Storytelling


Planting Story Seeds part 3: Consistency

Today I’ll be wrapping up this series of posts on creating stories for storyworlds with a few notes on consistency. (And I’ll not even mention hobgoblins, except to point out that “Consistency Hobgoblin” would make a great band name.) It almost goes without saying that any stories developed from a storyworld should be consistent with…

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Planting Story Seeds Part 2: Windows

In part 1 of this series on creating stories for storyworlds, I wrote about choosing the right combination of story and platform. Today I’d like to look closer at the story itself, and how the storyworld can shine through it. When is a story more than just a story? When it provides the audience with…

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Characters vs. Archetypes: Round One!

Back when we were all much younger, I wrote that storyworlds don’t need specific characters, but should focus on character archetypes instead. This might may have led you to suspect that my brain had been replaced with shiny objects. After all, hugely successful storyworlds such as those of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and even Downton…

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The Most Pretentious Business Card Ever

I had to order new business cards last year, but found myself stumped on what exactly to put on them. “Writer” obviously. And “Game Designer” was kind of a no-brainer. But I wanted to say something about how I develop intellectual properties — and not just for the games or stories in which they first…

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Five Classic World-Building Mistakes

I like playing God. Specifically, the parts where God says, “Let there be a planet stuffed with people and plants and animals and giant stompy mechs piloted by Japanese schoolchildren.” I’ve designed a ton of imaginary worlds. And in doing so, I’ve made more than my share of mistakes. Today I’m sharing the worst of…

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Level-up your game – with story!

I was recently asked to give a short talk on two of the three subjects I know best: games and writing. (Sadly, no one wants to hear about my third area of expertise: Batman trivia.) Since I had an hour to prepare, I threw some notes together before speaking, to reduce the amount of inevitable…

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Through a Crystal Darkly

We hadn’t intended to watch The Dark Crystal. We’d been looking for The Neverending Story, or possibly something with monkeys, to watch for an impromptu Family Movie Night, but Netflix Streaming was, once again, failing us. So we picked the weird-but-technically-family-appropriate 1982 fantasy film, The Dark Crystal. My daughters were dubious. “What is this?” asked…

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2d100 Words in Praise of Randomness

There’s a reason that, for ages, dice have been intrinsically associated with games. It probably has to do with weird fertility rites of ancient Celts, but the important thing is that games thrive on randomness. Whether it’s shuffled cards, rolled dice, or procedurally-generated computerized orcs lining up to be killed, games cry out for the…

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Lemme tell ya about my character

Yes, yes, we all know I’m crazy about player stories in games. They increase engagement, virality, and other social gaming buzzwords I’m not going to bother listing here. But I’ve been thinking about tabletop RPGs this week and how, even more than video games, they are all about player stories. After an RPG session, what…

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RIP Buddy, the Minecraft Dog

I like dogs. Not enough to own one (when they breed one that uses a litterbox, I’ll consider it), but I love the idea of the faithful, shaggy-haired companion who greets me with a joyful bark, plays with the kids in the backyard, and protects the house by shooting bees out of its mouth. So…

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