure what your players are going to do, but I've been thinking about that. You can have some pretty decent guesses.

Structure isn't bad. I think we're all agreed that railroading is. Can you have structure without it being railroading? Well, you bet your sweet bippy you can. And what about those groups that need just a little extra push to actually do stuff?

I want to talk about crafting scenes at the game table, how they differ from writing fiction, and what makes them similar.

Content warnings: The usual dose of irreverence, probably some swearing, and a lot of unsolicited advice about how to run your game. Also the flamingo in your back yard is not my fault. Don't ask me who left it there. Idk. Maybe Starbucks.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Worldbuilding: A Cosmology of Servers

Salutations, my Curious Congregation! I'm in a gaming place at the moment and was bitten by a renegade idea the other night that I want to talk about a little bit and develop and I'm hoping it will give you ideas as well.

This one is mainly for my tabletoppers, but if you're writing science fiction and like fantasy or vice versa you might still find this interesting, so writers in the audience feel free to stick around. Tapletoppers, feel free to use this at your table; feel even more free to hit me up and tell me how it goes.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing and the potential to be infested by a colony of world-building ants.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Power Imbalance in Relationships

Salutations, my curious congregation~ I left off last week talking about how power imbalance in relationships can make them interesting, and right now we're going to talk some about romantic conflict and imbalanced ships.

If you are sitting here thinking "I want to write this pairing but one of my characters is a bit of an asshole and I don't want the internet to come at my throat", this might be the blog entry for you. But, just FYI, part of the internet is going to come at your throat no matter what you do so just relax. And read this blog entry. -wiggly persuasive fingers-

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing, and secret messages encoded in this blog meant to activate the secret nanobots in your blood stream. But you don't have to worry about that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Sex Scenes and How to Make Them Relevant

Salutations, my curious congregation. I'm in the process of reading a book and I'm not going to say which one because I don't want to go pointing fingers, but there is a lot of sex. A lot of sex that doesn't have anything to do with the story or with character development. It's not my shtick, but I understand a lot of other people like it. More power to them.

Personally, I'll give you as much sex as you want if it's plot relevant. And one gratuitous sex scene per novel. Two if it's really long or if I'm really into the rest of the story. Four is way too many.

So today I'm going to talk about sex! Namely, how to get your ero bits and them not come off as gratuitous wankery.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing, some candid talk about the naughty bits, brief mention of domestic violence, and a maybe .05% chance of an eagle attacking you in your home.

Additional apologies for my tardiness, darlings, the power was out last night and I wasn't able to get to it until late.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Immortal Characters and How They Relate to Mortals

Salutations, curious congregation. I've been having a lot of feelings about immortal characters lately, and part of this blog entry was inspired by Jenna Moreci's 10 Worst Romance Tropes video, and if you're not already watching her you should check her out because she's hilarious and has a lot of good advice.

In the video one of her gripes was about characters being hundreds of years old and yet falling for 21 year olds. Now, if you've met me, you know Mayfly-December romance is one of the tropes that really works for me, and while this blog entry isn't going to focus so much on the romance aspect, I do want to talk about immortal characters, what that means for them and what that means to me in terms of the other people around them who might not live as long.

RPers in the audience, this all applies to your elves and vampires as well. There's so much overlap between general writing and playing games that I'm not even going to try to separate this one.

Content Warnings: The usual healthy dose of irreverence, probably some swearing, and the looming threat of e x i s t e n t i a l  d r e a d.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Writing to Your Audience

Salutations, my curious congregation! Let's have a talk about knowing your audience and writing to them.

-muffled sounds of some fedora yelling about pandering in the distance-

-reaches up and closes the window-

Today we're going to talk about why it's important to know the kinds of people that are going to be interested in your stuff, and why it's important to play into what they expect and what they want. Dungeon Masters, this applies to you too, so don't think you're excused! Remember that your players are your audience, grab your notebooks and come with us.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, as always. Probably some swearing. Long term exposure may result in glowing tonsils, but no promises.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Brainstorming Ideas for your Novel

Salutations, my strange mysterious lovelies. We've been talking a lot about outlines and scene dissection recently, but tonight I want to take a moment to talk about brainstorming and how to drum up ideas to outline about in the first place.

After all, what good are outlines and guiding the fire if you can't even get the fire started?

Well, the good news is, you can. The bad news is, it's a skill to develop just like every other part of this nonsense.

Content Warnings: A healthy dose of irreverence, suggestions about where to mine for ideas, probably some swearing and an 0.2% risk of hallucinations of the ghost of Edgar Allen Poe giving you the most judgmental look on days you don't work on anything.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Entertain Yourself With Your Outline

Salutations, my beautiful gathering of weirdos <3 I've been on a gaming kick the past couple of weeks, so I'm gonna swing back to the literature end of things for a minute. Let's talk about outlines. There's a lot floating around about how to make them, the structure of them and how important they are, but I'm not talking about that tonight.

Instead, we're going to focus on the outline as a form of entertainment to it's audience. IE, you. Because let's be honest, you are going to spend untold hours staring at this document. It has been the bane of many a novel in progress. After all, sometimes you finish and you feel like you already told the story, right?

So here are some tips and tricks for keeping your outline engaging for yourself.

Content Warning: A healthy dose of irreverence, as always, and probably swearing. Also the very minor potential for seven demons to inhabit your computer and begin making small changes to your hard drive when you aren't looking; they're just organizing it, man, it's a mess in here.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

My Closest Friends are the Ones I've Gamed With...Here's Why

Salutations, my curious congregation. There's been a lot of talk floating around twitter about gate keeping and women in gaming, and I have a guess there was a specific incident behind it that we're not going to talk about or give any more press to here. Needless to say it was a shitgibbon throwing feces and the internet, in its infinite wisdom, saw fit to engage.

I don't. I'm not here to talk about that. But a lot of the people I'm talking about as I write this are women and many of them I never would have met without tabletop. And honestly, I feel blessed. These are people that I'd bend over backwards and stick my neck out for and many of them I haven't even met in meat space.

So what is it that makes people so willing to stick together with the people they've rolled dice with? I have some thoughts about that.

Content Warning: As always, a healthy dose of irreverence. Probably some swearing (I say fuck a lot). Radical ideas about women being people and enjoying the shapes of plastic that determine your life and death in a world your friend Bob made up. Could cause itching and double vision, but I haven't done any studies on it and I'm not going to. Also, brief mention of sexual assault in the vaguest of contexts.

Monday, March 25, 2019

4 Gift Ideas Your Assassin Will Love

Salutations, nerds. Here's a little tidbit you'll never believe in a million years; it's been a quiet week for me and I don't have anything  I particularly feel like ranting about over here. I gotta blog anyway, so here's some homebrew loot.

Here are 4 items your assassin will love, you know, on the off chance they have a birthday coming up or a big loot drop or you just really like to over prepare for the holidays.

Content Warnings: D&D loot. They were made with wetwork in mind, but probably you could find reasons to use them that don't involve murder for profit. That said, if you are bothered by insinuated assassinry, irreverence, homebrew or the smell of orchids (sorry, I used a new hand moisturizer today and it's strong af) you might not want to click the link below.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Putting Your Players in the Belly of the Beast

On Tuesday I talked about consenting to genre and being up front about what can happen in your campaign. Today, I want to talk about the best results that can happen when you do that.

Content Warning: I'm about to advise you to break the rules. As usual, irreverence, probably swearing, possibly weird metaphors if I feel like using those. A brief part at the end where I try to sell you something because capitalism. Let's dig in, shall we?

Monday, March 18, 2019

Consent to Conflict and Genre Expectations in RPGs

So this is something that's been coming up a lot for me both in my writing life and in my tabletops and as is the custom when this sort of thing happens, I'm gonna blog about it.

Content Warning: Vague allusions to grimdark content (nothing graphic), obnoxious insinuations regarding player and reader expectations and a healthy dose of irreverence.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Dissection: The First Scene

-casually loading rubber gloves into a t-shirt cannon-

Tuesday we had a nice conversation about the anatomy of a scene and story beats. Today we're talking about the very first scene in a story, what it has to do, and what that means for you. Get your scalpels back out, my curious congregation of degenerates, because we are about to talk about beginnings.

Content Warnings: The usual dose of irreverence, probably some swear words, and me, telling you how to live your life. Very minor Harry Potter spoilers. Vague spoilers for The Walking Dead (from like several seasons ago). Oh, and rubber gloves. Being shot at you through a t-shirt cannon. -bang-

Monday, March 11, 2019

Dissection: Anatomy of a Scene

-snaps rubber glove-

Hello, my most peculiar posse. My inexplicable assembly. My curious congregation. I'm in a mood, today, if you couldn't tell.

Today we're going to be dissecting scenes.

Content Warning: This product can expose you to chemicals including a (presumably) healthy dose of irreverence, the aberrant ideals of plot structure and a less than 3% chance of detonating into a cloud of vaguely human-colored mist.

Let's dive in, shall we?

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

What Character Agency Is and Is Not

Character Agency is one of those buzz topics I see thrown around all the time and it amazes me how often people use it wrong. So let's grab a definition, shall we?

Agency, is a character's ability to make decisions and affect the story in a meaningful way.

Alright, blog entry's done, everybody pack up and go home. Good job.

Not quite.

Stick with me, there's a lot to unpack here.

Content Warnings: Insinuation that characters should know...characters and not furniture, ripping on old school Princess Peach, the usual healthy dose of irreverence, and a handful of swear words.

Monday, March 4, 2019

RP: Access Points And Why Your PC Cannot be Played Like a Novel Protagonist

Something I've noticed in a lot of RPGs are people getting so wrapped up in their characters that they forget what the RP is for in the first place. It's great to have your own narrative, and in fact that can be really helpful, but it's not always the best for an access point to other players. Especially in bigger multi-player games like World of Warcraft of the kinds of things you find in chat rooms.

So, access points. What exactly do I mean by that? Let's find out.

Content Warning: A lot of talk about knowing your audience, a healthy dose of irreverence and the insinuation that no one owes you RP just for showing up.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Why Can't We Candidly Talk About Vagina?

Raise your hand if you've heard a dick joke this week.

I'm willing to bet most people have because they're extremely common and nobody thinks twice about penis. Nobody thinks twice about pointing out when something is phallic. Meanwhile when the topic of vagina comes up, people get squirrely and I don't get it.

So. I'm about to rant about female genitalia (and similarly there are going to be a lot of penis references as well). If you've met me, you know this is going to be irreverent. If you haven't -gestures- there's your warning. Obviously if that's not something you're interested in reading about, don't read this one.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Ascended Fanfiction: Some Thoughts

Once again, I was having a conversation with some friends and stumbled across a topic that I had more to say about than I realized. Surprise, now I'm blogging about it. Strap in, because we're about to talk about Fanfiction, its place in literature, reasons some authors are totally fine with it while others want to burn it to death with a flamethrower, and what happens when it transcends fanfic and enters the public eye as its own thing.

Content Warnings; Allusion to toxic relationships and their portrayal in fiction, tons of examples of literature both good and bad, an overflowing spoonful of reference links, a little bit of shade thrown, a minor history lesson, a vast endless sea of irreverence, and the inclusion of Steven Moffat. Enter at your own risk.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Writing Romantic Conflict Part 3: Guilty Pleasure Relationship Conflict

Alright, Tuesday I talked about trash relationship conflicts, which was coming on the heels of good relationship dramas parts one and two. Today I'm going to talk about some of my guilty pleasure romantic conflicts. Ones that have their problems, but for whatever reason I just can't get enough of them anyway.

Try not to judge me too hard, okay? ;)

[Spoilers for Moulin Rouge and Fairy Tail ahead.]

Monday, February 18, 2019

Writing Romantic Conflict Part 2: Trash Relationship Conflict

Alright, moving back to romantic conflict, today I want to talk about a few things I never want to see again. I've already talked about good romantic conflict a little bit here and here and will be getting into my guilty pleasures (romantic conflict that isn't explicitly good but I nonetheless really like it) eventually but today, allow me to indulge in an unmitigated rant.

I bring you, Trash Relationship Conflicts.

Trigger Warnings: Lots of swearing, discussion of domestic abuse, passing mention of sexual assault, use of a trigger warning (but once again if you're the kind of person bothered by a trigger warning this blog is not for you and you should probably find something more in line with your delicate sensibilities).

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Let's Take 5 Minutes to Talk About "The Orville"

I. Love this show. I cannot express how much I love this show. It's kind of like having the best parts of what I loved about Star Trek as a kid back but funnier. And yes, it is hilarious but it has such good drama too. I will Stan this.

Okay so anyway I just saw the episode "About a Girl" and if you haven't seen it I'm going to suggest you don't click the read more link because this is going to be full of spoilers. Basically, I'm confused. I really liked it and I'm confused.

I'm about to get worldbuildy and dissecty so like...prepare for that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Writing Romantic Conflict Part 1.2: More Good Relationship Drama

I've got this other blog entry over yonder about relationship drama and some good ways to do it without it being stupid. Anyway I had a whole bunch more ways to do relationship drama without it being stupid and that blog entry got way too long so I'm going to go ahead and continue from here because I apparently have a lot to say about this.

Strap in, nerdlets.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

Torchlighters Is Available for Pre-Order on Kindle!

I was not lying to you when I said the 7th, it's just...later on the 7th than I anticipated.

Torchlighters can be found here and rest assured the physical copies are coming. I'm still figuring out IngramSpark (and by "figuring out" I mean I need to move some money around) but the very second it's out and available for purchase I will let you know! See you guys Tuesday <3

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

The Witcher 2 is Laughably Bad (Spoilers Ahead)

My husband and I are in the habit of playing games together and it kind of fluxes which one of us is holding the controller. This time, he was, so I only have his word to take on how this game controls and I'm honestly not inclined to go back and try it for myself. And just so you know, we only made it two hours into this game and that's legitimately enough for me to feel like I never want to touch it again, that is how hilariously bad it is. But, anyway, click 'read more' for the list of sins.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Breaking Down the Urban Fantasy Mystery Formula: Private Life Subplots

So we all love a good mystery, and most of that plot line is going to be about the murder, who did it, and particularly in an urban fantasy the weird world it takes place in that is so much cooler than ours (and why is my neighbor not a vampire?!). Of course, something that can (and probably should) be just as weird is the inevitable private life subplot that comes with the mystery you're serving.

Let's get to it, shall we?

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What to do About a Friend that Keeps Pretending to Have Read Your Work (And Obviously Hasn't)

I've done several google searches and can't find any good advice about this on the internet so I'm just going to collect my thoughts and write my own. Because I cannot be the only person that's having this issue.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

Breaking Down the Urban Fantasy Mystery Formula: Hinting at Who Done It

There is a fine line between being subtle and cheating, when it comes to who actually committed the crime in a mystery. You don't want to be too obvious, because it takes the fun away, but the reader has to at least have a chance to see it coming. Otherwise they are going to be (rightfully) salty when the culprit comes out of nowhere and there were no clues.

So today that's what we're going to talk about.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Writing Romantic Conflict Part 1.1: A List of Good Relationship Conflicts

If you know me at all you know I'm a complete sucker for romance. And of course the best romances have a little bit of conflict, because frankly we read to see things go poorly for people that aren't us. Something has to be at stake, right?

Romantic conflict is great, but sometimes it's just terrible. Sometimes it's unhealthy but you guiltily enjoy it anyway. That's what I want to talk about tonight. Some sources of romantic conflict. Good, bad and guilty pleasure (ugly).

So without farther ado...

(Edit: I am not even halfway through good conflicts and this is already a longer blog entry than I usually do, this is going to have to get split up into three parts guys.)

(Edit II: This part of the blog entry has gotten too long I'm going to  have to split it up even more.)

[Trigger Warnings: Mention of sexual assault and domestic violence as an example of what not to do (not graphic). Mention of homophobia. Use of a trigger warning (tbh if that's something that's going to bother you, you probably want to find another blog that's better for your delicate sensibilities).]

Friday, January 18, 2019

Writing Mysteries: Crime Complications

What's up, readers? I've been doing a lot of studying the mystery formula. I might go back and do a blog entry on what that is generally, and what it entails, but today I wanted to take a minute to talk about Crime Complications, what place they have in a mystery story, why they are so important and what a few of  them you can use in your own work are.

(Edit: Yes, I know, I'm double late, I'm the worst; sometimes it's a struggle. The choice was get the blog done or get my prose done and guess what I'm here to do? Write prose and chew gum. My husband is still sleeping and I can't find my gum in the dark.)

Ready? Let's get to it!

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Breaking Down the Urban Fantasy Mystery Formula: Creating Your Sleuth

Hopping back on this urban fantasy mystery train, today I want to hit on some points to consider when designing your sleuth. After all, one of the best things about the genre is the first person smart ass whose head we're riding in, right?

(I know you're not obligated to go first person, but let's face it, most of these books are.)

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Breaking Down the Urban Fantasy Mystery Formula: Ingredients

Alright, so I've been studying this a lot recently and I want to break it down into chunks. I'll find the formula all over the place, breaking down what must be included in a mystery novel. However, some of these things have to be compounded into the same scenes. Some of them need to be included more than once. Some of them are subtext.

I'm pretty sure we're supposed to feel it out for ourselves, but I'm going to go ahead and give my hot take on the matter. So say we're following a recipe. These are the ingredients you need to get started, as told by yours truly.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Writing With Anxiety

I'm having some intrusive thoughts this morning. Honestly, I was thinking...I should probably let this one pass without comment. Like always. Like no one wants to hear about it. It might be useful, though, to somebody, and it's real, and that makes it worth saying.

So, you guys know the drill. I'm about to start talking about mental health. This blog entry isn't gonna be all positive and while I'm going to try to keep it from being a big ole ventblog,  there will be feelings. If that grosses you out or you just don't want to, don't click.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Years Resolutions 2019

It's happening again. Click 'read more' for a laundry list of promises I might not keep! : D