Category Archives: Writing

Do Dungeon Masters roll magic dice?

Tony Daniel at Baen commissioned this article from me. I’d been thinking about the role of self-deception in both creating and appreciating stories.

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Evo Psych, Fantasy, Games, Uncategorized, Writing | Tagged | Leave a comment

What Is a Story Plot?

Most definitions of plot are not helpful. One of my Clarion West teachers said that plot is an effect that emerges from other elements of a story, of character motivation and conflict and so on. He’s a very famous writer … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Leave a comment

Questions to Test Your Story

I’m now the probationary member of a new writing group in Bend. Along with my first sub, I’m sending them the following list of things I scrutinize when revising my first draft of a story, aside from basics like grammar, … Continue reading

Posted in Writing, Writing that Moves | Leave a comment

Strange Toys: The Author App

I’ve been trying to dig up a citation for a quote I heard on NPR long ago, which I believe was attributed to Robert Giroux of the publishing house Farrar, Straus and Giroux. It’s to the effect of “I publish … Continue reading

Posted in HIgh Tech, Precambrian Conspiracy, Writing | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

What World Do You Live In?

Rob sent me the following link this morning on a curiously stubborn geocentric view. The video uses Flat Earth science to make a general point about competing views that fit the same data points, so it’s timely for our exploration … Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Games, Precambrian Conspiracy, Writing | Tagged | 2 Comments

The Ancient Singularity; or, The Precambrian Conspiracy: The Canon

I am not a fan of grand conspiracy theories involving ancient astronauts and/or aliens. (And the idea that rich people control everything is not a conspiracy theory but observable fact.) The Precambrian Conspiracy is not another conspiracy theory; it is … Continue reading

Posted in Fantasy, Precambrian Conspiracy, Religion, Writing | Leave a comment

Learn to Write from the Best

The authors you admire can be your best teachers. Lucius used to stress this to his students. Like many writers, he would try copying from memory a passage he admired, over and over, until he got it right. More than … Continue reading

Posted in Lucius Shepard, Writing, Writing that Moves | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Habitation Generation, for Stories and RPGs

I’m generally not very disciplined in creating living spaces for my characters, so I decided to make a checklist and protocol both to save time and to ensure I don’t miss critical details. The following is an example of a … Continue reading

Posted in Dungeons & Dragons, Fantasy, Games, Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Go Team Optative!”

It’s Thanksgiving, which here in the States means a lot of (American) football and “Go Team!” exhortations. Being an editor, I’ve accepted “Go Team!” as an opportunity to practice emotional equanimity. It’s bad punctuation, right? If you want your team … Continue reading

Posted in Writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Writing that Moves: Amontillado Wrap-up

In the last half of “The Cask of Amontillado,” Montresor leads Fortunato down through several more levels of catacombs, and the bones become more numerous and the air more stale, so that the torch glows rather than flames. Beforehand, though, … Continue reading

Posted in Writing, Writing that Moves | Tagged , , | Leave a comment