Category Archives: Adventurer’s Guide to Storytelling

LitRPG or The Art of Writing Quickly

Perhaps you’re familiar with the sub genre of fantasy called LitRPG. A friend of mine – Andrew Seiple – turned me on to it. He’s a fellow writer, gamer, and all-around good guy so I knew he wouldn’t steer me wrong. He’d begun to dabble in this genre, and since I am fortunate enough to edit his writing, he wanted to make sure I was up for editing his latest effort, a LitRPG story called Threadbare. As with all his work, I was hooked by page 2. He wrote 3 books in the Threadbare saga, and he published them first on …Read more »

Plot Problems Solved

I like to be surprised. Fresh implications and plot twists erupt as a story unfolds. Characters develop backgrounds, adding depth and feeling. Writing feels like exploring. ~ David Brin New writers tend to overthink plot. They outline and organize. Overthink and under-do. It’s safer to outline than to write. Feels easier too. Except that it’s not. Tell me a story Tell me a story. That’s all. The plot will work itself out. Unless you are telling an epic tale worthy of Tolkien or a mystery intricate enough to stump Agatha Christie, plot can take a backseat to good old fashioned storytelling. …Read more »

Listen to the World

So when you are listening to somebody, completely, attentively, then you are listening not only to the words, but also to the feeling of what is being conveyed, to the whole of it, not part of it. ~Jiddu Krishnamurti Good dialog is essential to good storytelling. Characters need to express themselves, react to their environment, argue with each other, complain, cajole, compliment, question….  in other words: act human. Good dialog opens the story like a flower budding – everything expands, opening ideas and implications for the reader. Listen In order to write good dialog you have to listen to the …Read more »

The Company of Others

Two heads are better than one, not because either is infallible, but because they are unlikely to go wrong in the same direction. ~ C.S. Lewis Want to be a better writer? Seek the company of other writers. While you are writing, write for yourself alone, but when you’ve made the best story you can make, you must solicit the opinions of other writers – how else do you improve? Ask I love the CS Lewis quote for this very reason. Asking for critique, getting another writer’s take on our work makes us better writers. Not because the others will rip …Read more »

Why Names Matter

If you hear a voice within you say ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~ Vincent Van Gogh The Chinese poet Lao Tzu wrote, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your writing journey doesn’t begin when you put words on paper. It starts earlier than that: it begins when you claim the title Writer. You have stories within you; you must otherwise you wouldn’t be here, reading this right now. You have stories within you, but maybe you can’t get them to come out. Maybe you jot a …Read more »

True North

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb…. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. ~ Calvin Coolidge Perhaps it’s unusual to look to a president for writing advice, but Silent Cal sums up the grit you need to write. That writing is lonely work is a cliche, except that it’s true. And even more, writing is screaming into the void. You have no idea, as you are putting words on the page, if anyone will ever read them. …Read more »

Write For Yourself First

“Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others.” ~ Virginia Woolf While there could be many reasons why someone starts writing a piece of fiction and then never finishes it, one big factor is other people. Other people! Whether people we know or the faceless specter of The Reader, other people and their opinion, reaction, perception can derail even the most motivated of writers. The Virginia Woolf quote comes from A Room of Own’s Own and whatever else the essay may do, this powerful quote transcends gender and circumstance. We must write …Read more »

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