Here’s Why Rushing the Ending Would Save Gilmore Girls

As one fan put it to me recently, “I thought you would like to hear of the extremes that people love this show.” She then went on to describe a tattoo she was getting in honor of Gilmore Girls. And I thought I was a fanatic. But I believe it. Fans get involved in the […]

Setting the Mood With Conflict

In a story, starting a fight is an easy way to make the mood tense. But conflict can do more than just make a story feel tense, suspenseful. Conflict engages the audience. It makes us sympathize with the characters and root for them. And it heightens other emotions in the story.

Setting the Mood With Milieu

This is the second part of a series, after Setting the Mood With Expectations. Another mood-generating device authors use is milieu.

Setting the Mood With Expectations

How do you write moody stories? How do you imbue your prose with overwhelming emotion? It’s all about manipulating the feelings of the audience. Over the next couple of weeks, I want to look at different ways to set the mood. This week, using expectations to set the mood.

The Storyteller and the Wordsmith

This week, something a little different, a dichotomy Kate Wilhelm mentioned in her book Storyteller. It has been mentioned on at least one other podcast. It’s not so much a dichotomy as two story dimensions. As Kate Wilhelm points out, both are important. I want to explore both, and I want to take this lesson […]

Anatomy of a Story Game 2

This is part 2 of “Anatomy of a Story Game”. This week, we’ll complete the basic story design and discuss some implementation issues in various media.

Anatomy of a Story Game

What are story games, and how do they differ from other games? What about adventure games and interactive fiction? What are some of the issues that arise when writing story games? This is the first part of two episodes that explain story games and how to write them.

How to Spin a Yarn: Conflict, Resolution, and Story Arc

Conflict is what drives the story arc. It’s what keeps the audience on the edge of its seat. And it’s a fundamental aspect of story structure. If you want to see how a story arc works, just look at just about any novel or movie or story game. Let’s look at Disney’s Snow White.

Favorite Classic Story Games

What do I mean by “story game”? After all, most games now have stories. What differentiates a story game from all the others? By “story game” I mean a game whose story drives the game. In most games, the gameplay is the central element, and the story is there to add flavor. But in story […]

Great Characters and How to Make Them

The are lots of great books and other resources to teach you how to make good fictional character, but my favorite step-by-step guide is Holly Lisle’s Create a Character Clinic. Here’s an overview of this tool, with an example character description as we go through it.